Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, places a positive duty on public sector bodies to have regard for the need to eliminate discrimination, promote equality, and protect Human rights, in their daily work. This is known as our ‘Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty’.
In February 2018, a working group was established within our Department to plan, drive and implement our Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty. Key Actions progressed by the group to date include:
- The implementation of a variety of ‘Public Sector Duty’ Pilot projects, across several key areas of the Department, including – the Probation Service, INIS, Civil Governance, The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration and Human Resources. The aim of these projects was to implement the Public Sector Duty to the specific functions of these divisions.
- From 2019 onwards, all governance agreements made by the Department outlines the obligation for all public bodies [i.e. the agencies] to include the Public Sector Duty in their strategic planning process and report on a regular basis on their progress. This action is a significant milestone in embedding the Public Sector Duty obligations in the Department’s governance framework.
- Most recently, the group, working with their respective divisions completed an assessment of human rights and equality issues covering multiple Divisions within the Department. The objective of these assessments is to identify the human rights and equality issues relevant to a particular division’s functions, to the services it provides, or regulates or oversees, and to its employees.
A copy of the Equality & Human Rights Assessments completed can be found here: Equality & Human Rights Assessments. This document will continue to evolve with the functions and activities of the Department, and will be invaluable in identifying and prioritising areas for action around our Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty.
In 2019, our Department will continue to take steps to embed the Public Sector values in all aspects of our work. This will include the development a Public Sector Duty statement and action plan which will be published on the Department’s website. The Public Sector Duty working group look forward to reporting on progress.