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Race Relations Amendment Act

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in his Department and non-departmental public bodies on implementing the requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000; and if he will publish the results of the monitoring required by the Act. [117620]

The Home Office is committed to promoting equality and diversity for the communities we serve and also for our staff. This accords with the Department's purpose of working with individuals and communities to build a safe, just and tolerant society and our aim to support strong and active communities in which people of all races and backgrounds are valued and participate on equal terms. The Home Office published its Race Equality Scheme on 25 April 2002, in line with the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. We have identified a number of areas of our work as having a high potential impact on race equality and race relations, including policies on reducing crime and disorder, on police leadership, powers and relations with the public, on victims of crime, on drugs and on active communities, community cohesion and race relations. Our scheme commits us to assessing and consulting on new policies, and monitoring policies generally, for their impact on race equality and race relations.The Police Complaints Authority, National Crime Squad, National Criminal Intelligence Service and Commission for Racial Equality have all published race equality schemes in line with the requirements of the Act. Although not required to do so, the Central Police Development and Training Agency (Centrex) has also published such a scheme; and the Parole Board, which has already produced an action plan against racial discrimination, on which it has consulted the Commission, is preparing a scheme.Mr right hon. Friend the Home Secretary appointed Mary Coussey as Independent Race Monitor for ministerial authorisations to discriminate on grounds of nationality, and of national and ethnic origin, in immigration and nationality functions. Her first interim report was published in November 2002. The Prison Service is in the process of revising its Race Equality Action Plan to take account of issues raised by the Commission for Racial Equality following the Commission's formal investigation of the Service.The Home Office has published a number of reports setting out the results of monitoring of the position of minority ethnic people in relation to our policies and employment practices, for example the Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2002 report, published in March 2003; and the milestone report on the Home Secretary's Race Equality Employment Targets (covering staff targets for the Home Office and Prison, Police, Fire and Probation Services), published in January 2003. We are currently collating and analysing data from monitoring of the Home Office's own employment processes relating to the first year of operation of the Department's Race Equality Scheme and expect to be in a position to publish the results in September 2003.