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Measuring progress in Britain’s pursuit of equality and human rights protections

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman | Equality and Human Rights Commission

4 min read Partner content

The Equality and Human Rights Monitor provides decision-makers with a comprehensive analysis of Britain’s equality and human rights landscape

In November last year the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published our Equality and Human Rights Monitor 2023.

We produce this state of the nation report for Parliament every five years, as a reference document for the legal, political and social changes impacting each of the nine protected characteristics safeguarded by the Equality Act 2010.

As Britain’s equality regulator, and the human rights watchdog for England and Wales, we drew on all available data to measure the progress made over the past five years and identify where action is needed to address the inequalities that persist.

The Equality and Human Rights Monitor is intended to support evidence-based debate and decision-making by governments, public bodies and others. I urge them all to carefully consider our findings and take forward our recommendations, which focus on the targeted action they can take to help make Britain fairer.

But if we want others to act on the evidence and recommendations we present, it's essential they can find what they need with ease. We know that there is demand for our findings on specific themes – such as education, health, work and living standards – to be presented together.

That’s why the EHRC published a series of thematic fact sheets last week, in addition to the full Monitor report, which was structured by protected characteristics. Each fact sheet sets out where outcomes in that area have improved or worsened, where inequalities have persisted and where there is emerging evidence of inequality.

For those that want to dig deeper into the data, we will also launch an interactive dashboard that will enable users to review some of the data available in the Monitor report.

This data navigation tool will allow users to access the information they want in a format that best suits their needs. An interactive digital extension of the Monitor report, it will provide another source decision-makers can turn to better understand Britain’s equality and human rights landscape.

The Equality and Human Rights Monitor is intended to support evidence-based debate and decision-making by governments, public bodies and others.

As I explained when I sat down with The Rundown Podcast, the Equality and Human Monitor presents a mixed picture. This is perhaps unsurprising, given the unique challenges of recent years.

The profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of that mixed picture of welcome progress and stubborn inequalities. The increase in home working benefitted many older and disabled people, parents and those with caring responsibilities. However, it also deepened and exposed the extent of existing trends, such as the social exclusion faced by older and disabled people and the increasing number of young people reporting mental health conditions.

While the main Monitor report covers all of Great Britain, it was accompanied by reports on the state of equality and human rights in Scotland and Wales specifically. Since all three reports were published, we have been engaging stakeholders across Britain in conversations about what we found and how improvements can collectively be made.

In December, we launched our Wales report at the Senedd. This well-attended event was sponsored by Jenny Rathbone MS, a member of the Senedd Equality and Social justice committee.

We’re grateful to all those who attended and helped facilitate an impactful discussion on the equality and human rights landscape in Wales. In particular, we welcomed valuable insights from representatives of Estyn, Llais Wales, Wales TUC Cymru and the Bevan Foundation.

Late last year, we also briefed Scottish Government officials and held webinars with groups of our Scottish stakeholders, who had helped inform our research and wanted to hear more about our conclusions and recommendations.

We will continue to facilitate these discussions with key stakeholders across Britain in the weeks and months to come. Opening and supporting dialogue is crucial to achieving meaningful change based on the evidence we have gathered.

At the EHRC, we are unwavering in our commitment to safeguarding equality and human rights for everyone in Britain. The Equality and Human Rights Monitor is a comprehensive starting point for those in government, public bodies, and elsewhere to improve services and address the disparities that continue to affect people with protected characteristics.

Looking ahead to 2024 and the years that will follow, we can work together towards a fair and inclusive society in which people have equal opportunity to achieve their potential. Our next strategic plan, for the period 2025 to 2028, will build on the key lessons identified in the Monitor report, and all interested parties will be able to give their views on the EHRC’s future priorities by taking part in our public consultation later this year. 

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