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Public sector equality duty ‘too bureaucratic’

18 September 2013

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Despite troubles in making the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) work it will not be revoked, a new report has revealed.

The PSED was introduced in the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that public bodies take account of equality in their day-to-day work. 

A recent report released by the government as part of a plan to reduce public sector ‘red tape’ stated that there is “little evidence” of the costs and benefits of the scheme. 

The Duty will not be repealed, but a full evaluation should be undertaken in 2016, the report claimed. 

Chair of the group leading the review, Roy Hayward OBE said he was “disappointed” with some of the findings. 

He said: “There is undoubtedly support for the principles which underpin the Duty – and some public bodies are doing a good job in mainstreaming equalities considerations in their work.  

“But, in far too many cases, we have uncovered useless bureaucratic practices which do nothing for equality.  No-one seems to ask, ‘Could I do less and have the same beneficial effect?’” 

The report stated that the main problems have been around implementation of the Duty, which “varied widely” across the public sector. 

Maria Miller, Minister for Women and Equalities said: “Public authorities must be transparent about their objectives and performance on equality, and it is vital that the specific duties support this aim. 

We will therefore keep these duties under review and work closely with the Equality and Human Rights Commission as it conducts its more detailed assessment of the specific duties.”