What is it?
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 widens and
strengthens the anti-discriminatory provisions of the 1976 Race
Relations Act (RRA1976). It also adds a new enforceable duty on
key public bodies to promote race equality. The Act fulfils a
recommendation made by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report, and
goes further extending coverage of the RRA 1976 to the functions
of public authorities in general.
What does the 2000 Act do?
Outlaws discrimination (direct, indirect
and victimisation) in public authority functions not covered
by the 1976 Act and provides remedies.
Defines "public authority"
widely as in the Human Rights Act, for the purpose of outlawing
discrimination, so that it includes public functions carried
out by private sector organisations, and has only limited
Places a general duty on specified
public authorities to work towards the elimination of unlawful
discrim-ination, and to promote equality.
Empowers the Home Secretary to extend this
list of public bodies and include other bodies exercising
public functions that are subject to the Act.
Empowers the Scottish Executive (Home Secretary
in England/Wales) to impose specific duties on some/all
public authorities on the general duty to promote race equality.
Gives the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)
powers to enforce the specific duties to be imposed
on public authorities.
Gives the CRE powers to issue Codes of
Practice to provide guidance on the Act.
Allows race discrimination cases brought against
education bodies to go directly to a sheriff or county court,
without a 2 month "cooling off" period.
Makes chief officers of police vicariously
liable for acts of discrimination carried out by their
officers – costs or expenses awarded as a result of a claim
to be paid by the police authority.
Removes the powers for a Minister to issue
conclusive certificates that racial discrimination was done
for the purposes of national security and so was not unlawful.
Specific duties for Scotland
On 12 March 2002 the Social Justice Minister announced
a range of specific duties to promote race equality for public
bodies to comply with. Most bodies will have to produce a comprehensive
Race Equality Strategy by 30 November 2002. This has to ensure
that detailed policies, services and employment practices address
the needs of all Scotland's communities, whatever their race,
colour or origin.
One of the new key duties is to improve access to
information and services for people from minority ethnic communities.
The Scottish Forum on Translating, Interpreting and Communication
has set out some core service standards on translation/communication
for local authorities. The guidelines are set out at:
UNISON has consistently pressed employers to recognise
and challenge racism in the workplace. UNISON is working with
employers to develop a clear strategy and programme of work to
implement their new duties. We are calling for the law to be extended
to include private companies.
In 2001 a UNISON commissioned UK-wide survey by
Labour Research Department revealed that:
Black and minority ethnic people are still
under-represented in the workplace.
Employers claimed to have equal opportunities
policies, but these did not translate into practice.
Employers did not necessarily review equalities
policies or set targets to deal with the under-representation
of black / minority ethnic workers.
Many black and minority ethnic workers faced
abuse / harassment from the public.
Action for UNISON
Branches should raise the Race Relations (Amendment)
Act 2000 with employers, local authorities, health boards, NDPBs,
and water authorities.
UNISON advises branches/members to:
Agree standard categorisation for monitoring
Work with your employer to set targets for
recruitment, promotion and training together with the timetable
within which the targets should be achieved, (targets should
ethnic composition of the geographic area from
which employees are drawn).
Review equal opportunity policies with your
Ensure harassment policies cover harassment
by service users.
Work together with employers on the issue
of institutional racism*. Joint task groups can achieve
successful outcomes in terms of creating an environment that
*Ethnic Monitoring Categories for Scotland
If you operate in a Scotland only organisation /
company the CRE recommends using ethnic monitoring categories
amended slightly from the 2001 Census:
What is your ethnic group?
Choose one from A to E to indicate your cultural
Other, please state ___________
Any other White background please state ___________
Any mixed background please state _____________
C Asian, Asian Scottish, Asian English, Asian
Welsh, or other Asian British
Any other Asian background please state ____________
D Black, Black Scottish, Black English, Black
Welsh, or other Black British
Any other Black background please state ____________
E Other ethnic background
Any other background please state ______