The Women and Equalities Select Committee published a report on equalities impact assessments around the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement in November 2016. The Government responded in January 2o17.
The report says that the Government must do more to demonstrate that it has fulfilled its obligations to assess the equalities impacts of future Spending Reviews, Budgets and Autumn Statements.
The Committee recommended that to maintain public confidence that the Public Sector Equality Duty is being fulfilled:
- The Treasury should be independently evaluated on how robustly it has complied with that duty in the 2015 Spending Review process, and how it can improve its equalities analysis;
- This evaluation should be carried out by an organisation with the requisite level of expertise; and
- Similar evaluations should be commissioned for the equality analyses accompanying all future spending rounds and fiscal events.
The Government later responded to the report: “The Select Committee report helps highlight the importance of Government ensuring that its policies promote fairness (including for those people sharing protected characteristics) and of the role of transparency and accountability. These principles have been adhered to in respect of funding and policy announcements made at the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement, other fiscal events, and in broader policy announcements.”
“We take a different view to the committee in regard to the Government’s record on transparency in respect of decisions taken at the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement. We believe the evidence demonstrates a positive record here and as a result, we do not agree that independent assessments are necessary at this time or that they would add useful value.”