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Equality: Prosecutions

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality which public bodies have been prosecuted for failing in their statutory equality duties in each of the last four years; and if she will make a statement. (257452)

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the Government agency responsible for promoting and enforcing the statutory equality duties. It is not within the Commission’s remit to prosecute public bodies, however they have a range of legal powers set out in the Equality Act 2006, which they can and do use to enforce the public sector duties.

The EHRC can issue a compliance notice where they are satisfied a public authority has failed to meet its specific duties. If a public authority fails to comply with a requirement of the notice either to comply with the duty or provide further information, the EHRC may apply for a court order requiring compliance.

The court may grant the order in the terms that the EHRC applied for or in more limited terms. If the court makes an order and the authority does not abide by it, the authority may be held in contempt of court.