Members’ section
Personal identifiers

UNITED KINGDOM: Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

General Contact Information

Full name in English:

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

Full name in the national language(s):

Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

Postal address:
Equality House 7-9 Shaftesbury Square Belfast BT2 7DP
Website:

www.equalityni.org

General email address:
information@equalityni.org
Helpline:

02890500600

Telephone number:

028500600

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/equalitycommni

Other social media channels:

https://www.youtube.com/user/equality890

Person of contact for media enquiries:

Louise Conlon (lconlon@equalityni.org)

Name of the Head of the equality body:

Chief Commissioner Dr Michael Wardlow, Chief Executive Dr Evelyn Collins CBE

Contact Person

Name:

Mark Soult

Email:
msoult@equalityni.org

Main Informations

Overview

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is an independent public body. Its remit and responsibilities include:
• promoting equality of opportunity and affirmative action
• working towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination and harassment
• keeping relevant legislation under review
• promoting good relations between persons of different racial groups and good disability practice
• overseeing the effectiveness of statutory equality duties on public authorities

Brief history

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland was established in 1999, taking over responsibilities of Commissions duty with single strand issues going back to 1976. Its powers and duties derive from a number of statutes which have been enacted over the last decades, providing protection against discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, race, religion and political opinion, sex and sexual orientation. It also has responsibilities in respect of the statutory equality and good relations duties which apply to public authorities.
The Commission’s vision is of a society in Northern Ireland where there is equality for all and a common understanding of the benefits of a more equal society. The Commission’s mission is to improve people’s lives through the effective implementation of its statutory responsibilities.

Mandate type
  • Predominantly promotion-type and legal support body
Litigation powers
  • Formally deciding on complaints (e.g. decision or recommendation addressed to the parties) Not legally binding
Activities
201020112012201320142015
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups (e.g. through trainings)yesyesyesyesyesyes
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)yesyesyesyesyesyes
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)yesyesyesyesyesyes
Recommendations on discrimination issuesyesyesyesyesyesyes
Publications and reportsyesyesyesyesyesyes
Research projects (including surveys)yesyesyesyesyesyes
Our institution has a mandate to deal with:
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Other statistics
201020112012201320142015
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)295832429518458196881883319510
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)315274264315286291
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social media475428499314918503
Management
  • Collegiate headed equality body (led by a distinct board/commission)
Management details

• The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is governed by a board of Commissioners consisting of a Chief Commissioner, Deputy Chief Commissioner and up to 18 other Commissioners. Commissioners set the overall strategic direction for the organisation, set the policy framework and oversee the delivery of the planned work. With the exception of the Chief Commissioner who works four days a week, all Commissioners are part time and are appointed for a three-year term. The Chief Executive ensures that the Commission’s staff and resources are deployed to deliver the annual Business Plan.

Additional details

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is sponsored by The ‘Executive Office’ which carries responsibilities for equality policy and legislation in the Northern Ireland Executive.
The Commission’s staff are led by its Chief Executive and work in four core divisions: Advice & Compliance, Legal, Policy & Research, Communications & Promotion and Corporate Services.

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

Commissioner vacancies are advertised every three years and appointments are made by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. All staff, including the Chief Executive are directly recruited by the Commission.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues
201020112012201320142015
no data11911610810695
Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body
GroundsFieldsEmploymentEducationHousingSocial Protection & HealthcareGoods & ServicesOther
Genderyesyesyesyesyes
Gender Identityyesyesyesyesyes
Race and Ethnic Originyesyesyesyesyes
Ageyesyesyesnono
Disabilityyesyesyesyesyes
Sexual Orientationyesyesyesyesyes
Religion & Beliefyesyesyesyesyes

Other grounds : Healthcare is covered in most pieces of legislation but we would need a definition of social protection as it may not be covered in its entirety.

Mandate covers:
  • Public sector
  • Private sector
Operating budget in euros
201020112012201320142015
no data74240007418000738600065140007853000
We are accountable to:
  • The Executive Office (Regional Government Department)

Related News

Half of the women who responded to an Equality Commission investigation into the employment experiences of pregnant workers and mothers in Northern Ireland believe that their career opportunities have been negatively affected by their pregnancy or maternity leave.

That is one of the findings of ‘Expecting Equality: a Formal Investigation under the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976’.