Local Government: Equality

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 22nd March 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government how someone in England with at least one protected characteristic who considers that their local authority is in breach of its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 can escalate a complaint once the local authority complaints process has been exhausted.

Photo of Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about the equalities duties of local authorities.

Photo of Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what organisations or persons have a duty to enforce the equalities obligations of local authorities towards persons with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

Photo of Lord Greenhalgh Lord Greenhalgh Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), The Minister of State, Home Department

It is the role of each local authority’s Monitoring Officer to report to the local authority where it appears to them the authority has done, or is about to do, anything which would contravene the law - including contravention of its duties under the Equality Act 2010 - or would amount to maladministration, at all times.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is charged by Parliament with the investigation of complaints from members of the public who have suffered personal injustice arising from maladministration by local authorities, including injustice arising from failure to uphold the local authority’s obligations under the Equality Act 2010, once an authority’s formal complaints process has been exhausted. Information regarding how to raise a complaint with the Ombudsman and the types of faults the Ombudsman will investigate may be found on its website at; www.lgo.org.uk.

The Ombudsman is independent in matters relating to the investigation and reporting of complaints. Decisions are published on the Ombudsman’s website as well as thematic focus reports to highlight common or systemic concerns.

Where the Ombudsman finds no maladministration or cannot investigate, a member of the public who disagrees with the decision of their local authority may seek judicial review of the local authority’s decision through the courts. I would however advise anyone considering taking legal action to seek independent legal advice before doing so.

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