Actual equalities study, at last?

20 May: Just Space has responded to the document produced by the Mayor and still considers that the draft London Plan is unsound because the Public Sector Equalities Duty has not been discharged. Our submission is Just Space response to Panel Note 7.3 20 May 2019  There are no plans by the Panel for further discussion on this and we don’t yet know whether other participants have responded to Panel Note 7.

 

28 April:  As the draft London Plan Examination resumes for its final month of hearings, the GLA publishes its response to our day 1 challenge that they had not dealt properly with the Equality Duty. The panel of inspectors required the GLA to respond by 18th and the results were so big (160 pages) that they didn’t make it onto the web site until 23rd April. The history is in previous posts.

The response by GLA is partly legal argument but mostly the detailed discussion of how city hall expects each of its policy areas to impact (positively and negatively) on each of the 9 “equality” groups specified in the law. We have just 2 weeks to digest and comment on all this material and do urge member organisations to read and evaluate at least what is written in Appendix 3 about population groups or issues which specially concern them. The report is set out in 9 sections, corresponding to the 9 “equality groups”:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Then, within the section on each group, there is a discussion for each of the 11 chapters of the Plan. Thus it is very easy to navigate.

On a first inspection, this is a fascinating essay on the diversity of needs among Londoners. If it had existed 3 years ago the preparation of the London Plan would have been hugely enriched. It doesn’t deal explicitly with the social class dimension (because the government decided not to implement that segment of the Equalities Act) but class / income / wealth variables do figure strongly where that’s the available data or where there are strong overlaps between poverty and group experience of deprivation.

Appendix 4 responds, one-by-one, to the criticisms made by respondents.

The legal section, in the ‘cover report’ and Appendix 2, is a defence. This is a non-legal comment: the GLA contend that they carried out their obligations with an appropriate level of detail, that all the studies contributing to all the Mayor’s other strategies form part of the discharge of the obligations, that they can reasonably assume that other public bodies will do likewise (i.e. boroughs in applying policy?), that the Panel has no power to judge the legality of what was done. We look forward to legal expert opinion on all this.

The documents can all be downloaded:

NLP/EX/33 Covering report Mayor of London response to Panel Note 7.2: Cover Report (Mayor of London, Apr 2019)
NLP/EX/33a List of Strategies Mayor of London response to Panel Note 7.2: Appendix 1 Mayoral strategies (Mayor of London, Apr 2019)
NLP/EX/33b Legal cases cited Mayor of London response to Panel Note 7.2: Appendix 2 Legal note (Mayor of London, Apr 2019)
NLP/EX/33c Impact of polices on each ‘protected’ group Mayor of London response to Panel Note 7.2: Appendix 3 Summary (Mayor of London, Apr 2019)
NLP/EX/33d GLA responses to participants’ comments Mayor of London response to Panel Note 7.2: Appendix 4 Table of responses (Mayor of London, Apr 2019)

The Examination in Public resumes on Tuesday 30th April, starting with policies on Waste and the circular economy. The programme is at https://justspace.org.uk/hearings-eip-2019/#M68