This Perspective seeks to explore and assess the institutional architecture that equality bodies form part of, as they implement their mandates to promote equality and combat discrimination.
Institutional architecture varies from country to country. Its nature, scope and reach, and the various institutions that form part of it, play a role in determining the level of independence and effectiveness of equality bodies. In turn, the level of independence and effectiveness of equality bodies has a significant influence on the quality of the functioning of the overall architecture for equality and non-discrimination.
This Perspective analyses the place, role and contribution of equality bodies in relation to the two key functions of this institutional architecture. The first key function is to fulfil a reactive role,providing a pathway to justice for those who have experienced discrimination. In this, the architecture involves bodies that ensure a resolution, one way or another, to a discrimination complaint. The second key function is to fulfil a proactive role, in assembling a range of different bodies to advance equality and prevent discrimination.
The importance of this institutional architecture has not been reflected in much in-depth study or analysis. Equinet has prepared this Perspective as a means of opening up the debate about it and its impact on the work of equality bodies. It is hoped that this will stimulate further study on the topic. Furthermore, this Perspective contributes to a body of work being done by Equinet to promote and inform the development of European standards for equality bodies. Such standards would provide a necessary guarantee for the independence and effectiveness of equality bodies. As such, they should address the institutional architecture within which these bodies are established.