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30 DAY COUNTDOWN TO PUBLISH RACE EQUALITY SCHEMES

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Key public sector agencies, including local authorities, have a month to ...
Key public sector agencies, including local authorities, have a month to

publish their race equality schemes, home office minister for

community and race relations, Angela Eagle said today.

Race equality schemes, which are intended to show how key public

authorities plan to promote race equality within their organisations,

are required under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. The

schemes should be published by 31st May and should be living

documents that are regularly revisited and revised.

Ms Eagle said:

'This government is determined to encourage a truly diverse society,

where people from different ethnic backgrounds can live and work

together, where we can truly appreciate the different qualities that

people bring, in mutual respect and understanding.

'That is why we have been working to provide the right legislative

and administrative frameworks to help achieve full equality in

Britain.'

Ms Eagle also welcomed the publication Tackling racial equality:

international comparisons, a survey of race equality legislation in a

range of countries across the globe including a selection of member

states of the European Union (EU), the United States, Canada,

Australia and South Africa.

She said:

'The evidence is clear - Britain is ahead of many other European and

non-European countries in its provisions to achieve racial equality.

Although Britain, alongside the Netherlands, has the most

comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in Europe, we still have more

to achieve.

'Britain's Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 is the most

far-reaching reform of race law in Britain for 30 years. It gives the

public greater protection from race discrimination and victimisation.

Importantly, it adds a new, enforceable duty on key public bodies to

proactively promote race equality.

'The legislation bites across the public sector - from local

authorities and schools, police forces, the Immigration Service and

all central government agencies. It aims to ensure race equality not

just for staff, but for members of the public in the services which

government provides. Ultimately it ensures that services are provided

fairly to everyone, irrespective of race or colour.'

Notes

1. Tackling racial equality: an international comparison can be found

here .

Hard copies can be obtained by telephoning 020 7273 2084 or emailing

publications.rda@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

2. The aim of this research was to determine how UK policies and

programmes compare with those of a selection of member states of the

European Union (EU), the United States, Canada, Australia and South

Africa.

3. Mary Cousley (an independent researcher at Cambridge University)

conducted this desk research on behalf of the home office. Ms Cousley

has now been appointed as race monitor for immigration matters by the

home secretary on 29th April.

4. The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 came into force on 2nd

April 2001 and outlawed race discrimination in all public functions

not covered by the original 1976 Act, with only a few exceptions. It

also imposed a general duty to promote race equality and good race

relations on listed public bodies, including schools, police

authorities, central and local government bodies, and health service

bodies.

5. Specific duties imposed by Order on many of the bodies subject to

the general duty, required them to outline in a Race Equality Scheme

the specific steps they are taking to promote race equality by 31st

May 2002. A list of the bodies subject to this duty can be found here .

The Commission for Racial Equality will be able to enforce the specific duties.

6. The home office published its own race equality scheme on 25th

April. Copies are available here .

7. The EU Race Directive will introduce a minimum standard of legal

protection from race discrimination across Europe. Because the Race

Relations Act already complies to a large extent with the provisions

of the Directive, the amendments that we need to make to the Act will

be relatively minor and technical. The Directive will benefit UK

citizens who live, work and travel within Europe. The Directive

should be transposed into UK law by July 2003.

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