Final Report of The Equalities
Review sets out why Equality is not a
The Equalities Review's Final Report, Fairness and Freedom, published
on 28 February 2007, warns that despite the significant progress achieved
over the past 60 years, some kinds of inequality are set to remain at
intolerable levels, and calls for a new approach to tackling discrimination
The Phillips' report proposes a ten-step programme to help make Britain
a fairer, more equal country at ease with its diversity and ready to face
the challenges of the 21st century.
The report warns that unless efforts are drastically stepped up, even the
great-great-grandchildren of current legislators will not enjoy the sight
of a Parliament with equal numbers of men and women or substantial numbers
of ethnic minority MPs. At the current rate it could take until 2085 to
close the pay gap between men and women; until 2045 for Black Caribbean 11
year olds to close the attainment gap in English and Maths; and on current
trends the employment penalty facing disabled people may never be
The Chair of the Equalities Review Panel, Trevor Phillips, said:
"This Report is entirely about one of the - if not the -
most cherished aspirations of the British people: to live in a society that
is fair and free, and which provides for each individual to realise his or
her potential to the fullest. At root, this is what we should mean by an
"Today, we report that greater equality would benefit the whole of
society. But we also warn that inequality still scars our entire
society and holds back too many individuals from realising their potential.
If we do not create a new framework to tackle existing, entrenched and
emerging inequalities we risk losing the momentum built up by three
"The last few years have seen inequality reduced in many
ways. But as the tide of disadvantage recedes, the rocks of persistent
inequality have been revealed. People face inequality in many
forms - not only on the grounds of race, gender or disability but also
sexual orientation, age, gender identity, and religion or belief. They
struggle because of outdated attitudes and systemic failures. It will take
many years to remove the remaining barriers to equality. In some cases,
unless we accelerate progress, it is unlikely that disadvantage will ever
be overcome. We have to act now."
The report proposes a new working definition for equality, centred on the
freedom people have to flourish, that takes factors beyond income and
wealth into account. According to the report’s Equality Scorecard, any
modern measure of equality needs to take account of important areas such as
family and social life, education, safety, quality of life, and freedom of
belief and religion. Outcomes in these areas remain unequal for many groups
The Phillips' report recommends ten steps to greater equality,
a new framework to measure progress towards equality, including an
‘Equalities Scorecard’ which employers, public service providers and
others can use to get a true picture of equality gaps;
a new, simpler but broader positive duty for public sector bodies to
tackle inequality - both as service providers and as employers;
a simpler legislative framework which will enable groups as well as
individuals to take action;
new flexibility for employers to use positive action (though the report
does not argue for positive discrimination);
a more sophisticated and proportionate enforcement regime, overseen by
the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR);
targeted action on persistent inequalities in the fields of early years
and education, employment, health, and crime and criminal justice.
Conclusions were based substantial new research and meetings and
consultations with hundreds of people across England, Scotland and Wales.
The Review recommends that the CEHR, which will become operational in
October 2007, should report on progress against the ten steps to greater
equality within its triennial State of the Nation report.
Notes to editors
The Equalities Review Panel is independent from Government, and was asked
by the Prime Minister to carry out an investigation into the causes of
persistent discrimination and inequality in British society. Focusing on
the four key areas of public life in which it found evidence of the most
persistent inequalities - early years and education, employment,
health, and crime and criminal justice - the Review has carried out
detailed analysis of existing and new research in order to assess the
extent to which certain individuals/groups are disadvantaged. It examines
some of the reasons why this appears to be the case and illustrates the
consequences these inequalities are having.
The Panel consisted of Trevor Phillips (Chair), Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas
and Sir Robert Kerslake.
A separate review, the Discrimination Law Review, is being carried out by
Communities and Local Government to assess how anti-discrimination
legislation can be modernised and simplified. For more information visit www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/dlr/index.htm.
A wide Reference Group of stakeholders and experts from across the equality
strands, human rights, business and the public sectors, co-chaired by Sir
Bert Massie, Chair of the Disability Rights Commission, and Jenny Watson,
Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, provided independent advice
and input to the Equalities Review.
Report of the Equalities Review [PDF 1.3Mb] was launched at
1100 on Wednesday 28 February at the DTI Conference Centre, 1 Victoria