Monday, November 7, 2011

Public consultation for Human Rights and Equality Commission

Once again, a ‘public consultation process’ has been advertised.   This time, the Department of Justice and Equality (in Ireland) would like to know what you think the most recent quango – the Human Rights and Equality Commission (HREC) – should do.  The HREC is an amalgamation of the former Irish Human Rights Commission, and the Equality Authority, and what the Working Group set up to establish the new body wishes to know is (a) what you want the new body to do; (b) what features and functions does it need to do these things; and (c) how should it be structured and what working methods should it use to achieve the above.
The Working Group is made up of members of the former Irish Human Rights Commission (4), the former Equality Authority (4), a representative of the Department of Justice and Equality, and the Special Adviser to the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The first stated purpose of the Working Group is ‘to identify best practice in each organisation and the structure and process through which the HREC can ensure respect for human rights, equality, diversity and the freedom and dignity of the individual and the practices in each organisation, if any, that require change and the recommended changes.’

It is interesting to read the final note in the list of purposes of the Working Group:
‘To advise on the best form of enquiry powers, and, in particular, to consider whether adopting the model used for Cloyne might be more effective than the current enquiry power.’
What’s going on here?

Further information may be obtained from the Secretariat of the Working Group, Department of Justice and Equality, Floor 2, Bishop’s Square, Redmond’s Hill, Dublin 2.
It is important that anyone who is in a position to do so should send in a submission (not more than 1,500 words) – email to, or post to the address given above – before 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 23 November 2011.