30 June 2009
EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SCOTLAND FULFILLS KEY ROLE BUT MUST NOT STRAY OUTSIDE REMIT, SAY MPS
The Scottish Affairs Committee today publishes its report examining the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland (EHRC or “the Commission”).
The Committee says EHRC has a key role to play in contributing to equality and human rights strategy development, but voices concern that it has on occasion tried to influence policy outside its remit.
The report concludes that the Commission should:
- publish its Scottish strategic plan outlining how it will prioritise and resource its work
- ensure resources are allocated to matters falling within the current devolution settlement
- deal with the consequences of immigration for community cohesion and good relations rather than seeking to influence immigration policy, which is not a devolved matter
- make improving data collection on discrimination in Scotland a key priority
- take up with the Scottish Government the need for developing and funding legal advice and assistance in the equality field
- introduce a web-based system to monitor organisations’ equality performance
- continue to focus on dealing with inequalities arising from poverty and allow other agencies to focus on tackling the causes of poverty
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Mohammad Sarwar MP, said:
EHRC Scotland is a relatively new organisation and we were encouraged by the discussions we had about its work so far. While our report raises some concerns regarding EHRC’s remit, it is clear that the organisation has the potential to make a significant contribution to how equality and human rights strategies fit the Scottish context, and we will continue to monitor progress as the Commission further develops its work.
Committee Membership is as follows: Mr Mohammad Sarwar MP (Lab, Glasgow Central) (Chairman), Alistair Carmichael MP (Lib Dem, Orkney and Shetland), Ms Katy Clark MP (Lab, North Ayrshire and Arran), Mr Ian Davidson MP (Lab/Co-operative, Glasgow South West), Mr Jim Devine MP (Lab, Livingston), Mr Jim McGovern MP (Lab, Dundee West), David Mundell MP (Con, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale), Lindsay Roy MP (Lab, Glenrothes), Mr Charles Walker MP (Con, Broxbourne), Mr Ben Wallace MP (Con, Lancaster and Wyre) and Pete Wishart MP (SNP, Perth and North Perthshire).
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