Northern ireland office equality scheme




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Responsibilities and reporting





    1. We are committed to the fulfilment of our Section 75 obligations in all parts of our work.




    1. The Deputy Director, Strategy & Communications Group is accountable to the Departmental Management Board for the development, implementation, maintenance and review of the Equality Scheme in accordance with Section 75 and Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, including any good practice or guidance that has been or may be issued by the Equality Commission. Day to day responsibility for effective implementation of this responsibility rests with the Corporate Governance Team, which reports to the Deputy Director, Strategy & Communications Group.




    1. If you have any questions or comments regarding this Equality Scheme, please contact the Corporate Governance Team in the first instance at the address given below and the Department will respond to you as soon as possible:

Corporate Governance Team

Stormont House

Stormont Estate

Belfast

BT4 3SH
equality.scheme@nio.x.gsi.gov.uk


Tel: 028 9076 5497

Text phone: 028 9052 7668



Complaints





    1. The Department will address any complaints alleging that it has not fulfilled its statutory equality obligations and will seek to resolve such complaints bilaterally. It will aim to give a substantive response to complaints within 20 working days. In the response, the Department will tell the complainant how to pursue the complaint further with the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland. The Department will cooperate fully in any subsequent investigation, providing access to relevant information, when required to so do. Complaints should be addressed to the Head of the Corporate Governance Team at the address given above.



Assessing compliance





    1. Compliance with the statutory duties will be implemented through an inclusive and interactive process of screening policies, consultation with members of affected groups, and, where appropriate, through equality impact assessments, as detailed in Chapter 4. The organisations listed in Appendix 3 will be consulted in relation to these equality impact assessments.

Reporting on compliance





    1. The Department will prepare an annual report on progress in implementing the actions set out in this Equality Scheme. The Section 75 annual progress report will be sent to the Equality Commission by 31 August each year and will follow any guidance on annual reporting issued by the Equality Commission. A copy will also be published on the Department’s website. Where practicable, the Department will make copies available in alternative formats upon request.




    1. Objectives and targets relating to the statutory duties will be integrated into the Department’s strategic and operational business plans and, where relevant, into individual personal objectives. The Department will review progress against the Equality Action Measures (see Appendix 6) every year to make sure it keeps abreast of changes in the law and good practice. Changes will be approved by the Departmental Management Board and as appropriate, reflected in the Departmental business plans, and Equality Scheme, and be published on the website.




    1. The Department will continue to update the Action Plan/Mesaures as necessary, and continues to welcome comments on it. These will be considered during the annual review of the Action Plan/Measures.




    1. The latest Section 75 annual progress report is available on the NIO website: www.nio.gov.uk




    1. Then NIO liaise closely with the Equality Commission to ensure that progress on the implementation of our equality scheme is maintained.



Action plan/action measures





    1. The NIO has developed an action plan to promote equality of opportunity and good relations. The action measures that make up our action plan are relevant to the NIO’s functions, and have been consulted on as part of the consultation on this equality scheme. The NIO will monitor progress on the delivery of these action measures annually and will update the action plan as necessary to ensure that it remains effective and relevant to its functions.




    1. The NIO will inform the Equality Commission of any changes or amendments to the action plan and will also include this information in our Section 75 annual progress report to the Commission. The NIO’s Section 75 annual progress report will incorporate information on progress we have made in implementing our action plan and action measures.




    1. The action plan is set out at Appendix 6 of this document and is available on the NIO website: www.nio.gov.uk. If you require it in an alternative format, please contact us at the address below:

Corporate Governance Team

Stormont House

Stormont Estate

Belfast

BT4 3SH
equality.scheme@nio.x.gsi.gov.uk


Tel: 028 9076 5497

Text phone: 028 9052 7668


Chapter 3: Our arrangements for consulting


    1. The NIO recognises the importance of consultation in all aspects of the implementation of its statutory equality duties. We have consulted on this equality scheme and action measures, and will consult on other matters relevant to the Section 75 statutory duties.



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