Magazine article Public Finance

Commons Committee Attacks Equalities Body

Magazine article Public Finance

Commons Committee Attacks Equalities Body

Article excerpt

The troubled Equalities and Human Rights Commission has been slammed by MPs, just weeks after a parliamentary body referred its chair to the standards watchdog.

The EHRC has been beset by problems since it replaced a series of equality bodies in October 2007. Last year, chief executive Nicola Brewer quit her post and a number of commissioners resigned amid criticism of chair Trevor Phillips.

In a scathing report published on March 4, the Commons Public Accounts Committee attacked the 'flawed and inefficient' process of setting up the EHRC at a cost of almost £39m.

This included film paid out to staff who left the predecessor bodies under an early exit scheme.

The report said: 'Staff with valuable skills were allowed to leave the legacy commissions through an early exit scheme and then had to be rehired by the new commission at a cost of £338,708.'

PAC chair Edward Leigh noted that only ten directors out of the planned 25 had been appointed when the EHRC started work and its business plan had not been finalised. 'It was, to say the least, not ready for business.'

The PAC and Parliament's joint committee on human rights both launched probes into the EHRC after the National Audit Office qualified its 2006/08 accounts. …

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