A very important new body of legislation was published by the UK Government on Monday 27th April. Although it is somewhat guaranteed that the bill will be changed on it’s journey through the Parliamentary proceedings. It does promise however to be one of the most important bills in the current governments history particularly with reference to equality and discrimination issues.
This new equality bill is known as the Single Equality Bill
To get an idea of just how important this legislation will be, just take a look at some of the acts that will be replaced by the Single Equality Bill.
1970 Equal Pay Act
1976 Race Relations Act
1975 Sex Discrimination Act
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
2006 Equality Act
These are in fact just a sample of the various legislation that will be superceded by this bill. Although remember that the majority of the UK governments current legislation on discrimination will still apply. There is no doubt that our equality laws will be greatly changed by the bill, primarily in public sector responsibilities, the scope and implementation of the bill itself .
Public bodies will be forced to ensure that this legislation is implemented, within the public sector. As the largest single employer within the UK, perhaps it is logical to pave the way for the rest of corporate Britain to follow.
Some people will worry that the bill stipulates such responsibilities onto the public sector. Even on single requirement – ” Using Public procurement to improve equality”, could have costly and far reaching impact on public finances without some solid guidance and frameworks for the public bodies to follow.
If the public body for instance went down the route of trying to implement improvements in working practices as a prerequirement of contractors, this will have an impact of costs . If the private sectors has to implement costly procedures or processes to work for the public sector the logical conclusion will be for higher costs, likely to be passed onto the Public body.
Another simple rule, that secrecy clauses in employment contracts will be banned will have potential problems in many organisations. Although it could be said that these changes are necessary to remove inequalities in gender pay for example.
Whatever the truth, one thing is certain – the complex legal requirements placed on all sectors is bound to confuse. If you want to know more about this new equality bill
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