New Gender Equality Duty will increase focus on effective diversity practices
The Gender Equality Duty that comes into force on 6 April 2007 will place the onus on public authorities to promote gender equality, in particular through effective recruitment strategies.
The new duty has been heralded as the biggest change in sex equality legislation in 30 years. Highlighting the practical implications for the recruitment industry, the REC Chief Executive Marcia Roberts says:
“The new Gender Equality Duty is the latest regulatory prompt for public sector employers to become increasingly proactive in promoting diversity and equality. Recruitment professionals supplying into the public sector must be aware of the new Duty and can play a key role by ensuring that recruitment procedures reflect these new obligations”.The REC earlier this year launched the new ‘Diversity Assured’ service as a follow-up to the award-winning REC/Jobcentre Plus Diversity Pledge. The new service will enable employers to identify and work with recruitment professionals who can demonstrate their commitment and ability to effectively delivering diversity through better recruitment practices.
The Gender Equality Duty has been welcomed by The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), one of the leading equality organisations that supported the REC/Jobcentre Plus Diversity Pledge. Jenny Watson, Chair of the EOC, said:
"Leaders in our public services must use it to deliver services and employment practices that work equally well for women and men. It also means a major shift in employment practice across the public sector, tackling the barriers that prevent women from getting to the top such as lack of flexibility and ensuring that all areas of work are opened up to both sexes, bringing more men into professions such as primary school teaching, nursing and childcare."
- 6 April 2007 – Gender Equality Duty comes into force across GB
- 30 April 2007– Gender equality schemes must be in place in England
29 June 2007 – Gender equality schemes must be in place in Scotland
Enforcement of the Gender Equality Duty. Public authorities must implement the gender duty. The EOC, and in the future, the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) can enforce it in the courts .