MIL-OSI UK: Legal experts questioned on non-disclosure agreements

Source: British Parliament News

21 January 2019
The Women and Equalities Committee holds the third evidence session as part of its inquiry into the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in discrimination cases.

Purpose of the session
The Committee will question legal experts with direct experience of dealing with employee discrimination complaints, and with knowledge of how NDAs are used in such cases.
Areas likely to be covered include:
how NDAs are used when settling discrimination cases and why they are so widely used in this way
accessibility of good legal advice on individual NDAs
the role of lawyers in preventing misuse of NDAs
whether the use of NDAs should be banned or restricted to prevent misuse
what safeguards and systems could be implemented to prevent misuse.
Witnesses
Wednesday 23 January 2019, Committee room 8, Palace of Westminster.
At 9.50am
Kiran Daurka, Discrimination Law Association, and Partner, Leigh Day
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC, Director, International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
Jane Mann, Partner and Head of Employment Group, Fox Williams LLP
Julie Morris, Employment Solicitor and Head of Personal Legal Services, Slater and Gordon
Further information
Image: PC

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MIL-OSI UK: Equality and Human Rights Commission’s policies examined

Source: British Parliament News

15 January 2019
The Women and Equalities Committee continues its inquiry examining the enforcement of the Equality Act. The Committee has heard, over several inquiries, that individuals have difficulties in enforcing their rights under the Act.

Purpose of the session
This session will examine the role and effectiveness of the EHRC in the use of its enforcement powers. In particular:
The legal and policy framework for EHRC enforcement action
The EHRC’s policies on enforcement
The EHRC’s use of its powers in practice.
Witnesses
Wednesday 16 January 2018, Grimond room, Portcullis House. At 9.50am:
Niall Crowley, Independent equality and human rights expert
Barbara Cohen, Independent discrimination law consultant
Mike Smith, CEO of REAL
Nick Webster, Solicitor at Leigh Day
Further information
Image: PC

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MIL-OSI UK: Ministers questioned on inequalities faced by Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities

Source: British House of Commons News

08 January 2019
The Women and Equalities Committee questions ministers from three Government Departments about the inequalities experienced by Gypsy Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities. This is the final evidence session of the inquiry.

Purpose of the session
Areas likely to be covered include:
Who holds responsibility for various aspects of Gypsy Roma and Traveller welfare
Whether the ministerial working group commitments in 2012 are still relevant in ministerial thinking
Whether there is any joined-up strategising across departments to try to tackle inequalities, especially in light of the Race Disparity Audit
Whether changes in policy in various areas have been have been having any significant impact on the lives of Gypsy Roma and Traveller people
How data collection can be improved and what ministers plan to do to implement necessary changes.
Witnesses
Wednesday 9 January, Room 6, Palace of Westminster.
At 09.50am:
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department of Health)
Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Education)
Further information

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MIL-OSI UK: Women in Parliament: new report highlights progress and recommends new measures

Source: British Parliament News

20 December 2018
A new UK Gender-Sensitive Parliament Audit, carried out by members and staff of both Houses of Parliament, was published on Thursday 20 December 2018. It finds that steady progress has been made in increasing the representation of women in both Houses, but there are still barriers to women standing as MPs or putting themselves forward to the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

The audit found that the percentage of female MPs has risen from 18.2% to 32% since 1997 while the percentage of women in the House of Lords has increased from 7.1% to 26.1% in the same period.
The audit was carried out by a panel consisting of four MPs, four members of the House of Lords, and two staff members from each House. The panel identified four barriers that may make it harder for women to become MPs or members of the Lords: 
The culture of Parliament, as highlighted in recent reports of bullying and harassment, and sexual harassment;
Online threats and threats to physical security, in particular gender-based intimidation, harassment and violence against female parliamentarians and female candidates;
The challenges that working in Parliament poses for family life, including the unpredictability of business and potentially long hours;
The financial impact of standing for Parliament.
The report sets out recommendations for addressing these challenges.
On the culture of Parliament, the panel supports concrete action in response to Dame Laura Cox’s report on the bullying and harassment of House of Commons staff and forthcoming reports on the experiences of Lords’ staff, members’ staff and members. The panel’s report highlights the growing menace of online and physical threats to parliamentary candidates, and in particular the gendered nature of the abuse aimed at women candidates. It expresses concern that this could make it harder to achieve a better gender balance in Parliament. The panel therefore calls for the parliamentary authorities to take steps to ensure that MPs, members of the House of Lords and all staff are aware of the support available from their local police and the Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team to address abuse and threats via social media. On the difficulties many face in balancing parliamentary work with having a family life, the panel recommends that the Commons and the Lords conduct a review of how efficiently the Houses are managing their business and whether there can be more predictable sitting hours and voting times. They also support moves to allow proxy voting for parliamentarians on parental leave and developing a parliamentary policy on children and families, including provision for childcare for children of different ages. On the financial impact of standing for Parliament, while the issue is not directly within Parliament’s power to address, the panel supports the Government’s efforts to reduce financial barriers for disabled persons via the Access to Elected Office Fund and recommends that the scheme should be extended beyond the summer of 2019.
The report has been welcomed by the House of Commons and House of Lords Commissions. Responding to the report Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker and Chair of the House of Lords Commission, said:

