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Single minded

Could the forthcoming public equality duty reforms actually be a step backwards? Kiran Daurka reports

14 March 2011

There is an increasing awareness around the public sector equality duties, partly because of the recent spate of high-profile challenges to decisions which were purportedly in breach of the duties.

The Fawcett Society’s challenge of the coalition government’s emergency budget failed, but, more recently, there have been two successful judicial reviews of government decisions on spending cuts this February. Michael Gove’s scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future programme was ruled unlawful because of a failure to conduct an equalities assessment. Similarly, the decision by London Councils to axe £10m of funding for 400 projects aimed at the most needy also had to be cancelled because it breached equality duties.

There has also been a rising interest in the duties because of the impending change in the law which will introduce a ‘single equality duty’ in April 2011 under the Equality Act 2010. This all sounds like equalities duties are moving forward a...

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