Equalities Commissions

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2002 National Lesbian & Gay Conference
30 July 2002
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that the Government has set up a project to consider the feasibility of a single equality body, which is doe to publish a report for consultation towards the end of 2002. The starting point of the project is that the status quo cannot continue, as provision must be made for machinery to deliver the new equalities protections coming into force as a result of the European Union Employment Directive.

Conference further notes a history of concern about lack of adequate resourcing of the existing Commissions, added to which are now concerns about the dilution of powers and effectiveness by talks of merger and new responsibilities.

Conference believes that the minimum requirements for any equality commission or commissions are:

1.A single equality act that provides equivalent protections to all groups, building on gains already made;

2.Parity of status for all grounds, with no implicit or explicit hierarchy of discrimination;

3.No undermining of the achievements of the existing commissions;

4.Adequate and protected funding;

5.Effective powers of enforcement, including formal investigation powers;

6.A clear identity and status as an independent body involving all stakeholders including trade unions in membership at board level.

Conference instructs the National Lesbian and Gay Committee to encourage debate and publicity for these views and to feed them into UNISON’s response to the forthcoming Government consultation.