On 15 May 2012, the Government published a statement on the Equalities Red Tape Challenge by the Home Secretary and its response to the consultation on reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), including ‘a strong package of legislative and non-legislative reforms to clarify the commission’s remit, focussing it on those areas where it can add value because of its unique role and functions, and improve its financial and operational performance’.

The statement confirms that the review of the Public Sector Equality Duty will be brought forward and extended to include both the general and specific duties to establish whether the Duty is operating as intended.

It also announced consultations on the removal of provisions relating to:

  • employer liability for the harassment of an employee by a third party e.g. a customer;
  • the power of Tribunals to make wider recommendations in a successful discrimination case; and the statutory mechanism by which individuals can obtain information where they think an employer, or service provider, has acted unlawfully towards them.

Measures for reforming the Equality and Human Rights Commission include:

  • recruiting a new Chairman, to succeed Trevor Phillips who is standing down, and a new smaller Board;
  • conducting a comprehensive review of the EHRC’s budget;
  • implementing tighter performance and financial controls set out in a new Framework Document.