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Gender Equality

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Leader of the House (1) when he expects to publish the Privy Council Office's gender equality scheme; (101487)

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that private organisations contracted to work in the Privy Council's Office are aware of their duties under gender equality legislation when they are exercising public functions on behalf of public bodies;

(3) what plans he has to carry out gender impact assessments of his major policy developments and new legislation;

(4) what steps he is taking to ensure that the Privy Council's Office is taking steps to meet the requirements of the forthcoming duty on public bodies (a) to end unlawful discrimination and harassment and (b) to promote equality between women and men.

In line with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) Order 2006 (No. 2930), laid on 10 November 2006, the Privy Council Office (PCO) expects to publish its Gender Equality Scheme by 30 April 2007. This scheme will complement existing policies on equality within the PCO.

Any private sector organisations carrying out functions of a public nature on behalf of the PCO will be required to comply with the general gender equality duty. To assist the PCO in ensuring that private sector contractors providing goods, works or services on our behalf, are aware of their obligations under the general gender equality duty we will refer to the Equal Opportunities Commission's (EOC) Code of Practice of the Gender Equality Duty and any further EOC guidance when available.

This Department has no lead responsibility for major policy developments and new legislation at present. Should this position change, however, the PCO will carry out gender impact assessments in line with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Public Authorities)(Statutory Duties) Order 2006 (No. 2930). We shall also refer to EOC Code of Practice on the Gender Equality Duty and any specific guidance when available.