HC Deb 27 October 1999 vol 336 cc927-8W
Jackie Ballard

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he(a) has established and (b) published a baseline for policy appraisal against which to measure progress on equal treatment. [94864]

Jane Kennedy

The Government are committed to ensuring their policies are fair and inclusive, and focus on public service users, not providers. This aim is contained in guidance (published in 1998) which helps Departments consider the impact of their policies on gender, ethnicity and disability. In addition to considering impact the guidance encourages consultation with women's groups and others where appropriate and action to deal with any differential impact if this appears appropriate. My Department applies the principles enshrined in the guidance in developing its policies. For example in developing the Community Legal Service (CLS), a wide variety of views is being canvassed. For the CLS website we are investigating how access can be facilitated for people with disabilities or who do not use English as a first language. In developing the Quality Mark for services to be provided by CLS members, we have consulted bodies representative of the interests of ethnic minority groups and of people with disabilities. Indeed bodies such as the Commission for Racial Equality and DIAL UK are members of the Task Force charged with progressing this development.