HC Deb 08 July 1998 vol 315 cc535-6W
Jackie Ballard

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to her answer of 24 June 1998,Official Report, columns 557–58, prior to 18 May, what mechanisms were used to determine how legislation passed in the current session would affect women; what consultation she had with women's organisations; and if she will make a statement. [49092]

Ms Ruddock

Guidance on policy appraisal for equal treatment has been available since 1992. Application of the guidance has been the responsibility of individual Departments.

As Ministers for Women, we have worked to promote the need to identify any adverse differential impact on women as an integral part of the policy making process. On 18 May we launched the mainstreaming initiative across Whitehall.

Within this Department we are making use of consultation, research projects and disaggregated statistics to identify the impact of policy upon women. As an example the recently published draft legislation on pension sharing on divorce has been the subject of consultation with key organisations representing divorcing women.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is preparing a report on the impact of Social Security policies upon women which will be published shortly.