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1 Equality and Human Rights: The First Decade of Devolution EHRC First Annual Lecture Dr Paul Chaney.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Equality and Human Rights: The First Decade of Devolution EHRC First Annual Lecture Dr Paul Chaney."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Equality and Human Rights: The First Decade of Devolution EHRC First Annual Lecture Dr Paul Chaney

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3 3 Institutionalising equality? Public policy Elections Law Infrastructure Political Representation Evaluating the First Decade?

4 4 Pre-1999 Welsh Office generally did not have responsibility for equalities matters Mid-1990s CRE opens first office in Wales women s inequality in Wales comes together in an underlying alienation of women from legislative institutions, in particular what can be perceived as male institutions, male agenda, male political methods … (Val Feld, 1994) There is nothing to talk about (Former Secretary of State for Wales)

5 5 Govt of Wales Act (2006) s.77

6 6 Statutory Equality Duty Broader in scope than GB equality statutes Duty falls on Welsh ministers Applies to all government functions Fourth generation equality duty Significant in reprioritising equalities in public policy Internationally, equalities clauses found in constitutional law of regional governments S.77 Unique in non-prescriptive phrasing

7 7 Chaney, P. (2008) Devolved Governance and the Substantive Representation of Women:The Second Term of the National Assembly for Wales, 2003–2007, Parliamentary Affairs, 83,

8 8 Voluntary Sector Scheme the goal is the creation of a civil society which: has a duty to promote equality of opportunity to all its members regardless of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, language preference, religion or family/domestic responsibilities (NAfW, 2000).

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11 11 Views of 3 rd Sector Equality Organisations Mixed views on whether voices heard in policy consultations/ effectiveness of lobbying Some children s, older people s, learning disabilities, women s orgs cited good policy influence Others felt they were not always listened to – not a partnership of equals Small orgs concerns uneven playing field > bigger, better funded 3rd sector orgs greatest influence in policy circles Increasing competition over access/ dilution of influence Complexity of Welsh devolution settlement > challenge to some 3rd sector orgs General acknowledgement: positive effect of new structures of engagement/ political recognition

12 12 Equalities and Public Policy (1). Plethora of equalities policy initiatives - significant discontinuity with pre- 99. Prevailing political ideology a factor Raft of policies to promote participation of children and young people in public decision- making Significant broadening of the focus on equalities policies Early years of devolution prone to declaratory approach to equalities Today, some evidence of more sophisticated approach – more to be done before universal

13 13 Equalities and Public Policy (2). Policy innovation: e.g. Children s/ Older People s Commissioners; Schools Councils Some evidence of devolved policies going beyond approach seen at Westminster Variability between govt departments Creation of extensive range of all-Wales equalities policies on topics – where, before constitutional reform, none existed No. of policies set out aims in terms of universal entitlements/ rights Redistributive approaches : e.g. state grants to promote equalities Implementation Gap: Mixed evidence of policy outcomes

14 14 Equalities and Public Policy (3). Significant levels of govt. funding to equalities-related orgs, projects, policy networks and forums Some evidence of participatory approach to policy making Scope for broadening circles of those outside govt engaged in equalities policy work Need for further development of expertise & participation of NGOs / private sector on equalities and human rights in the devolved context.

15 15 Politics, Parties and Elections Distinctive policy agenda, in part, stems from Wales-only Assembly elections Increasingly, equalities area of electoral competition Political parties issuing equalities mini-manifestos Civil / civic society orgs issuing own manifestos (e.g. Cerebral palsy org. called on govt. banish disablism through public procurement) Alliances of equalities NGOs issuing manifestos on single policy issues (e.g. free home care for disabled people, child poverty etc) Alliances of equalities NGOs issuing manifestos on all aspects of equality (e.g. Welsh Equality Reference Group) Effect? Some evidence of parties/ candidates signing up to adopt 3rd sector orgs proposals (e.g. Refugees org/ One Wales )

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17 17 Equalities Law in Wales Creation of distinctive legal framework on equalities in Wales Move towards increasing use of hard policy enforcement mechanisms General lack of awareness of legislative dimension Pre-2007: founded on secondary legislation Regulatory Impact Assessments (inc. S.77 compliance) required for all Welsh subordinate legislation Result of legislative dimension to devolution in Wales, Scot. & N. Ireland = different legal rights, means of redress and welfare entitlements apply in the countries of the UK

