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 Strategic plan
 Equality scheme
 Grants scheme
 Links to useful documents

The Equality and Human Rights Commission aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people and promote and protect human rights, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society.

We are developing our three-year strategic plan and three-year equality scheme both of which will be published in April 2009. We are also looking at ways in which we can shape our grants programme in line with our strategic priorities.

Strategic plan

The Commission sees the development of a clear strategy for our work as critically important. The strategy, which binds together all the parts of our broad remit into one plan and which is developed through involvement with our stakeholders, will be key in helping us achieve our vision of social change.

We have a statutory duty to publish a three-year strategic plan and our first will be published in April 2009. The plan will set out a clear vision and strategy for April 2009 to March 2012, as well as describing our priorities and programme of work for that period.

In order to shape our thinking prior to the development of our future strategy we sought views on a number of key questions in our involvement events and online consultation held during the Autumn and Winter.

The five key questions:

  • As the Commission is here to support all 60 million people living in Britain, where should it focus its resources for the greatest public benefit?
  • Do the seven protected grounds (age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation) in the Equality Act adequately describe the drivers of inequality that persist in Britain?
  • In what ways will changes in the economic and political landscape over the next three years, impact on equality and human rights in Britain?
  • Over the next three years, what are likely to be the most significant forms of disadvantage that the Commission should focus on?
  • What can the Commission uniquely do to tackle these forms of disadvantage?

We have listened with great interest to the views and ideas submitted so far and we remain committed to working in partnership with stakeholders to develop our strategic plan. We believe that the strategic plan should focus on delivering our statutory remit and make a lasting and positive impact on equality, human rights and good relations in Britain.

We are now seeking your views on our proposed strategic priorities. We will be holding four further involvement and consultation events across England, Scotland and Wales during February and March as well as an on-line consultation.

The events take place in Glasgow on Tuesday 24th February, Manchester on Monday 2nd March, Cardiff on Tuesday 3rd March and London on Wednesday 4th March. If you would like to attend one of these events please email us at [email protected] stating which event you are interested in attending.

Equality scheme

We published our first one-year equality scheme in 2008. The scheme was developed by working closely with those with an interest in what we do, to ensure that our priorities and future work meets the needs of those we strive to bring about changes for, in our society.

We have a statutory duty to publish our equality scheme and we are now developing our three-year equality scheme which will be published in April 2009. Our equality scheme will contain our commitment to actions in the areas of age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender as well as human rights.

In developing this three-year scheme we are proactively engaging with stakeholders by putting into practice an extensive involvement and consultation plan. By consultation we mean ‘involve, seek out, and engage with, other’s views about a matter, with the conscious purpose of being influenced in some way by the nature of the views expressed’.

During Autumn and Winter 2008 we held involvement events and ran an online consultation to engage with many different people and organisations who share our commitment to improving society.

The responses from this consultation will inform the development of our three-year equality scheme. The responses to the involvement and consultation held so far can be viewed on the documents page.

Grants scheme

The Commission is empowered to give financial assistance, by virtue of Section 17 of the Equality Act 2006, to organisations who promote equality and diversity, good relations and human rights. We recognise that the grants scheme needs to be made fit for purpose to achieve its overall aim of implementing the Commission's strategic priorities and to provide vital intelligence on public concern around issues of equality, human rights and social cohesion.

While developing the Interim Grants Programme for 2008–09, which is providing funding amounting to £10.9 million to 285 eligible organisations, the Commission committed to a comprehensive review of the grants function prior to the launch of the 2009–10 programmes. This equates to a substantial increase in the combined funding spend of all three former commissions in their final year of operation (the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission).

Key elements of this review consist of this public consultation on the grants programme, a closer alignment of the grants function to the Commission's overall strategic plan and the development of a more fit-for-purpose grants funding model, learning from best practice examples.

These three elements are inextricably linked. Therefore, the Commission’s strategy is directly informing the Grants Programme Public Consultation, which in turn will provide the framework for the best practice model. The responses from this consultation will directly feed into the development and design of the 2009–10/2011–12 Grants Programme. We will publish the results of the consultation and make them available prior to the launch of the programme in 2009.