Gender and disability inequalities in housing are under the remit of a new independent body set up to challenge ‘social injustices’.
Announced by Theresa May, the Office for Tackling Injustices (OfTI) is intended to present future Governments with more effective, data-driven, evidence-based challenge to help drive forward reforms to tackle wide-ranging disparities.
The new body will follow the approach taken by the Race Disparity Audit which uses data to analyse how ethnicity affect experience of public services – with data and analysis assessing key barriers for specific groups.
There will be an emphasis on uncovering data either currently unreliable or available.
“I have demanded that if disparities cannot be explained, they must be changed,” said May.
“But there is more to be done now and in the years to come, using the power of data, gathered from extensive sources, to spotlight key injustices and provide the catalyst for better policy solutions,” she said.
The OfTI will examine disparities in areas including socio-economic background, ethnicity, gender, disability and sexual orientation and explore if specific groups of people are unfairly discriminated against or held back.
For example, the body will use data to drive Government to look at gender and disability inequalities in housing.
Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt confirmed that the OfTI will “provide accountability” in the new Cabinet Office equalities hub at the heart of government – with the Race Disparity Unit, the Government Equalities Office and the Office for Disability.
“We know that high quality data and evidence are important tools in tackling inequality, we need to know how well we are tackling injustice and the impact on people’s lives,” she said.
Maria Miller, Chair, Women and Equalities Select Committee, said: “I’m delighted that the Government is taking seriously its commitment to this agenda.
“The sorts of social justice issues the Prime Minister has highlighted require a sustained focus based on good evidence.
“The Women and Equalities Select Committee welcomed the approach taken by the Race Disparity Audit and I hope the Office for Tackling Injustices can take this further – with additional independent challenge.”
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall, added: “We’re really pleased that the Government is making this commitment to improve the data we have on the challenges facing LGBT communities.
“Reliable data on the experience of LGBT people is scarce, and there are huge difficulties gathering it.
“The Office for Tackling Injustice will give us a clearer picture of the barriers and better enable us to act against the discrimination LGBT people still face.”
Simon Woolley OBE, Director, Operation Black Vote and Chairman of the Race Disparity Audit, also praised the initiative: “As the Office for Budget Responsibility acts as an independent watchdog over the public finances, so will the Office for Tackling Injustices objectively assess the Government’s progress towards social justice.
“I will do all I can to support and champion this new Office, which I believe will become a shining beacon that not only shines necessary lights on those injustices the Prime Minister cares about such as gender equality, social mobility and race inequality, but also a powerful bulwark for change.”