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Wales Equality and Human Rights Commission email

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Release date
March 4, 2008

Download

File | Torrent | Magnet

Further information

Context
United Kingdom
Government (bureaucracy)
Disability Rights Commission
Primary language
File size in bytes
26624
File type information
Microsoft Office Document
Cryptographic identity
SHA256 9fdac42055787a6ef08fa5bf0f64bb3bb7f1e7dffdf39afd00cffb481dc65cd0
Description (as provided by our source)

March 2007

This is about the EHRC (equality and human rights commission) - or as was initially called CEHR � one mega commission for equality & human rights � but the plan for Wales seemed to be that the Welsh CEHR was to be led, directed and headed from England. Trevor Phillips had previously expressed some anxiety when asked about about greater autonomy and why it was important that it was the CEHR in Wales/Scotland , not CEHR Wales/Scotland.

This is important as I as union representative was sacked for disclosing this information, which was in the public domain in Scotland, and leaking an email to show that the directors of the DRC (disability rights commission) EOC (equal opportunities commission) and CRE (commission for racial equality) i.e. William Bee, Kate Bennett and William Bee colluded to keep information from the Welsh Assembly Government and against the interests the staff to keep in Trevor Phillips good books. Kate Bennett subsequently was appointed to top job in the new EHRC in Wales.

There had already been something like half a million spent on consultants Ernst & Young for �organisational design� but Trevor Phillips sacked them when he was appointed in Sept 2006 (took up post on 11th September) along with the CRE decision around that time to join in the new CEHR - sacked Patrick Boyle CEHR Programme Director (Chair) so who had been leading transition process for just over a year working with ministers on the preparations for the CEHR. Part of that was a significant consultation programme and they were at the end of the development phase and ready to gather all the work that has been done and use it in designing options for the CEHR - but all the discussion and progress and timetable were trashed which is why we had this last minute rush.

This email I leaked as union representative to the Welsh Assembly member Leanne Wood - PCS liaison in which Will Bee DRC (disability rights commission) director email says that he, Chris (Chris Myant, director CRE in Wales) and Kate (Kate Bennett EOICdirector wales) are reluctant still to raise these issues with Gwenda Thomas, Chair of the Assembly Equal Opps Cttee alerting her to the proposed status (or lack of) of the Wales and Scotland offices in the CEHR.

Why the need for secrecy? Chris Myant - NUJ member alerted the DRC director Will Bee that emails had been leaked from his office. Will Bee cried out across the office �how can I face Kate Bennett now!!!� He had computer experts go through all staffs computers and had a long investigation. I was sacked and won an appeal, but was fined and apologised. However a few days prior to my return to work I was told that an item had been found on a blog thought to be mine and I was to remove any mention of anything related to the incident for which I had been punished. I was subsequently ostracised on my return to work and an entry on a blog �found� and I was sacked again after a computer expert �proved� that the blog was mine.

The email from Neil Wooding says that he has had several discussions with Trevor and Nicola both privately and in full Commisison about the Welsh and Scottish question & that it is evident that this matter is as yet unformulated or resolved. This view seems overly blas� given the anxiety felt by the staff about their futures never mind the implications for Wales.

Based on the message to staff we felt here that the CEHR in Wales was being downgraded to a faded satellite with what looks like just about 20 staff for all the strands of the new CEHR - disability, race , gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and age.

Our view at the time �

At present the CRE Wales has an office in Cardiff with about 10 staff + one person in north Wales -DRC has an office in Cardiff with 15 staff + we have 2 people and an office in North Wales EOC has about 30 staff that is about 58 staff and if the new CEHR has only 20 ish that is a big reduction especially when you consider that there are new strands in the new CEHR such as sexual orientation, religion or belief, and age. Not much say for the disabled in Wales there then or women. Plus all directed and led by Wales with no regard to Wales�s growing autonomy. This all shows very little or rather NO understanding of the circumstances in Wales. Scotland and Wales are not included in this OD -taking forward work on the regional structure is obviously not seen as an urgent task. Plus of course, no commitment to having an office in North Wales.

CEHR in Wales is being downgraded. Neil Wooding commissioner for Wales thinks Wales has an innovative and leading edge approach to equalities but many would say that, by so many indicators, we lag behind England. He has been described when it comes to equalities as �always a glass half full man.�

He says that he has had several discussions with Trevor and Nicola (The CEHR Chief Executive, Nicola Brewer due to start work on 1 March) both privately and in full Commission about the Welsh and Scottish question and that it is evident that this matter is as yet unformulated or resolved. But why is it not resolved � it seems that Trevor Philips is not yet convinced there should be a directorate for Wales but staff here are being asked to make decisions about their future and decide on whether they should take early release with out knowing the size or status of the new CEHR organisation in Wales. Staff have already been required to apply for Voluntary Severance Early Release/Exit Scheme and the deadline was yesterday.

We had assurances that equality impact assessment would be undertaken on the OD, (organisational design) but I doubt that any meaningful equality impact assessments can happen at this late stage. The point of an equality impact assessment is to use it to inform decisions. If the decisions have already made, its too late.

The OD will have a direct bearing on location and size of each site, and the issue for many staff is not simply the general location �but more specifically the precise location within those cities in terms of factors such as transport links, or whether the buildings can be made DDA compliant in time. Even staff currently working in the same locality may be effectively barred from working at a new site if they cannot travel there for disability or childcare reasons, despite it being technically possible to commute there within one hour. The timetable doesn�t allow for sufficient time to ensure that a new CEHR office, for example, would be accessible for all existing staff of the commissions who want to be assimilated, for any new additional staff, and for future visitors to the CEHR. No job descriptions have been drawn up, no decisions on functions and no complete picture, with the exception of the CEHR HQ being located in Manchester, on locations


  • The Wales Equality Reference Group (WERG) members would be really annoyed if they knew that Trevor and Nicola have announced there will be no director for Wales CEHR etc. Note what they have said already which sums it up really:- These valid points have been overlooked �

Structure is a function of purpose and the organisational design will need to reflect the fact that powers are delegated to the Wales Committee under the Equality Act. These include:

? Advising central and devolved governments regarding changes in the law (Page 6, para. 11)

? Undertaking research, providing education and training, giving advice and guidance, disseminating information and carrying out joint work (Page 7, para.13)

The Commission in Wales will not only need to fulfil these legal requirements but also to meet the specific demands of Welsh devolution. These include the unique statutory duties to promote equality and the Welsh language; and the imperative to tackle the �advice desert�.

To meet these obligations the organisational design needs to incorporate the following features:

? Inclusion of the Director of CEHR Wales in the Senior Management Team to ensure input to GB decisions

? Management responsibility for all staff based in Wales to rest with the Director of CEHR Wales to ensure maximum efficiency and cohesion in the Wales team

? Staff in Wales to manage the devolved budget, staff recruitment and buildings so that the CEHR in Wales is equipped to respond flexibly to the devolved context

? A constitutional legal capacity in Wales to maximise the impact of the Assembly�s new legal powers in promoting equality; and the need for effective scrutiny of the Assembly Government

? A bilingual helpline and capacity for a transfer of expertise programme to address the advice desert in Wales

? An effective research function capable of providing Wales-specific data to underpin the work of the Commission in Wales

? Secretariat resources based in Wales to enable the Wales Commissioner and Committee to provide a strong leadership

? Adequate staff resources to develop and manage partnerships to meet the Commission�s responsibility for delivery on the ground in Wales


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