Inclusion Ireland, the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability, today (15/08/2017) launched their Pre-Budget 2018 campaign and the advocacy organisation is taking the opportunity to encourage ministers to ensure that their departments are acting in accordance with the equality and human rights public sector duty.
This public sector duty requires public bodies to take proactive steps to actively promote equality, protect human rights and combat discrimination, and is provided for under Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, 2014.
Sarah Lennon, Campaigns and Policy Lead, said, “Inclusion Ireland would encourage ministers to ensure that all decisions made for Budget 2018 are in line with this public sector duty by being proactive in promoting equality, ensuring human rights are realised and are eliminating discrimination.”
“What this can look like in practice, is making sure that the cost of disability is calculated to take account of the additional costs involved in having a disability, all public information is available in accessible formats, transport is accessible, class sizes are lower and a coordinated advocacy service is in operation. These are all measures that lend themselves to greater equality.”
The Programme for a Partnership Government committed to developing a process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights. This ensures that institutional arrangements are in place to support equality and gender proofing.
The establishment of an independent parliamentary budget office (IPBO) is one key aspect of equality proofing and providing institutional reforms. The IPBO would equip all parliamentarians to engage more effectively on budgetary matters, including issues regarding taxation, expenditure and performance, as well as policy costings.
Sarah Lennon said, “The recent appointment of a director of the IPBO is an important first step but further progress must be made in Budget 2018. The publication of a clear and meaningful equality statement in Budget 2018 would be a concrete, interim step before the IPBO commences equality proofing in Budget 2019.”
“It is important that there is a whole of government commitment to equality proofing. All government departments should have the knowledge and skills necessary to equality proof policy proposals in their relevant departments, with monitoring and oversight provided by the IPBO and the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight.”
“Equality proofing is not just about ensuring that budgetary decisions don’t impact more negatively on one social group or another. Each department has a broader duty to develop policies that support rights and promote equality, ensuring that expenditure is inclusion focussed. Equality proofing should be embedded into the budgetary process.”
Inclusion Ireland is the national association for people with an intellectual disability. The advocacy organisation provides a central forum for its members to identify priorities and formulate nationally agreed policies to present to government, statutory bodies, other relevant groups as well as the general public. Inclusion Ireland campaigns for changes in services and legislation that will improve the quality of life and participation of people with an intellectual disability in Irish society. The association also provides an information and advice service to people with an intellectual disability, their families, services that support people with an intellectual disability, students and researchers.
To find more info on Inclusion Ireland’s Pre-Budget 2018 campaign and submissions, visit: http://www.inclusionireland.ie/Budget2018
Public Sector Duty
Section 2 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 defines a public body broadly to include; government departments, local authorities, the Health Service Executive, universities and institutes of technologies, education and training boards, most schools, semi-state bodies, all bodies financed with public money (even partially), including companies whose majority of shares is held by government, or organisations that acts in the public interest. Therefore the Public Sector Duty applies whether the service is provided directly by the State, or through a non-state actor. The State subcontracts a range of its functions and services, for example in the areas of care, welfare, and health to non-state actors.
Inclusion Ireland and the public sector duty
Inclusion Ireland has endeavoured to promote the implementation of the public sector duty through its work. The association decided to serve as an example by applying the public sector duty within Inclusion Ireland’s strategic planning process. To this end, the organisation prepared an equality and human rights statement. This is available at: http://www.inclusionireland.ie/sites/default/files/attach/book-page/508/inclusion-ireland-equality-human-rights-statement.pdf
Nyle Lennon, Communications Officer, 01 855 9891