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Equality Bill

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what role (a) the Audit Commission and (b) other public sector inspectorates will play in monitoring public authorities adherence to the duty to tackle socio-economic disadvantage proposed in the Equality Bill. (298449)

The Audit Commission and other public service inspectorates will have an important role to play in monitoring performance under the new duty, for the public authorities they inspect. We are working with them to develop suitable mechanisms for this, using information that in most cases they already collect through existing processes.

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether the duty to tackle social-economic disadvantage proposed in the Equality Bill will apply to fire and rescue authorities and their targeting of fire resources. (298451)

The duty will apply to local authorities, and therefore to fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) where these form part of a local authority. We are discussing with the Fire and Rescue Service and other appropriate stakeholders whether the duty should be extended to all FRAs.