House of Lords portcullis
House of Lords
Session 2005 - 06
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament

Equality Bill [HL]


Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

1

 

A

Bill

[AS AMENDED IN COMMITTEE]

To

Make provision for the establishment of the Commission for Equality and

Human Rights; to dissolve the Equal Opportunities Commission, the

Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission; to

make provision about discrimination on grounds of religion or belief; to

impose duties relating to sex discrimination on persons performing public

functions; to amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and for connected

purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1

The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

The Commission

1       

Establishment

There shall be a body corporate known as the Commission for Equality and

5

Human Rights.

2       

Constitution, &c.

Schedule 1 (constitution of the Commission, proceedings, money, &c.) shall

have effect.

 
HL Bill 1754/1
 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

2

 

3       

Fundamental duty

The Commission shall exercise its functions under this Part with a view to the

creation of a society in which—

(a)   

people’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or

discrimination,

5

(b)   

there is respect for and protection of each individual’s human rights,

(c)   

there is respect for the dignity and worth of each individual,

(d)   

each individual has an equal opportunity to participate in society, and

(e)   

there is mutual respect between communities based on understanding

and valuing of diversity and on shared respect for equality and human

10

rights.

4       

Strategic plan

(1)   

The Commission shall prepare a plan showing—

(a)   

activities or classes of activity to be undertaken by the Commission in

pursuance of its functions under this Act,

15

(b)   

an expected timetable for each activity or class, and

(c)   

priorities for different activities or classes, or principles to be applied in

determining priorities.

(2)   

The Commission shall review the plan—

(a)   

at least once during the period of three years beginning with its

20

completion,

(b)   

at least once during each period of three years beginning with the

completion of a review, and

(c)   

at such other times as the Commission thinks appropriate.

(3)   

If the Commission thinks it appropriate as a result of a review, the Commission

25

shall revise the plan.

(4)   

The Commission shall publish the plan and each revision.

5       

Strategic plan: consultation

Before preparing or reviewing a plan in accordance with section 4 the

Commission shall—

30

(a)   

consult such persons having knowledge or experience relevant to the

Commission’s functions as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(b)   

consult such other persons as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(c)   

issue a general invitation to make representations, in a manner likely in

the Commission’s opinion to bring the invitation to the attention of as

35

large a class of persons who may to wish to make representations as is

reasonably practicable, and

(d)   

take account of any representations made.

6       

Disclosure

(1)   

A person who is or was a Commissioner, an Investigating Commissioner, an

40

employee of the Commission or a member of a committee established by the

Commission commits an offence if he discloses information to which this

section applies unless subsection (3) authorises the disclosure.

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

3

 

(2)   

This section applies to information acquired by the Commission—

(a)   

by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the

course of, an inquiry under section 17,

(b)   

by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the

course of, an investigation under section 22,

5

(c)   

by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the

course of, an assessment under section 33,

(d)   

by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in

connection with, a notice under section 34, or

(e)   

from a person with whom the Commission enters into, or considers

10

entering into, an agreement under section 25.

(3)   

This subsection authorises a disclosure made—

(a)   

for the purpose of the exercise of a function of the Commission under

any of sections 17, 22, 23, 26, 27, 33 and 34,

(b)   

in a report of an inquiry, investigation or assessment published by the

15

Commission,

(c)   

in pursuance of an order of a court or tribunal,

(d)   

with the consent of each person to whom the disclosed information

relates,

(e)   

in a manner that ensures that no person to whom the disclosed

20

information relates can be identified,

(f)   

for the purpose of civil or criminal proceedings to which the

Commission is party, or

(g)   

if the information was acquired by the Commission more than 70 years

before the date of the disclosure.

25

(4)   

Subsection (3) does not authorise the disclosure of information provided by an

intelligence service unless the service has authorised the disclosure.

(5)   

In subsection (4) “intelligence service” means—

(a)   

the Security Service,

(b)   

the Secret Intelligence Service, and

30

(c)   

the Government Communications Headquarters.

