The Equality and Human Rights Commission (‘the Commission’) was established by Parliament under the Equality Act 2006 to help safeguard and enforce the laws that protect all our rights to fairness, dignity and respect. We use our unique powers to help make Britain a fair society in which everyone has an equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.
Our statutory powers give us a range of tools to drive equality and human rights improvements, and we use these selectively and proportionately to achieve our objectives. We work with other organisations and individuals to advance fairness, dignity and respect, but we are ready to take tough action against those who abuse the rights of others. We act as:The Commission operates independently and aims to be an expert and authoritative organisation, reputed as a centre of excellence for evidence, analysis and legal expertise. We strive to be an essential point of contact for policymakers, businesses and public bodies.
1. A catalyst for change, enabling and encouraging improvement by bringing people together to devise solutions, and building capacity in other organisations to help them to effect change. Where appropriate, we use our statutory inquiry powers to explore systemic issues, gather evidence and develop possible solutions.
2. An information provider, helping people understand their rights and responsibilities and improve compliance with the law.
3. An influencer, using our legal expertise, research, insight and analysis to influence
4. An evaluator, monitoring the effectiveness of the laws protecting people’s rights to equality and human rights, and measuring progress in society.
5. An enforcer, using our strategic enforcement powers selectively to protect people against serious and systemic abuses of their rights and to clarify equality and human rights law, alongside our efforts help organisations to comply with equality and human rights standards.
As a United Nations (UN)-accredited National Human Rights Institution and a National Equality Body, we work with bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland, across Europe and internationally to protect and promote equality and human rights.
Head of institution
Rebecca Hilsenrath, CEO
Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square
Year of establishment
Year of accreditation
Number of staff
- Equality Body
- Monitoring body under CRPD Art 33(2)
- Publishing research, recommendations, opinions
- Reporting to international and regional human rights mechanisms
- Legal assistance (but not free legal aid)
- Advising government, parliament and other public bodies
- Human rights education and training
- Awareness raising activities