Although the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is widening the scheme which places equality and diversity requirements on its suppliers, ‘age’ is not going to be one of the diversity strands covered – at least for the time being.

The initial Race Equality Procurement Pilots were introduced in 2006 to encourage procurers in three government departments/agencies: the DWP, the Department for Children Schools and Families, and the Identity and Passport Service ) to achieve better race equality outcomes when procuring services. The pilots introduced new diversity and equality requirements in contracts with suppliers, specifically to have a policy in place and monitor their employment of ethnic minorities.

Research on the pilots by the Institute for Employment Studies has just been published. It found that the requirement did not cause suppliers any major difficulties.  Suppliers were aware of the requirements and did not appear to have any major difficulties in meeting them. The main impact on suppliers was that some of them had reviewed and updated their equal opportunities policies and the DWP has put systems in place to monitor compliance with the requirements.

Following on from the Procurement Pilot’s success, the DWP is introducing an equality requirement for the monitoring of ethnic minorities, disability, and sex into all its contracts but the other equality strands, including age, are not being included at the moment.

However, if the Equality Bill, which includes an extension of this so-called ‘public duty’, completes its passage through Parliament and receives royal assent before the general election then age and the other strands will have to be added.

Article by TAEN