Institutional, policy and economic frameworks – UK Government assessment
The UK Government has taken some action aimed at strengthening institutional, policy and economic frameworks related to human rights and equality, such as the creation of an equality hub – a dedicated unit that coordinates several equality policy areas. However, much action is incomplete or at an early stage. For example, the strategy to tackle inequalities for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers has not yet been published, and there is no clear substantive progress in implementing the gender equality roadmap. There are also concerns about the potential human rights impact of the loss of EU funding.
- While the UK Government provided a permanent home for the Government Equalities Office in the Cabinet Office and has created the Equality Hub, it has not published information about the priorities of the Equality Hub or relationships between its constituent parts, which will be necessary for transparency, effectiveness and accountability.
- The UK Government has not made substantive progress on implementing the gender equality roadmap or LGBT Action Plan. The last annual progress report on the LGBT Action Plan is dated 2019. It appears that the gender equality roadmap is not being implemented in practice, and no annual progress reports to the UK Parliament have been published.
- The UK Government has committed to remove the barriers to disabled people’s full and equal participation in society through a national disability strategy. However, the UK Government’s approach to engagement with disabled people on developing the strategy has been criticised by several disabled people’s organisations, and a judicial review was launched into the UK Government’s failure to hold a formal consultation.
- The UK Government has not published information about progress in developing the national strategy to tackle Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inequalities.
- The March 2021 Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report makes recommendations to reduce racial disparities. The UK Government has yet to formally respond to the report.
- The UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, and others, have called on the UK Government to implement a coordinated, cross-government race equality strategy. However, this has not yet been delivered.
- The UK Government has confirmed that it has no plans to establish a national human rights action plan.
- The UK Government publishes equality impact assessments (EIAs) for some significant policies, which can be an important transparency tool for equality. However, EIAs have sometimes been published after policy implementation, do not always fully explain how the analysis influenced the policy, and can lack evidence on consultation with groups representing protected characteristics. For example, the UK Government’s equality analysis of the Coronavirus Act 2020 was published four months after the Act became law.
- There are concerns about the potential impact of the loss of EU funding for projects that have implications for human rights. The UK Community Renewal Fund prospectus – to support communities until the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is launched in 2022 – contains minimal reference to equality considerations and nothing on human rights.
- It is too early to assess the impact of the infrastructure investment through the Levelling Up Fund announced in the 2021 Budget.
- The UK Government has not granted the Equality and Human Rights Commission human rights enforcement powers in line with our powers in relation to equality. This stops us undertaking investigations into human rights breaches, among other limitations.
Read more about the UK Government’s actions on institutional, policy and economic frameworks.