(6)   

A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable on summary

conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

7       

Scotland: human rights

(1)   

The Commission shall not take human rights action in relation to a matter if the

35

Scottish Parliament has legislative competence to enable a body to take action

of that kind in relation to that matter.

(2)   

In subsection (1) “human rights action” means action taken—

(a)   

in accordance with section 9(1), and

(b)   

under, by virtue of or in pursuance of—

40

(i)   

section 12(1) in so far as it relates to the Human Rights Act 1998

(c. 42),

(ii)   

section 12(2)(c) or (d),

(iii)   

section 13,

(iv)   

section 14,

45

(v)   

section 17,

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

4

 

(vi)   

section 18, or

(vii)   

section 32.

(3)   

Despite section 9(4), the Commission shall not, in the course of fulfilling a duty

under section 8, 10 or 11, consider the question whether a person’s human

rights have been contravened if the Scottish Parliament has legislative

5

competence to enable a body to consider that question.

(4)   

Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from taking action

with the consent (whether general or specific) of a body if—

(a)   

the body is established by Act of the Scottish Parliament, and

(b)   

the body’s principal duties relate to human rights and are similar to any

10

of the Commission’s duties under section 9.

(5)   

Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from relying on

section 14(1)(f) so as to act jointly or cooperate (but not assist) for a purpose

relating to human rights and connected with Scotland.

Duties

15

8       

Equality and diversity

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of equality and diversity,

(b)   

encourage good practice in relation to equality and diversity,

(c)   

promote equality of opportunity,

20

(d)   

promote awareness and understanding of rights under the equality

enactments,

(e)   

enforce the equality enactments,

(f)   

work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination, and

(g)   

work towards the elimination of unlawful harassment.

25

(2)   

In subsection (1)—

“diversity” means the fact that individuals are different,

“equality” means equality between individuals, and

“unlawful” is to be construed in accordance with section 36.

9       

Human rights

30

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of human rights,

(b)   

encourage good practice in relation to human rights,

(c)   

promote awareness, understanding and protection of human rights,

and

35

(d)   

encourage public authorities to comply with section 6 of the Human

Rights Act 1998 (c. 42) (compliance with Convention rights).

(2)   

In this Part “human rights” means—

(a)   

the Convention rights within the meaning given by section 1 of the

Human Rights Act 1998, and

40

(b)   

other human rights.

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

5

 

(3)   

In determining what action to take in pursuance of this section the Commission

shall have particular regard to the importance of exercising the powers

conferred by this Part in relation to the Convention rights.

(4)   

In fulfilling a duty under section 8, 10 or 11 the Commission shall take account

of any relevant human rights.

5

(5)   

A reference in this Part (including this section) to human rights does not

exclude any matter by reason only of its being a matter to which section 8, 10

or 11 relates.

10      

Disability

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

10

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of the fair treatment of

disabled persons,

(b)   

encourage good practice in the treatment of disabled persons,

(c)   

work towards the elimination of prejudice against, hatred of and

hostility towards disabled persons, and

15

(d)   

work towards the elimination of the involuntary isolation of disabled

persons.

(2)   

In this Part “disabled person” means a person who—

(a)   

is a disabled person within the meaning of the Disability

Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50), or

20

(b)   

has been a disabled person within that meaning (whether or not at a

time when that Act had effect).

(3)   

This section is without prejudice to the generality of section 8.

11      

Communities

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

25

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of good relations—

(i)   

between different communities, and

(ii)   

between communities and others,

(b)   

encourage good practice in relation to relations—

(i)   

between different communities, and

30

(ii)   

between communities and others,

(c)   

work towards the elimination of prejudice against, hatred of and

hostility towards communities, and

(d)   

work towards the elimination of the involuntary isolation of

communities.

35

(2)   

In this Part “community” means a group or class of persons (irrespective of

whether they regard themselves as a community) who share a common

attribute in respect of any of the following matters—

(a)   

age,

(b)   

gender,

40

(c)   

proposed, commenced or completed reassignment of gender (within

the meaning given by section 82(1) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975

(c. 65)),

(d)   

race,

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

6

 

(e)   

religion or belief, and

(f)   

sexual orientation.

