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Session 2008 - 09
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General Committee Debates
Equality Bill

Equality Bill

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairmen: Mr. Joe Benton, Ann Winterton
Baird, Vera (Solicitor-General)
Baron, Mr. John (Billericay) (Con)
Boswell, Mr. Tim (Daventry) (Con)
Brown, Lyn (West Ham) (Lab)
Eagle, Maria (Parliamentary Secretary, Government Equalities Office)
Featherstone, Lynne (Hornsey and Wood Green) (LD)
Griffith, Nia (Llanelli) (Lab)
Harper, Mr. Mark (Forest of Dean) (Con)
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford, West and Abingdon) (LD)
Hesford, Stephen (Wirral, West) (Lab)
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon (Gateshead, East and Washington, West) (Lab)
Howell, John (Henley) (Con)
Keeley, Barbara (Worsley) (Lab)
Kidney, Mr. David (Stafford) (Lab)
Mason, John (Glasgow, East) (SNP)
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) (Lab)
Penrose, John (Weston-super-Mare) (Con)
Sheridan, Jim (Paisley and Renfrewshire, North) (Lab)
Alan Sandall, Eliot Wilson, Committee Clerks
† attended the Committee


Sarah Spencer CBE, Chair, Equality and Diversity Forum
John Wadham, Group Director, Legal, Equality and Human Rights Commission
Kevin Sadler, Chief Executive, Employment Tribunals Service
Andrew Harrop, Head of Policy, Help the Aged/Age Concern
Mike Lindsay, National Co-ordinator, Children’s Rights Alliance
Ruth Scott, Policy Group Member, Disability Charities Consortium
Caroline Gooding, Specialist Adviser, RADAR
Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive, Carers UK

Public Bill Committee

Tuesday 2 June 2009


[Mr. Joe Benton in the Chair]

