English and Welsh councils will have to publish a race equality
scheme by the end of next May, as well as make arrangements for
monitoring the racial make-up of their workforces, under
regulations laid before parliament last week. Last year, more than
50 per cent of authorities did not monitor their workforces and 25
per cent did not have an equal opportunities statement.
Under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 specific duties on
public bodies were introduced to reinforce the general duty to
“eliminate unlawful racial discrimination” and “promote equality of
opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial
Councils’ race equality schemes will have to set out how they
intend to assess and consult on the likely impact of proposed
policies on the promotion of racial equality, as well as how they
will monitor any adverse impact of their policies.
The schemes will also have to cover publication of such
assessments and monitoring, in addition to staff training plans and
providing information on council services.
Meanwhile, staff monitoring will entail calculating, by
reference to individual ethnic groups, the numbers of staff in post
and applicants for employment, training and promotion. Monitoring
arrangements must be in place for the end of May and implemented
“as soon as is reasonably practicable”.