“As Chairman of the House of Lords Commission, I welcome the excellent and in-depth UK Gender-Sensitive Parliament Audit report, which has been published today, and its finding that steady progress has been made in increasing the representation of women in both Houses of Parliament.
In the Lords, there are currently 209 female Members including the Leader of the House of Lords and the Leader of the Opposition. And in the first time in over 650 years, we have a female Black Rod. We are making progress, but we still have work to do. 
This audit is the first of this kind to be undertaken by the UK Parliament and reflects that, like many organisations, there are a variety of steps that Parliament might now wish to take to build on our successes and tackle the barriers that remain for women who wish to enter or remain in Parliament, as members, or as staff of the two Houses.
Doing so will require sustained commitment by both Houses, the political parties, and Government. By commissioning the audit, both the House of Lords and House of Commons Commissions have indicated that they are committed to that sustained effort.
In the New Year, both Commissions will consider an action plan in response to the Gender-Sensitive Parliament Audit report’s recommendations and conclusions which will be published in the spring.”

The House of Commons Commission issued the following statement in response to the report:

“We welcome the UK Gender-Sensitive Parliament Audit report, which has been published today, and its finding that steady progress has been made in increasing the representation of women in both Houses of Parliament.
We are firmly committed to ensuring that Parliament represents the people of the UK to the best of its ability, and this self-assessment offers insight into how we are doing, and what more we can do, in terms of gender. The Gender-Sensitive Parliament Audit Panel has made a number of recommendations about how we can build on our successes and tackle the barriers that remain for women who wish to enter or remain in Parliament, as members, or as staff of the two Houses.”

Further Information
Image credit: Parliamentary copyright

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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates Islamophobia in the UK

Source: British Parliament News

19 December 2018
Members of the Lords, including the chair of the National Commission on Muslim Women and the former deputy chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, will debate the impact of Islamophobia in the United Kingdom, in the House of Lords on Thursday 20 December.

This is a balloted debate. They normally take place on a Thursday in the chamber. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Lord Sheikh (Conservative), vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community.
Members expected to take part include:
Baroness Afshar (Crossbench), chair of the Communication Committee at the British Muslim Research Centre
Baroness Burt of Solihull (Liberal Democrat), former shadow Secretary of State for Equalities
Lord Parekh (Labour), former deputy chair of the Commission for Racial Equality
Baroness Uddin (Non-affiliated), chair of the National Commission on Muslim Women
Baroness Warsi (Conservative), treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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MIL-OSI UK: The use of non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases examined

Source: British Parliament News

18 December 2018
The Women and Equalities Committee holds the first two sessions as part of its inquiry into the use of non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases.

The sessions will be held on Wednesday 19 December 2018.
First session
MPs question individuals who have experience of dealing directly with employees with discrimination complaints and knowledge of how NDAs are used in such cases.
The session will focus on:
how NDAs are used in discrimination cases and whether they are more likely to be used with particular types of discrimination
access to legal advice on NDAs and the role of lawyers in negotiating agreements
the effect of NDA use on individual employees and workplace culture more widely
whether the use of NDAs should be banned or restricted to prevent misuse
whether safeguards and systems could be implemented to prevent misuse.
Witnesses
Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster.
At 09.30am
Rosalind Bragg, Director, Maternity Action
Seamus Dooley, Assistant General Secretary, National Union of Journalists
Joeli Brearley, Founder, Pregnant Then Screwed
Emma Webster, Joint CEO and Senior Solicitor, Your Employment Settlement
Second session
The Committee examines recent changes in California, where new laws to restrict the use of NDAs in sexual harassment and sex discrimination cases are coming into force.
Areas of questioning include:
operation of the new laws
public debate around the changes
operation of the legal system in California
restrictions on the use of NDAs elsewhere in the United States.
Witness (appearing via video link)
Grimond Room, Portcullis House.
At 2.30pm
Peter Rukin, Partner at Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP
Further information
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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates impact of sport, recreation and the arts on society

Source: British Parliament News

18 December 2018
Members of the Lords, including the former director of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will debate how sport, recreation and the arts contribute to the wellbeing of society, in the House of Lords on Wednesday 19 December.

This is a general debate. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Lord Moynihan (Conservative), former director of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Members expected to take part include:
Lord Addington (Liberal Democrat), vice president of the UK Sports Assocation
Baroness Bull (Crossbench), member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council
Lord Howarth of Newport (Labour), president of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance
Baroness Sater (Conservative), chair and trustee of community sports charity StreetGames UK
Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative), government whip and former Lords spokesperson in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates challenges facing young people

Source: British Parliament News

12 December 2018
Members of the Lords, including a former lecturer in youth and community work at Sunderland Polytechnic and a former health education advisor for the Inner London Education Authority, will debate the challenges facing young people, in the House of Lords on Thursday 13 December.

This is a general debate. They normally take place on a Thursday in the chamber. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top (Labour), former lecturer in youth and community work at Sunderland Polytechnic.
Members expected to take part include:
Earl of Listowel (Crossbench), board member and trustee of the Child and Family Practice Charitable Foundation
Baroness Massey of Darwen (Labour), former health education advisor for the Inner London Education Authority
Lord Norton of Louth (Conservative), ambassador for the Albert Kennedy Trust support organisation for homeless LGBT+ young people
Lord Storey (Liberal Democrat), former primary school head teacher and co-chair of the Liberal Democrat PPC on Education, Families and Young People
Lord Agnew of Oulton (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Education, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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