The Commission´s public policy work is aimed at influencing how the public sector and government deliver its functions and services to ensure equality of opportunity and good relations are recognised as relevant, integral to the development process, and the outcomes and end results are the best possible solutions/services for all.
The work we do arises from the Commission´s statutory functions to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity, and, in the case of the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997, to promote goood relations between persons of different racial groups.
Our remit covers discrimination on grounds of age, disability, religion or political opinion (FETO), sex, race and sexual orientation. At the moment, the legislation in these areas applies to both employment and the wider area of goods, facilities and services, with the exception of age, where it is limited to the employment field. In concert with our colleagues from other parts of the Commission, we are working to promote the development of a Single Equality Act for Northern Ireland which we believe should "harmonise up" all of the statutes to the highest level of protection currently available. This would simplify the legislation for employers, employees, service users and providers alike, creating a level playing field for all people.
The work we do is determined by our corporate and business plans, setting priorities where we want to effect change. These priorities will vary year by year and are driven by evidence of where the discrimination problems in society lie. For example, the gender pay gap is an area where the Commission continues to work to effect change as Department for Social Development statistics show that for the year 2004/2005, women’s average earnings were 65% of men’s average earnings. While the policy agenda changes and develops there will continue to be "perennial" problems that the Commission will prioritise where necessary.
The links on the left side of this page will take to you to the work we are doing in relation to particular policy areas. Updates on current projects will be provided when these are available. If you have an interest in a particular area of our work, please check back with this site regularly to see developments.