The Equality and Human Rights Commission is to lose functions to government departments or the private and voluntary sectors under government plans to “substantially streamline” its remit.
The EHRC’s work will be refocused on regulating anti-discrimination and equality law in the UK, meeting European Union equality requirements and being a national human rights institution, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) said today.
It said the government was considering transferring other EHRC functions to government departments or the private or voluntary sectors. These could include some of its work in campaigning and research. It is currently carrying out an inquiry into disability-related harassment, but the GEO said it could not comment on whether it would carry out similar activities in future.
However, any reduction in the remit of the EHRC could undermine people’s ability to challenge unfair decisions in social care, warned Disability Alliance director of policy Neil Coyle.
The changes, which will be consulted on later this year, were announced as part of wider reforms to public bodies announced today by the government, under which 192 public bodies will be scrapped, 118 merged down to 57 and 171 substantially reformed, including the EHRC.
The GEO also vowed to strengthen financial requirements on the EHRC in the light of its “history of poor financial control” – a reference to National Audit Office findings of “irregular expenditure” by the commission.
The commission said it was already taking action to improve its value for money and effectiveness.
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