Skip to main content

The report is available here.

Exeter academic’s research features in Parliamentary report on the enforcement of the Equality Act

Dr David Barrett’s research, which focuses on enforcement mechanisms for equality and human rights law, was utilised by the Women and Equalities Committee of the House of Commons in its recent inquiry on the Enforcement of the Equality Act 2010.

The Committee outlined that there needs to be a ‘fundamental shift’ in the enforcement of equality law. The current approach relies heavily on individuals who have been discriminated against to bring legal action. This renders it too burdensome for those individuals and as a result is ‘not fit for purpose’.

Drawing on Dr Barrett’s evidence to the inquiry, the Committee found that there needs to be a fundamental shift to more proactive models of enforcement where regulators, inspectorates and ombudsmen (such as Ofsted or the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman), as well as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, fulfil much greater enforcement roles.

It was noted that up until now, the equality enforcement work of these organisations has been highly inconsistent. On this basis, and in line with Dr Barrett’s research, the Committee recommended the adoption of a legal duty to ensure regulators, inspectorates and ombudsmen fulfil their equality enforcement roles.

Additionally, drawing on Dr Barrett’s article in Legal Studies, the Committee also recommended a shift in the role of the EHRC, in particular, recommending that it establishes memoranda of understanding with all relevant regulators, inspectorates and ombudsmen within the next 12 months.

Date: 1 August 2019