Investigations into public bodies’ non-compliance with their equality schemes (Section 75 investigations)
The Equality Commission has powers (under paragraph 10 and 11 of Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act) to investigate complaints that public authorities have failed to comply with their equality schemes from people who are directly affected by such failure, and we can also initiate such investigations.
A person can complain to a public authority that it has failed to comply with what it committed to do in its Equality Scheme. If the public authority’s response to the complaint is not satisfactory, then the complaint can be brought to the Commission, asking us to investigate it. We receive complaints alleging that a public authority has, for example, failed to assess the equality implications of an existing or a new/proposed policy. (see also paragraph 1.13 of the Procedures for other examples).
Completed investigations are presented in an Investigation Report, which will set out whether the alleged failure to comply with the equality scheme has been established, and any recommendations for the public authority.
Procedure for Complaints and Investigations
The Commission has Procedures for Complaints and Investigations (pdf) under Paragraphs 10 and 11 of Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
The Procedures were revised during 2019, the process undertaken for reviewing and revising the Procedures is set out in the Commission’s Consultation Report (pdf).
For further information and advice on complaints alleging that a public authority may have failed to comply with its equality scheme, or investigations, please contact the Investigations Team by email: InvestigationsTeams@equalityni.org