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About the P&I Team Briefings Home | Responses | PFI Index | Policy Guide
Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 briefing 33

May 2002

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 exemptions.
  • 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'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.

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 with employers*.
  • 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 reflect the

ethnic composition of the geographic area from which employees are drawn).

  • Review equal opportunity policies with your employer regularly.
  • 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 encourages diversity.

*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 background

A White


Other British:



Other, please state ___________


Any other White background please state ___________


B Mixed

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 ______



Top of page


Commission for Racial Equality

Executive's Proposals on new race relations measures

UNISON Scotland's Black Members Committee:

UNISON Black Members:

Contacts list:

Eileen Dinning -

Dave Watson -

@ The P&I Team 14 West Campbell St Glasgow G26RX Tel 0845 355 0845 Fax 0141-307 2572