E-mail & letter (below) to UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission about its equalities-vetting of its own commissioners ( but no reply received to-date; so who scrutinises EHRC! )

From: Hubert Taylor

Equality and Human Rights Commission
Sent: 25 November 2011 2:54 AM

Re: Commission consultation on our strategic plan for 2012-15 closes soon

Link to attached-letter: EHRC_Mahmood01.pdf dated 25November 2011

Mr Mark Hammond
Chief Executive
Equality and Human Rights Commission

Dear Mr Hammond,

Thank you for your reminder-email.

Please find attached a letter by which I raise with you the points of concern that stalled my participation in the Commission's consultation process.

Yours sincerely
Hubert Taylor


… the letter to EHRC about its equalities-vetting of its own commissioners ( to which no reply received to-date; and begs the question — Who scrutinises EHRC? )

25 November 2011

Mr Mark Hammond
Chief Executive
Equality and Human Rights Commission

Dear Mr Hammond,

Today I received a reminder regarding submissions to the Commission's strategic plan for 2012-15. The reminder moved me to write to share with the Commission, concerns which have caused me not to respond in Phase Two although I contributed in Phase One. I remain undecided upon making a Phase Two submission because from the following it can be understood that I feel my submission and that of other individuals does not matter in what appear to be a 'numbers game dominated by membership organisations' although it is individuals who primarily and generally lodge complaints of unequal treatment.

To introduce my concern I will note extracts from the Commission's two Phase  One responses.

The 'Response to phase one' —

  • "About you" includes, "23 individuals and 42 organisations … responded to the review of our Strategic Plan 2009-12 …"
  • section 4, "People told us:" includes, "Most people thought their contribution had some or little influence on the final strategy"
  • section 4, "We are:" includes, "Building on the work we have done with employer and employee groups such as trade unions, the EEF, British Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors to produce and disseminate practical advice and guidance to help embed equality and human rights principles within workplaces".

The 'Phase one response summary' —

  • "People told us we were least successful when we:" includes, "did not, in their view, succeed in influencing the UK and Scottish Governments to protect the Equality Act and the public sector duty, and by delaying the publication of our statutory Codes and non-statutory guidance".

I am party to a view that submissions by individuals is likely to have "… little influence on the final strategy" adopted by the Commission. I hope the following points will help clarify my concern.

  • the Commission includes one occurrence of the phrase "… in their view". The qualifying phrase appears to belittle or devalue opinions as to the Commission's lack of success in influencing Governments. Surely, as every submission to the consultation is a submitted opinion, the insertion of the "… in their view" phrase was as unnecessary and so highly notable.
  • The Commission refers to "Building on the work we have done with employer and employee groups …" and actually names some of the organisation involved. I note that some Commissioners are associated with the some organisations named.
    Will the Commission please say when it last examined closely, in terms of equalities issues, the composition of the hierarchy of the organisations named — for example race of membership against race of those in high office, or, the race of members of the hierarchy against the make-up of UK society generally and the owners/leaders of UK businesses.
    Indeed, all bodies so named by the Commission and organisations with which Commissioners are associated should (perhaps must) be examined by the Commission in fulfilling its proper function and to avoid possible cosy-relationship causing a blurring of effectiveness.

Please note: Briefly up until February 2000, I was a member of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and elected by West Midlands members as Regional Secretary before I was barred from membership by the FSB hierarchy. The experience led me to post an account of my experiences on the Internet at http://www.htd.freeuk.com I pursued a county court claim against the FSB regarding the manner of my removal from FSB membership. My claim was struck-out by the court by a technical defect of my Claim Form so the facts of my claim was not heard and judged. In my experience the FSB hierarchy comprised an Executive Board and a National Council at national level, and at regional and branch level, respect management committees. This note is not an attempt to raise the issues of that claim but to give weight to the and reasonable request and suggestion that in terms of its statutory role and public functions, the Commission positively vets, without fear or favour, the related standing of those individuals and organisations named and credited in reports and upon whose advice/input the Commission relies. This is just as would be the case where an individual/organisation is discredited in a Commission report.

The Commission may well deem that individual opinion as mine does not really matter particularly as only twenty-three individuals contributed to the Phase One consultation. However, it seems to me that such a decision could be a mistake as an alternative view might be that the twenty-three individuals provide a measure to give balance to the forty-two organisations said to represent over six million members. Such statistical or other normalising being essential since it cannot be taken that every member supports the view presented by their organisation and its representation to the Commission, and in fact, it is generally an individual who raises complaint often without member-organisation support.

Yours faithfully,

[ sent by email ]

Hubert Taylor
[Birmingham, UK]




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