Equality Bill

10.30 am
The Chairman: Before we begin, I have a few preliminary announcements to make. The Programming Sub-Committee met earlier this morning and agreed a revised resolution. Copies of the new resolution are available in the room. Members may, if they wish, remove their jackets during Committee sittings. Please ensure that mobile phones and pagers are turned off or switched to silent mode. I remind the Committee that there is a money resolution in connection with the Bill, copies of which are available in the room.
Adequate notice of amendments must be given. To be eligible for selection at a Tuesday sitting, amendments must be tabled by the rise of the House on the previous Thursday. For a Thursday sitting, amendments must be tabled by the previous Monday, as a general rule. I and my fellow Chairman do not intend to call starred amendments.
Not everyone is familiar with the process of taking oral evidence in Public Bill Committees. It might help if I briefly explain how we will proceed. The Committee will first be asked to consider the programme motion on the amendment paper, for which debate is limited to half an hour. We will then proceed to consider a motion to report written evidence, and then a motion to permit the Committee to deliberate in private in advance of the oral evidence sessions, which I hope we can take formally.
Assuming that the second motion is agreed to, the Committee will move into private session. Once the Committee has deliberated, witnesses and members of the public will be invited back into the room and our oral evidence session will commence. That will be at about 11 o’clock. If the Committee agrees to the programme motion, oral evidence will be taken today and next Tuesday, and the Committee will revert to the more familiar proceedings of clause by clause scrutiny next Thursday.
I call the Minister to move the programme motion. I remind the Committee that the text of the motion is printed on a separate paper.
The Solicitor-General (Vera Baird): I beg to move,
(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday 2 June) meet—
(a) at 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 2 June;
(b) at 10.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 9 June;
(c) at 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 11 June;
(d) at 10.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 16 June;
(e) at 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 18 June;
(f) at 10.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 23 June;
(g) at 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 25 June;
(h) at 10.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 30 June;
(i) at 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 2 July;
(j) at 10.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 7 July;
(2) the Committee shall hear oral evidence in accordance with the following Table—
Tuesday 2 June
Until no later than 12 noon
Equality and Diversity Forum
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Tribunals Service
Tuesday 2 June
Until no later than 1.00 pm.
Help the Aged and Age Concern
Children’s Rights Alliance
Disability Charities Consortium
Carers UK
Tuesday 2 June
Until no later than 5.00 pm.
Press for Change
Runnymede Trust
Race on the Agenda
Tuesday 2 June
Until no later than 6.00 pm.
Fawcett Society
Women’s National Commission
Women Like Us
Tuesday 9 June
Until no later than 11.30 am.
British Humanist Association
General Synod of the Church of England
Catholic Bishops Conference
Tuesday 9 June
Until no later than 12.30 pm.
Confederation of British Industry
Association of British Insurers
Federation of Small Businesses
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Trades Union Congress
Tuesday 9 June
Until no later than 6.00 pm.
Government Equalities Office
(3) proceedings on consideration of the Bill in Committee shall be taken in the following order: Clauses 1 to 6; Schedule 1; Clauses 7 to 29; Schedules 2 and 3; Clauses 30 to 35; Schedules 4 and 5; Clauses 36 to 49; Schedule 6; Clauses 50 to 75; Schedule 7; Clauses 76 to 78; Schedules 8 and 9; Clauses 79 to 83; Schedule 10; Clause 84; Schedule 11; Clauses 85 to 89; Schedule 12; Clauses 90 to 93; Schedule 13; Clause 94; Schedule 14; Clauses 95 to 101; Schedules 15 and 16; Clauses 102 to 110; Schedule 17; Clauses 111 to 143; Schedule 18; Clause 144; Schedule 19; Clauses 145 to 179; Schedule 20; Clauses 180 to 182; Schedule 21; Clauses 183 and 184; Schedule 22; Clauses 185 to 189; Schedule 23; Clauses 190 and 191; Schedule 24; Clauses 192 and 193; Schedule 25; Clauses 194 to 198; Schedules 26 and 27; Clauses 199 to 201; Schedule 28; Clauses 202 to 205; new Clauses; new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill;
(4) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesday 7 July.
Thank you for those helpful guidelines, Mr. Benton, and I look forward to serving under your chairmanship during the oral evidence sessions, and under the chairmanship of your co-Chairman, Lady Winterton. I welcome every member of the Committee to our proceedings. The Bill is excellent, but it will undoubtedly benefit from the input of the public, who are to give evidence to us, and from the scrutiny in which we shall engage. The original programme motion was tabled following the resolution agreed by the Programming Sub-Committee on Tuesday 19 May.
Question put and agreed to.
That, subject to the discretion of the Chairman, any written evidence received by the Committee shall be reported to the House for publication.
Written evidence to be reported to the House
E01 Disability Charities Consortium
E02 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
E03 Alliance for Inclusive Education
E05 Accord
E06 Friends, Families and Travellers
E07 Age Concern and Help the Aged
E08 Young Equals
E09 Equality and Diversity Forum
E10 Equal Rights Trust
E12 Discrimination Law Association
E13 British Humanist Association
E14 Catholic Bishops Conference
E15 End Violence Against Women
E16 Support Transgenre Strasbourg
E17 Equality and Human Rights Commission
E18 Equality and Human Rights Commission Disability Committee
E19 Finance and Leasing Association
E20 Anonymous
E21 Gender Identity Research and Education Society
E23 Carers UK
E24 Disability Charities Consortium additional memorandum
That, at this and any subsequent meeting at which oral evidence is to be heard, the Committee shall sit in private until the witnesses are admitted.
10.37 am
The Committee deliberated in private.
10. 53 am
On resuming—
The Chairman: We will now hear oral evidence from the Equality and Diversity Forum, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Tribunals Service. Welcome to our three witnesses and thank you very much for coming. Will you start by introducing yourselves to the Committee?
Sarah Spencer: I am Sarah Spencer. I am chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum, a network of national, third-sector organisations that work across the equality spectrum—from age, disability and gender through to race, religion, belief and sexual orientation issues.
John Wadham: Hello, I am John Wadham. I run the legal department at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Kevin Sadler: Good morning, I am Kevin Sadler. I am chief executive of the Tribunals Service, which is an agency of the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for providing administrative support to employment tribunals.
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