About the Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. We challenge prejudice and disadvantage and promote the importance of human rights.

Formed on 1 October 2007, the Commission is an independent statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of the Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.

We enforce equality legislation on age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation, and encourage compliance with the Human Rights Act. We are an evidence-based organisation and we continue to use our own research and that commissioned by others to inform our thinking.

We use our influence and authority to ensure that equality and human rights remain at the top of the agenda for Government and employers, media and society.

By acting directly and fostering partnerships locally, regionally and nationally, we stimulate debate on equality and human rights. We give advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary sector, and individuals. By developing an evidence-based understanding of the causes and effects of inequality for people across Britain, we are an authoritative voice for reform.

Our statutory powers and duties

The Commission’s statutory duties, set out in the Equality Act 2006, are to:

  • Promote understanding of the importance of equality and diversity
  • Encourage good practice in relation to equality and diversity
  • Promote equality of opportunity
  • Promote awareness and understanding of rights under the equality enactments
  • Enforce the equality enactments
  • Work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination
  • Work towards the elimination of unlawful harassment
  • Encourage good practice in relation to human rights.
  • Promote awareness, understanding and protection of human rights
  • Promote good relations among and between groups and others, where groups’ include a group or class of persons who share a common attribute in respect of any of the protected grounds
  • Monitor the effectiveness of laws relating to equality and human rights and monitor and report progress towards identified desired outcomes
  • Encourage public authorities to comply with section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (compliance with Convention rights)

The Scottish Commission for Human Rights has now been established by the Scottish Parliament and work on human rights is shared by our two organisations. Human rights issues arising from matters reserved to the Westminster Parliament are for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Issues arising from devolved matters are for the Scottish Commission unless the Scottish Commission gives its consent for us to handle them