‘No commissioner, no Scots influence’

Scottish campaign groups fear the country’s interests will be sidelined in the new UK-wide equalities body by the delay in appointing a commissioner for equality in Scotland

No Scottish commissioner was appointed in the first round of appointments to the Commission for Equality and Human Rights,  announced in December, because no suitable candidate came forward.

But campaigners fear this means the country will have no input into significant decisions affecting the early life of the commission, which will begin work in October, and have written to chair Trevor Phillips to ask when a commissioner will be in place.

A chief executive – career diplomat Nicola Brewer – has already been appointed in the absence of a Scottish commissioner.

One campaigner, who wished to remain anonymous, told Community Care: “If people aren’t in at the beginning of the process they can get left out. A commissioner should have been in place at the start so they can take proper account of the human rights scene in Scotland, which is very different to England.”

David Manion, chief executive of Age Concern Scotland, said: “We’re concerned that this person is in post early so they can influence the shape of the commission’s activity in the future.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said the post would be readvertised shortly.

The CEHR is to replace the Disability Rights Commission, Commission for Racial Equality and Equal Opportunities Commission.

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