4. Equalities Act
The Inspectorate came into being as a result of an equality issue and it is appropriate therefore that the Equalities Act remains as a focus for inspection work.
As highlighted in last year's report the Bill became an Act on 8 April 2010 with most of the main provisions coming into force in October 2010.
This applied to the general duty to show due regard the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- Advance equality of opportunity between different groups
- Foster good relations between different groups
In Scotland, although draft specific duties have been prepared, these have not yet been passed by the Scottish Parliament. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has, however, produced interim guidance.
Responsibility for enforcing the public sector equality duty rests with the Commission which encourages voluntary compliance.
In January 2011 the Chief Inspector gave evidence to the Inquiry Panel for Disability-Related Harassment set up by the Commission. The report is due in September 2011.
In common with all other bodies the Inspectorate has to prepare an Equality Impact Assessment in doing its work. The Inspectorate maintains close links with Crown Office and other equality and diversity groups including the Crown Office Equality Advisory Group which gives advice to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on policy initiatives, the Working Group on Interpreting and Translation and the Crown Office Strategy Group on Diversity.