Public bodies like the police and schools will not be forced to meet centralised targets for homosexual, transsexual and religious equality, the Government says.
Instead, public sector organisations will be allowed to decide for themselves how best to implement the new equality duty rushed into law by the previous Government.
The Government Equalities Office says the move marks an end to top down targets and box ticking bureaucracy, making public bodies accountable to the taxpayer rather than faceless Government officials.
The change was announced yesterday by Lib Dem junior equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone. A Government Equalities Office spokesman told the PinkNews website that the changes were “not a let-off” for public bodies.
A consultation on the public sector equality duty has been launched, running until 10 November. The equality duty is scheduled to come into force in April 2011.
Lynne Featherstone said: “To really make this work we need to know what you think, so please visit the Government Equalities Office website and have your say on the proposals.”
The public sector equality duty is part of the Equality Act 2010 rushed through Parliament by the previous Labour Government. The Act was backed by the Tories and the Lib Dems.
The Equality Act will place a duty on public bodies – like schools, hospitals and the police – to promote homosexual and transsexual ‘rights’.
The duty to promote ‘religious equality’ may be seized upon by secularists to justify squeezing Christianity out of public life.
When the Bill was going through Parliament the Labour Government used it in an attempt to narrow a church’s right to require its staff to live in accordance with the Bible’s teaching on sexual behaviour. But this proposal was defeated in the Lords.