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Equality and Human Rights Commission: Telephone Services

Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what the cost of (a) recruiting and (b) training helpline staff in the Equality and Human Rights Commission has been in each year since its creation. (277875)

The information is as follows:

2007-08:

(a) £326,228 was spent on recruitment of helpline staff;

(b) £211,070 was spent on training of helpline staff.

2008-09:

(a) No further recruitment took place;

(b) £20,000 was spent on training of helpline staff.

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether an equality impact assessment on the removal of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s helpline from the Manchester office has been undertaken. (277877)

Following the announcement of the proposed changes to the helpline in February 2009, the EHRC has been completing an equality impact assessment which will continue to be updated as part of the on-going consultation and decision making process. A full analysis of the equality impact assessments and mitigations will be made available to the senior management team ahead of any decision being taken.

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions the Equality and Human Rights Commission had with recognised trades unions on the future of its helpline team in Manchester before deciding to close the team. (277879)

Since February 2009 the EHRC have been consulting with the trade unions regarding the proposed reorganisation of the helpline. There have been five formal meetings with the recognised trade unions to discuss the proposal. In addition the trade unions have been actively involved in a series of action groups looking at specific elements of the proposal.

The senior management team are currently considering the points raised during the consultation period by the trade unions and no decision has been made to go ahead with the proposed changes.

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many calls have been received by the Equality and Human Rights Commission's helpline in each quarter since its inception. (277900)

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s helpline has been operational since 1 October 2007. Robust reporting systems were not in place until February 2008. The available call statistics from that date are as follows:

Number of calls received

February to June 2008

28,247

July to September 2008

17,172

October to December 2008

14,924

January to March 2009

22,113