Equality and Human Rights Commission


The Equality and Human Rights Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. It encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 and is accredited by the UN as an ‘A status’ National Human Rights Institution.

Brief history

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006.The Commission was launched on 1 October 2007, following the merger of the former Equal Opportunities Commission, Commission for Racial Equality, and the Disability Rights Commission.

The Commission operates independently to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and protect and promote human rights. Our sponsor government department is the Home Office (Ministry of the Interior).

Britain is fortunate to have a strong equality and human rights legal framework to protect people from discrimination and violations of their basic rights and freedoms. However, the experiences of many people across England, Scotland and Wales often do not reflect what is set out in law.

It is the Commission’s role to make these rights and freedoms a reality for everyone. We use a range of powers to do so, by providing advice and guidance to individuals, employers and other organisations, reviewing the effectiveness of the law and taking legal enforcement action to clarify the law and address significant breaches of rights.

Further details on achievements over the last 10 years available at the following address: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/what-we-do/our-achievements.

Mandate Type

Predominantly promotion-type and legal support body

Litigation power:

  • Representing in front of courts
  • Bringing proceedings in own name
  • Intervening before the court
  • Investigating a person to determine if they have committed an unlawful act (under the Equality Act 2010)
  • Issuing an Unlawful Act notice if it is established that such an act has been, or is likely to be, committed
  • Put in place a legally binding agreement with a person who has committed an unlawful act under the Equality Act 2010


2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups ( e.g. through trainings )
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)
Recommendations on discrimination issues
Publications and reports
Research projects (including surveys)

Our institution has a mandate to deal with:

  • Violence against women
  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Hate crime
  • Hate speech
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the Equality Act 2010
  • Monitor progress in society regarding equality and diversity

Other statistics:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)3817141511103814413377
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social media

Other informations about the statistics

Please note that all figures are for financial years, i.e. April to March, rather than calendar years.

Regarding the number of cases handled per year, these figures reflect the number of times that EHRC agreed or agreed in principle to the use of our litigation or enforcement powers, even if the matter subsequently did not proceed or a decision was later revoked, or in the case of litigation, settled or concluded without a hearing. The figures do not include regulatory or compliance letters that we send out which have been resolved informally or concluded without formal action.

For the most recent year (2018/19) we have included all informal agreements, formal binding agreements, 22 discrimination cases and 34 strategic litigation cases.


  • Collegiate headed equality body (led by a distinct board/commission)

Management details

Strategic direction is given by the Board of Commissioners led by the Chair. The Board is responsible for approving the strategic plan, monitoring performance against the plan and ensuring appropriate systems of governance, accountability and control.

Additional details

The EHRC has a dual role as NEB (National Equality Body) and NHRI (National Human Rights Institution).

The EHRC works in conjunction with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

Commissioners are recruited by open competition for a time limited period.

Senior staff members are recruited by open competition.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body

Grounds / Fields Employment Education Housing Social Protection & Healthcare Goods and Services Other
Gender Identity
Race and Ethnic Origin
Sexual Orientation
Religion & Belief
Other grounds:

Pregnancy and Maternity; Marriage and Civil Partnership

Mandate covers:

  • Public sector
  • Private sector

Operating budget in euros

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

We are accountable to

  • National Ministry