Headlines: May 13th, 1999

Powerful non-legislative levers backing up existing regulation is a better way of fighting discrimination than more regulation. This is the finding of the Better Regulation Task Force, an independent advisory body, which has been at work since September 1997. Task Force Chairman Lord Haskins said that their work has shown that making equal opportunities an Investors in People standard and including it as a feature of the Business Excellence Model would deliver a better result than more regulation. The Task Force recommendations do however include support for extending anti discrimination legislation to the public sector.

Other recommendations include a call for real progress in improving opportunities for minority groups in the civil service and the rest of the public sector. The use of public service buying power is highlighted as a way to encourage equality of opportunity amongst suppliers and contractors.

The Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the forthcoming Disability Rights Commission are urged to take a more strategic approach. Although there are no recommendations to change the three bodies the report does open the way for a merger in the future.