(3)   

For the purposes of this Part a reference to a community (as defined in

subsection (2)) includes a reference to a sub-group or sub-class, within a

community, of persons who share a common attribute (in addition to the

5

attribute by reference to which the community is defined) in respect of any of

the matters specified in subsection (2)(a) to (f).

(4)   

In determining what action to take in pursuance of this section the Commission

shall have particular regard to the importance of exercising the powers

conferred by this Part in relation to communities defined by reference to race,

10

religion or belief.

(5)   

The Secretary of State may by order amend the list in subsection (2) so as to—

(a)   

add an entry, or

(b)   

vary an entry.

(6)   

This section is without prejudice to the generality of section 8.

15

12      

Monitoring the law

(1)   

The Commission shall monitor the effectiveness of the equality and human

rights enactments.

(2)   

The Commission may—

(a)   

advise central government about the effectiveness of any of the equality

20

and human rights enactments;

(b)   

recommend to central government the amendment, repeal,

consolidation (with or without amendments) or replication (with or

without amendments) of any of the equality and human rights

enactments;

25

(c)   

advise central or devolved government about the effect of an enactment

(including an enactment in or under an Act of the Scottish Parliament);

(d)   

advise central or devolved government about the likely effect of a

proposed change of law.

(3)   

The Commission shall comply with a direction of the Secretary of State to

30

advise about—

(a)   

the effect of an enactment (including an enactment in or under an Act

of the Scottish Parliament);

(b)   

the likely effect of a proposed change of law.

(4)   

In this section—

35

(a)   

“central government” means Her Majesty’s Government,

(b)   

“devolved government” means—

(i)   

the Scottish Ministers, and

(ii)   

the National Assembly for Wales, and

(c)   

a reference to the equality enactments shall be treated as including a

40

reference to any provision of this Act.

13      

Monitoring progress

(1)   

The Commission shall from time to time identify—

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

7

 

(a)   

changes in society that have occurred or are expected to occur and are

relevant to the aim specified in section 3,

(b)   

results at which to aim for the purpose of creating the society described

in section 3 (“outcomes”), and

(c)   

factors by reference to which progress towards those results may be

5

measured (“indicators”).

(2)   

In identifying outcomes and indicators the Commission shall—

(a)   

consult such persons having knowledge or experience relevant to the

Commission’s functions as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(b)   

consult such other persons as the Commission thinks appropriate,

10

(c)   

issue a general invitation to make representations, in a manner likely in

the Commission’s opinion to bring the invitation to the attention of as

large a class of persons who may to wish to make representations as is

reasonably practicable, and

(d)   

take account of any representations made.

15

(3)   

The Commission shall from time to time monitor progress towards each

identified outcome by reference to any relevant identified indicator.

(4)   

The Commission shall publish a report on progress towards the identified

outcomes by reference to the identified indicators—

(a)   

within the period of three years beginning with the date on which this

20

section comes into force, and

(b)   

within each period of three years beginning with the date on which a

report is published under this subsection.

(5)   

The Commission shall send each report to the Secretary of State, who shall lay

a copy before Parliament.

25

General powers

14      

Information, advice, &c.

(1)   

In pursuance of its duties under sections 8 to 11 the Commission may—

(a)   

publish or otherwise disseminate ideas or information;

(b)   

undertake research;

30

(c)   

provide education or training;

(d)   

give advice or guidance (whether about the effect or operation of an

enactment or otherwise);

(e)   

arrange for a person to do anything within paragraphs (a) to (d);

(f)   

act jointly with, co-operate with or assist a person doing anything

35

within paragraphs (a) to (d).

(2)   

The reference to giving advice in subsection (1)(d) does not include a reference

to preparing, or assisting in the preparation of, a document to be used for the

purpose of legal proceedings.

15      

Codes of practice

40

(1)   

The Commission may issue a code of practice in connection with a matter

addressed by any of the following—

(a)   

the Equal Pay Act 1970 (c. 41),

 
 

 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Revised 15 July 2005