Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 Negotiators Guide116
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 widened
and strengthened the anti-discriminatory provisions of the 1976
Race Relations Act (RRA1976). It also added a new enforceable
duty on key public bodies to promote race equality. The Act fulfilled
a recommendation made by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report,
and extends coverage of the RRA 1976 to the functions of public
authorities in general.
In March 2002 the Scottish Executive approved specific
duties in order to help public authorities better meet the general
duties laid out in the Act.: All Public Authorities had to publish
a first Race Equality Scheme (RES) and education authorities a
Race Equality Policy (REP) by November 2002 and hereafter three
yearly. In July 2004 the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)
issued "minded letters" to 21 authorities which it believed
were not meeting their legal duties under the Act. The new schemes
are due in November 2005.
Branches are encouraged to become involved in reviewing
the original scheme and developing the new one. In order to ensure
that their employers are working to meet these legal requirements.
UNISON Scotland's Position
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.
What does the Act mean in your workplace?
The Act among others:
Outlawed discrimination (direct, indirect
and victimisation) in public authority functions not covered
by the 1976 Act and provided remedies.
Defined "public authority"
widely as in the Human Rights Act, for the purpose of outlawing
discrimination, so that it included public functions carried
out by private sector organisations, and has only limited
Placed a general duty on specified
public authorities to work towards the elimination of unlawful
discrimination, and to promote equality.
Empowered the Scottish Executive to impose
specific duties on some/all public authorities on the
general duty to promote race equality.
Gave the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)
powers to enforce the specific duties to be imposed
on public authorities.
Gave the CRE powers to issue Codes of Practice
to provide guidance on the Act.
Allowed race discrimination cases brought
against education bodies to go directly to a sheriff, without
a 2 month "cooling off" period.
Made 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.
Removed 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.
What is a race equality scheme (RES)?
A RES is effectively a strategy, and a timetabled
and realistic action plan. It should summarise a public authority's
approach to race equality and its corporate aims. It should also
say how the authority plans to carry out each part of the specific
duty, in other words, its arrangements for:
- Assessing, consulting on, and monitoring its functions and
policies for any adverse impact on promoting race equality;
- Publishing the results;
- Making sure the public have access to its services; and
- Training staff.
The Scheme should be:
organised around achieving results
and should include routine monitoring by ethnic
group of, amongst other things, employees and applicants for
employment training and promotion
Action for Branches
The next Race Equality Schemes are due by November
2005. These should build on the plans laid out in the 2002 schemes
reviewing progress and setting new targets. Branches are therefore
encouraged to review the old scheme as preparation for becoming
involved in developing the new schemes.
Obtain a copy of the 2002 scheme and review it.
Questions could include
Making Use of the ethnic monitoring information
This Ethnic monitoring information gathered by employers
should be publicly available. It can be useful for negotiating
or for dealing with complaints raised by members.
In terms of ethnicity it will tell you
The New Scheme
Recognised Trade Unions must be consulted
on the scheme: be prepared
Equality target groups must also be consulted:
consult with your black members
Find out who is the person responsible for
developing the RES and ensuring the scheme is put into action
Do the priorities reflect the concerns of
What targets do you think should be set
Have members received training on the Race
Relations Amendment Act itself
Protection from racial harassment.
Employers must protect staff from racial abuse at
work. This includes abuse from members of the public and other
- What policies are in place?
- How effective are they?
- Are incidents recorded and monitored
- What changes have been made following incidents?
- Do members report incidents?
- How do they feel about how managers respond to reports?
UNISON Scotland want to ensure compliance with the
Act in order to support its anti racist work. If you feel your
employer is not complying with the Act or misses the November
deadline for producing its new RES then contact Policy and Information
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