Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty

What is the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty?

All public bodies in Ireland have responsibility to promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the human rights of their employees, customers, service users and everyone affected by their policies and plans. This is a legal obligation, called the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, and it originated in Section 42 of our founding legislation, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Act 2014.

What does the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 say?

Section 42 states that:

42. (1) A public body shall, in the performance of its functions, have regard to the need to:

a. eliminate discrimination,

b. promote equality of opportunity and treatment of its staff and the persons to whom it provides services, and

c. protect the human rights of its members, staff and the persons to whom it provides services.

What are the benefits of implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty? 

  • Improving access to services and benefits for all service users
  • Enhancing the quality of policies and services and the more effective use of resources
  • Better working environment for employees with improved productivity and creativity
  • Promoting evidence based approaches
  • Encouraging cultural change in the public sector
  • Reducing grievances and litigation

 

Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty

In November 2017, the Commission hosted two major conferences, convening almost 300 attendees to discuss the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty, and the ways in which public bodies can begin to implement it into their work.

Core steps to implementing the Duty (Assess, Address, Report)

Section 42 also sets out three core steps to be taken by public bodies.

Assess – Strategic Planning

In preparing strategic plans, public sector bodies must assess and identify the human rights and equality issues that are relevant to their functions. These issues must relate to all of its functions as policy maker, employer and service provider.

Address – Policies and Practices

Public bodies must then identify the policies and practices that they have in place or that they plan to put in place to address these issues.

Report

Finally, in their annual reports, or equivalent documents, public bodies must report in a manner accessible to the public on their developments and achievement in that regard.

Resources

Read this information leaflet outlining some steps a public body can take to bring a human rights and equality focus to their work.

Leagtar amach sa bhileog eolais seo roinnt céimeanna ar féidir le comhlachtaí poiblí a ghlacadh chun cúrsaí chearta daonna agus comhionannais a chur san áireamh ina gcuid oibre.

 

 

Following two major conferences on the duty, the Commission compiled the insights provided by keynote speakers and the ideas and learnings shared at the various workshops into this conference report.

 

 

 

The Commission is currently developing a set of guidance materials in conjunction with public bodies and other experts which will offer detailed information on implementing the duty. The Commission is available to support and advise organisations on the implementation of their duty and can be contacted on 01 8589601 or at info@ihrec.ie.

Events

Here you’ll find information about previous and upcoming events related to the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.

November 2017 events:

Implementing the Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty

Resources

These are some tools that may help build capacity for human rights and equality in your organisation:

Delivering Equality in Public Services: An Introduction for Front-line Staff (e-learning course)

This e-learning course is designed to provide front line staff with an introduction to equality law in service delivery. It is a practical resource to help make equality real in the day-to-day workings of the public service. The course is approx 40 minutes duration and is free to access.

Delivering Equality in Public Services: An Introduction for Front-line Staff

 

Other Resources

Resources on Understanding Human Rights and Equality

Resources and Tools for Human Rights and Equality Assessment

Resources and Tools on Human Rights and Equality Policies and Action Plans

Case Studies