18 18 School Government (Terms of Reference) (Wales) Regulations (2000) – Places legal duties on governing bodies and head teachers to exercise their functions with due regard to the promotion of equal opportunities and good relations The Education (Assembly Learning Grant Scheme) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations (2002) – To enable persons to undertake FE / HE courses by providing financial assistance in or towards meeting the cost of childcare incurred in consequence of their attending such a course The Education (Induction Arrangements for School Teachers) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations (2004) – Requires public bodies to have greater consideration of mat/ paternity leave etc. in induction arrangements for school teachers The Single Education Plan (Wales) Regulations (2006) – Education authorities Plans must contain a statement of the overall strategic vision and values in discharging their education responsibilities, having regard to equality legislation The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) Order (2008) – LA staff: You must (a) carry out your duties and responsibilities with due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people …

19 19 Equalities Law in Wales Post- 07 primary lawmaking powers – (Measures via LCO process) has significant potential for increasingly divergent equalities law Each of the first five proposed Assembly Measures (2008-9) dealt explicitly with an equality-related topic (Legislative Competence) (Welsh Language) Order (2009) – potential duties cover parts of private/ vol. – sectors – as well as public sector Equality Bill (2009) allows Welsh ministers to powers to impose specific equality duties on certain public authorities in Wales – And, impose specific duties in relation to the devolved Welsh functions of the cross-border authorities

20 20 The Case for Full Lawmaking Powers Complexity & opaque nature of NAfW s powers undermines EC principles of good governance Survey of 1,000 members of equalities NGOs – uncertainty over powers may limit engagement with NAfW/ WAG Analysis of NAfW Equality Committee Transcripts – approx. half of meetings e.g.s of frustration/ uncertainty stemming from limitations or lack of clarity over powers I would like some clarity ( ); The trouble is that, as you quite rightly said, most of this is not devolved to us ( ); What powers does the Assembly have … ? ( ); This is a cause for concern... I am not sure with whom the responsibility lies for this. Can you help us? ( ). Full lawmaking powers would limit Westminster constraints on devolved equality policies LCO process gives Westminster potential veto over WAG legislating on manifesto commitments

21 21 Human Rights ECHR enshrined in GOWA s.81 Limited evidence of policy divergence on HR WAG commitment to UNCRC Children and Young People: Rights into Action (2004) Requirement: learners to explore their rights in in line with UNCRC in National Curriculum Orders (WAG, 2008) Progressive measure: UNCRC enacted into secondary legislation relating to the creation of Office of Children s Commissioner for Wales Social Welfare and Other Fields LCO (2008) offers potential to embed UN HR conventions etc into devolved policymaking/ service delivery Growing legislative dimension to devolution in Wales leading to increasingly distinctive Human Rights framework

22 22 Equalities Infrastructure Significant development of the Welsh state equalities infrastructure New dedicated Wales-only bodies e.g. Welsh Commissioners for Children and Older People Devolved structures of Equality and Human Rights Commission Advice Provision – New bodies (e.g. EHRC Wales, CAFCASS Cymru) – Overall picture = growing capacity; also of uneven provision – issue - extent to which advice provision coordinated across strands / human rights/ the public, private & voluntary sectors

23 23 Women s Political Representation Demand for descriptive representation for groups traditionally marginalized in politics Women s representation - significant progress Analysis of gender dynamics of plenary debates the importance of descriptive representation Probabilistically women more likely than men to advance the substantive representation of women Women more likely to initiate debate on equality Women more likely to advance gender equality in ministerial intervention in debate Key role of equality champion Situated knowledge Future progress not assured – key role of political parties

24 24 Chaney P, (2006) Critical Mass, Deliberation and the Substantive Representation of Women: Evidence from the UKs Devolution Programme, Political Studies, 54, ISSN

25 25 Has Devolution Delivered on Equalities? Issues around scrutiny of govt. policy Variability between govt departments/ policy areas regarding the promotion of equalities. Gaps and limitations in official statistics Early years: – A disconnect between the aim of mainstreaming and government actions. – An emphasis on bureaucratic processes associated with government equalities initiatives rather than the results that they achieve – Absence of a systematic and robust process of setting equality targets accompanied by rigorous scrutiny and monitoring of whether policy goals have been met Greater progress needed in increasing no.s / capacity of NGOs etc to engage in equalities policymaking

26 26 Has Devolution Delivered on Equalities? Devolution has had positive impact Institutionalising of equalities in constitutional law, governance structures and procedures > enabling context > full potential yet to be realised Plethora of public policy initiatives > a major discontinuity with past Innovative e.g.s of post-devolution equality policies Variety of approaches: rights, recognition, redistribution, representation, positive action + mainstreaming Participatory dimension to policy making Increasing legislative dimension to promoting equalities Further step in end of universalism in social policy

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