Last month the Government published revised draft regulations on the specific public sector duties, which will supplement the general duty which came into effect on 5 April and which will apply to most larger public sector organisations. The proposed implementation date for these regulations has been postponed from April to July 2011.
The revised draft regulations impose more limited publication obligations. Listed public bodies would be required to publish at least one specific and measurable equality objective not later than 6 April 2012 and at least every four years after that. The requirement to publish how progress toward that objective will be measured has been removed. Listed bodies would also have a duty to publish information to demonstrate compliance with the general public sector duty not later than 31 December 2011 and at least annually after that. That information should include, in particular, information relating to employees (if they have 150 or more) and service users.
The Government Equalities Office explains the change of approach saying: "The proposals are designed to deliver a clear focus on transparency, freeing up public bodies to take responsibility for their own performance in delivering equality improvements and to publish the right information so that the public can hold them to account. This approach will be better for equality because it will focus on the delivery of results, not the performance of bureaucratic processes."
The Government seeks comments on the new draft until 21 April.