In 2021, the government commissioned Dr. Tony Sewell to chair a new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) to investigate race and ethnic disparities in the UK. CRED published its report into its findings in March 2021 which set out 24 recommendations to forward 4 overarching aims: (i) to build trust between different communities and the institutions that serve them, (ii) to promote greater fairness to improve opportunities and outcomes for individuals and communities, (iii) to create agency so individuals can take greater control of the decisions that impact their lives, and (iv) to achieve genuine inclusivity to ensure all groups feel a part of UK society. On 17 March 2022, the government published its “Inclusive Britain” response to CRED’s report.
- The key recommendations / action points from the government’s response that employers should keep on their radar are:
- The government will not be legislating for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting at this stage. Instead, BEIS will publish guidance to employers on voluntary ethnicity pay gap reporting in summer 2022. Those companies that choose to voluntarily report should include a diagnosis and action plan, setting out the reasons for and steps to address the disparities.
- Employers will be encouraged to use, where appropriate, specific ethnic groups (using the categories set out in the ONS census) rather than broader categories when publishing their data. The government has stopped using the term ‘BAME’ in its own communications and will encourage other public sector bodies to do the same. Where a binary distinction has to be made, the government will use the term ‘people from ethnic minority backgrounds’ instead.
- The Government Equalities Office will create new updated guidance on positive action by December 2022 to support employers and industry sectors to create opportunity for groups that are underrepresented in their workforce.
- The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will issue guidance that explains how to apply the Equality Act 2010 to algorithmic decision-making.
- The EHRC has launched a landmark new fund that will see up to £250,000 to help victims take action against organizations which may have broken equality law. The fund will also support legal practitioners resolve complaints of race discrimination and help employers understand their responsibilities and what the consequences are for breach.
- There will be better promotion and targeted campaigns to attract more ethnic minority individuals to take up apprenticeships.
- To tackle bias and ensure fairness in the workplace, by spring 2023, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub will create an ‘Inclusion at Work Panel’. The Panel will develop and disseminate effective resources to help employers drive fairness (not limited to race and ethnicity) across organizations.
For advice or to discuss what this means for you and your business, please contact your usual Baker McKenzie contact.