[holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Department is leading the development of a more integrated approach across Government on equality to increase opportunities for men and women. It also leads on gender-related legislation and sponsors the Equal Opportunities Commission and Women's National Commission. It is measuring improvements in gender equality across Government against public service agreement targets, and is taking forward the Discrimination Law Review, looking at the whole of discrimination law, leading to a Single Equality Act.
The Department is preparing and publishing a Gender Equality Scheme which will include an action plan setting out how Communities and Local Government will fulfil the general and specific duties set out in the Equality Act 2006 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) Order 2006 (No. 2930). The scheme will set out the Department's gender equality objectives, and the actions it intends to take in the next three years to reduce gender inequality. The scheme will be published by 30 April 2007.
In preparing the scheme, the Department has consulted employees, stakeholders and trade unions, and has taken into account the views expressed by consultees.
In order to ensure that the actions set out in the scheme are put into practice, the Department has put in place measures to ensure regular review of the scheme and to drive progress in implementing the actions.