Submissions to the Review of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and campaigning to retain the PSED: April 2013

 Leander Neckles, of Necko Consultancy, is a free lance equalities consultant and a Board member of Equanomics-UK.

This article builds on previous articles about the review of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) by outlining a submission to the PSED review by a coalition of race equality organisations;  providing information on Race on the Agenda’s new campaign to save the Public Sector Equality Duty and highlighting an important new publication from Dr Richard Stone, Hidden Stories of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Personal Reflections.
Race Equality Coalition and supporters response to the PSED Review
Last month, I reported that the Government Equalities Office had issued a call for evidence but the deadline for submissions was very tight. In the event, it was extended, but by only one week. A coalition of leading race equality organizations, including the Race Equality Foundation and Equanomics UK, made a detailed 30 page submission to the review.
In this the twentieth year following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, our submission reflected on the findings of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, the long fight for justice by the Lawrence family and the continued experience of discrimination experienced by the Lawrence family and Stuart Lawrence. Our submission covers:

  • Stephen’s legislative legacy in the form of the Race Equality Duty which was incorporated in the PSED, continuing racial inequalities, institutional racism and our concerns about the review of the PSED;
  • The impact of government actions of the implementation of the PSED, how well understood the PSED is and issues around enforcement, compliance and associated issues;
  • The PSED and the increasing importance of procurement and commissioning given the amount of public funding and activities that are put out to tender
  • Recommendations to the review to the review of the PSED.

 We have provided a range of supporting evidence to support our submission in three appendices.

The Race Equality Foundation, Equanomics-UK and sister race equality organizations are committed to reducing the ethnic inequalities that continue to result in unfairly worse experiences in British social and economic life for black and ethnic minority citizens, and agree with the Government that public legislation and policy must be effective in doing so. However we also believe that addressing institutional discrimination and inequalities associated with race and other protected characteristics takes commitment, evidence, leadership, legislative tools, a long term vision, support and time.
Given the decision by the Government to repeal the general equality duty placed on the EHRC under the Equality Act 2006 and the EHRC’s good relations duty, we do not believe that it is unreasonable to be profoundly concerned about the review of the PSED and the future of the PSED. We fear that the timing and nature of this review suggest that there is a lack of a long term vision or commitment by the Government to race equality but we hope that these concerns will prove to be unfounded.
Race on the Agenda (ROTA) and their campaign to protect the PSED
Like other members of the Race Equality Coalition, ROTA believes that we cannot be complacent about the PSED review. So in addition to contributing to the formal submission to the PSED, ROTA has launched a simple and straight forward online petition under the banner "The British Government: Keep the Public Sector Equality Duty". You can read about this campaign by visiting ROTA’s website. Anyone who wishes to support the retention of the PSED should sign up to this important campaign and to pass the message on to others.

Hidden stories by Dr Richard Stone
Dr Richard Stone, as an adviser to Sir William Macpherson, was one of the three panel members to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. His book, Hidden stories of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, was published by Policy Press in March 2013. Dr Stone’s book questions how far we have come in tackling racial discrimination, particularly in the police service, since the appalling murder of Stephen Lawrence nearly 20 years ago, and his conclusion is that, unfortunately, it is not far enough. His chapter Final Reflections directs us to some key changes that have to be addressed, although after the many Inquiries and reports on race discrimination Dr Stone feels enough recommendations have been written on the subject, it is the action that is needed