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Equality and Human Rights Commission

Volume 710: debated on Monday 27 April 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 31 March (WA 220–21), how they ensure that public funds are satisfactorily deployed in employing staff in the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and how accountability is achieved in the use of such funds. [HL2854]

The Equality and Human Rights Commission was established by Parliament in October 2007 as a non-departmental public body, at arm’s length from, but accountable to, Government. The commission’s pay and grading structure has been agreed with the Treasury and its annual pay remits are subject to Treasury approval. The accountability arrangements for the commission are set out in a framework agreement between the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Government Equalities Office. This agreement records that the chief executive of the commission is the designated accounting officer, responsible to the commission and to Parliament for the effective and proper use and management of its resources in line with Treasury guidance set out in Managing Public Money and for the preparation and signature of its accounts. The commission is subject to internal audit in accordance with the Treasury’s government internal audit standards and to external audit by the National Audit Office.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 31 March (WA 220–21), whether the Equality and Human Rights Commission is taking steps to improve staff morale; and what impact levels of staff morale have had on the operational performance of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. [HL2855]

Work has included sharing the results of the survey with staff and a process to establish the priorities for improvement. An action plan is being developed to address these issues. Key areas have been identified and learning and development programmes strengthened to address areas for improvement. Over 40 training courses have been advertised to staff and 140 people have signed up for training. The programmes focus on personal and professional development, a direct response to the issues raised in the colleague survey. We are not aware of the level of staff morale having a significant or adverse impact on operational performance.