Diversity and equality has become the latest branch of employment law to come under the spotlight of the Government’s bonfire of red tape and BT’s head of people and policy Caroline Waters (pictured), has been appointed to advise on the process.
Equality legislation applies to almost every area of the public and private sector. Businesses and voluntary and community organisations are being invited to tell government how to cut bureaucracy and boost business in this area by 30 June.
The Equality Act 2010 has already replaced nine major pieces of legislation and scrapped another 100 sets of regulations in order to lighten the burden of red tape on businesses. The Red Tape challenge website asks what more we can do to simplify or deregulate equality legislation.
Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “The Equality Act is here to stay. Fairness and opportunity for all remain at the heart of government. But there is always more we can do to ensure that business is not being strangled by red tape.
“This government is committed to economic prosperity and reducing unnecessary rules and regulations. We want to hear from individuals, businesses, public sector organisations and voluntary and community organisations about how the Act is working in practice. We want to know whether the Act could be simplified, better implemented, or if certain provisions should be dropped or amended, or whether it should be kept exactly as it is.”
The Government has already taken action to drive fair treatment and equal opportunities without resorting to overly bureaucratic regulation. The Home Secretary announced last December that the gender pay reporting measures in section 78 of the Equality Act would not be implemented. Instead, the government is working with business to encourage the publication of equality workforce data on a voluntary basis.
The director of people and policy at BT, Caroline Waters, has been enlisted to act as sector champion and is fully behind the drive to ease the stranglehold on business, while ensuring that necessary regulation remains. She will also provide expert knowledge on the issues faced by those on the shop floor and act as an intermediary between the sector and government.
Waters said: “I am delighted and very flattered to have this opportunity to champion the equalities review of the Red Tape challenge. This is such an exciting opportunity to focus on the intent of the legislation and to make sure we have a legislative framework that supports our desire to become an ever fairer society that can effectively compete in the global economy, because we are fully embracing all the talents, experiences and perspectives available to us.
“I want this to be a conversation about how we maintain the progress of recent years, but remove the actual and perceived bureaucracy that is a barrier to many individuals and businesses. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want to do this, so let’s cut through the red tape and make fairness and inclusion a reality. Get involved – give us the feedback and insights that will make this work.”
The Red Tape challenge website was launched by the prime minister and business secretary Vince Cable in April.
The intention is to give the public a chance to have their say on regulation that affects their everyday lives; whether it is to speak up for well-designed rules that are there to protect or to challenge badly designed or badly thought out requirements that are an unnecessary burden.