The proposals aim to meet the challenges posed by reduced resources, including the Government’s decision that the Commission will no longer provide a helpline function and the need to deliver the Commission’s three year strategic plan which was laid before parliament in April this year. They also reflect the changing economic, financial and social context in which the Commission works.
The proposals in the consultation build on the way in which the Commission has delivered its most successful projects, such as its inquiry into home care for older people, its assessment of the 2010 spending review and its work on stop and search. They also build on the progress which the organisation has made in improving the standard of its management.
They involve becoming an organisation which delivers on its mandate to parliament to promote equality and human rights, by making best use of intelligence, prioritising its work more effectively and then works more closely with other organisations to deliver projects.
In practical terms, in order to lower its costs the Commission will reduce from its current size of 257 posts, excluding helpline staff , to around 150 posts .
The Commission will also seek to reduce costs by operating from fewer offices. It will maintain its offices in Glasgow and Cardiff, and for at least the next 18 months in London and Manchester. Over time it expects that flexible working and better use of technology will enable it to operate from single location in England, most likely on the outskirts of London, as well as in Scotland and Wales.
Chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Mark Hammond said:
“The proposals we are outlining today secure the Commission’s future at time of financial pressure. They will allow us to continue to deliver a valuable public service through our role as the national expert on equality and human rights and the guardian of the standards set by parliament.
“We remain wholly committed to the future of the Commission. But to deliver our mandate from parliament we have to plan for the reduced resources which we, along with many others will have in the future. That means being focused in what we do, working more closely with others, and achieving further savings in our own spending in order to deliver value for tax payers.
“Whilst it is hard to lose many of our dedicated and excellent staff, we will be offering all our employees a fair and transparent chance to be part of the future commission, and providing support and help for those who have to leave us.”