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Equality in Procurement & Contracts

The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 places a duty on public bodies to prevent discrimination in all aspects of service provision, including procurement. It provides a clear and positive legal duty to eliminate discrimination and to ensuring equality of opportunity and good race relations.

Although EastendHomes is not a public body, the Housing Corporation expects all RSLs to demonstrate compliance and commitment in terms of the duties enshrined in the legislation. EastendHomes as an RSL is committed to encouraging contractors and other partners working with us to achieve good practice in terms of equality of opportunity and diversity.

The best employers acknowledge that there is a need to reach the skills of all sections of the workforce. Employers recognise and can demonstrate that a diverse workforce can give a competitive edge in meeting the demands of a diverse customer base.

EastendHomes aim’s to ensure that procurement processes demonstrate a serious commitment to achieving equality in respect of all our suppliers and contractors. We aim to demonstrate this in the questions we ask, in the advice we provide and by making sure that contractual arrangements actively promote equality and diversity.

Legal requirements

Under UK law, public bodies must consider equal opportunities in their contracts. EastendHomes with therefore encourage all our suppliers to introduce appropriate equal opportunities policies and procedures.

The key equality legislation includes:

  • The Race Relations Act 1976
  • The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
  • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • The EC Race Directive – EC Directive 2000/43/EC
  • The Disability Discrimination Acts 1995, 1997 and 2005
  • Human Rights Act 1988
  • Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006

Equality in the tendering process

In evaluating tenders, EastendHomes will give positive consideration to suppliers who can demonstrate that they understand their responsibilities and operate with due regard to the legislation.

We need to be sure that they have no history of discrimination (or if they have that this has been rectified) and for some contracts we will need to make sure that suppliers have the capacity to meet the race equality standards required to deliver the contract.

For instance:

  • Contractors may be required to complete and submit a pre-qualification questionnaire as part of the tender process. This asks a number of questions about equality. The answers will be used to assess compliance with statutory regulations and their approach to equality.
  • If equality is a core requirement of the contract, contractors may be asked to give additional evidence to support their tender submission, such as information about the way that they approach race equality in their supply chain.
  • If the contract has direct equality implications, requirements will be built into the tender specification and contract conditions for the service.

Pre-qualification questions

Here are equality questions that contractors will be asked for in the tendering process.

Is it your policy as an employer to comply with your statutory obligations under the Race Relations Act 1976 and Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, which apply in Great Britain, or equivalent legislation that applies in the countries in which your firm employs staff?

  • Is it your practice not to discriminate directly or indirectly on grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins in relation to decisions to recruit, select, remunerate, train, transfer and promote employees?
  • In the last three years, has any findings of unlawful racial discrimination in the employment field been made against your organisation by an employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal, or any court, or in comparable proceedings in any other jurisdiction?
  • In the past three years, has your organisation been the subject of formal investigation by the Commission of Racial Equality (CRE), or a comparable body, on the grounds of alleged unlawful discrimination in the employment field?
  • If the answer to Question 2 is yes or, in relation to Question 3, the CRE or comparable body make a finding adverse to your organisation, what steps have you taken as a result of that finding?
  • Do you observe the CRE’s Code of Practice for employment, as approved by Parliament in 1983 (and updated in April 2006), or a comparable statutory code? OR guidance issued under equivalent legislation in another member state, which gives practical guidance to employers and others on the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity in employment, including; monitoring of workforce matters and steps that can be taken to encourage people from ethnic minorities to apply for jobs or take up training opportunities?
  • Is it your policy as a employer to comply with your statutory obligations under, but not limited to the Sex Discrimination Acts 1995, 1997 and 2005 and the Human Rights Act 1998, Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 – all of which apply in Great Britain – or equivalent legislation in the countries in which you employ staff?
  • In the past three years, has any finding of unlawful sex or disability discrimination in the employment field been made against your organisation by an employment tribunal, an employment appeal tribunal, or any court, or in comparable proceedings in any other jurisdiction?
  • If the answer to Question 7 is yes, what steps have you taken as a result of that finding?
  • Is your policy on equal opportunities set out in the following:
  • Instruction to those concerned with recruitment, selection, remuneration, training and promotion?
  • Documents available to employees, recognised trade unions or other employee representative groups?
  • In job advertisements or other literature?
  • If you are not currently subjected to UK legislation, please supply details of your experience in complying with equivalent legislation that is designed to eliminate discrimination (especially racial discrimination) and to promote equality of opportunity.

Equality standards

The Race Relations Act 1976 and its Amendment Act of 2000 are supported by codes of practice published by the Commission of Equality and Human Rights. The code of practice for ending racial discrimination and promoting equal opportunities in employment (known as ‘the CRE Code of Practice for Employment’) sets out steps that employers should take to meet their obligations under the act.

The Code of Practice recommends that employers should:

  • Have a written policy on equal opportunities.
  • Seek agreement from trade unions and employee representatives on the policy.
  • Tell the employees and job applicants about the policy.
  • Have disciplinary procedures for racial discrimination, including harassment within the firm.
  • Train managers and supervisors to make sure that they understand and promote equality.
  • Regularly review the firm’s recruitment, promotion, training and transfer practices in line with the policy.
  • Take positive action to encourage under-represented ethnic groups to be represented more in the workforce.