The Commission welcomes and strongly supports the focus of the PfG Framework on achieving outcomes.
Commission Response to Programme for Government Framework Consultation
The Equality Commission welcomes and strongly supports the focus of the Programme for Government (PfG) Framework on achieving outcomes. This approach has the potential to advance equality of opportunity and good relations in Northern Ireland.
We also support the emphasis to focus on the impact on people rather than solely on the actions taken within Government, the emphasis on working across Government and on full engagement and co-design with stakeholders. This approach has the potential to be transformative and to deliver tangible outcomes and the Commission looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with the Executive to advance equality of opportunity and good relations through the PfG.
We recommend that the PfG makes explicit that all relevant PfG measures (and as such all relevant indicators and all outcomes) will be tracked, not only in aggregate, but also for each of the Section 75 grounds.
Why? While the Framework includes some clear references to equality and good relations, there is a need to ensure mainstreaming of equality across the Framework as a whole.
We recommend that the Executive ensures that PfG measures are sufficient to track progress fundamental to achieving stated outcomes.
Why? In the Framework, 'measures' can be much more narrowly defined than their parent 'indicator' (or 'outcome'). For example, the 'shared space' indicator is measured only in relation to certain facilities (eg leisure centres). The PfG Framework does not therefore contain any measures on shared space more generally, or in employment, education or housing etc.
We recommend that the Department review the evidence base already gathered for the PfG through the lens of Section 75. This evidence should be set out and inform the assessment of impacts via screening and/or EQIA documentation.
Why? The work and functions of the the Executive Office, including with other Departments and Councils to deliver the PfG, are subject to the statutory equality and good relations duties - including the application of Equality Scheme commitments.
Our formal response also sets out a number of recommendations with regards to the proposed outcomes, indicators and measures.
Read our consultation response documents:
Further information about the Commission's recommendations to inform the development and delivery of the 2016-19 Programme for Government (PfG) is available online at www.equalityni.org/pfg