The House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Select Committee was appointed on 3 June 2015. The Committee announced its first inquiry shortly thereafter into transgender equality, looking at a range of outstanding issues for the trans community and considering how they could most effectively be addressed. Six Ministers gave evidence to the Committee and it heard evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and other interested parties. Cloisters’ barrister, Claire McCann, was appointed as a specialist adviser to the Committee to provide advice on specific legal questions (see here).
The Committee published its final report on 14 January 2016, making over 30 recommendations in a wide range of policy areas. It called on the Government to take action to ensure full equality for trans people, emphasising the need to update existing legislation; provide better services, especially in the NHS; and improve confidence in the criminal justice system.
The Government has now responded stating that it is committed to developing an action plan for transgender equality, which will include:
- A review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to tackle unnecessary bureaucracy and to assess the need for medical checks contained within the 2004 Act;
- A cross-government review on removing unnecessary requests for gender information, including in official documents;
- Improving the way people are supported by gender identity services through new training of NHS staff;
- Tackling harassment and bullying in higher education by working with universities;
- Assessing how to measure the size of the UK’s transgender population so that policy can be more evidence-based and we can track the impact of our work;
- Measuring and monitoring public attitudes towards transgender people.
Whilst this proposed action plan is to be welcomed, it remains to be seen whether it goes far enough in meeting the clear and compelling recommendations made by the Committee.
Cloisters has significant expertise in advising and representing organisations and individuals in all aspects of equality and discrimination as well as employment law.