Our recommendations were also aimed at regulatory agencies, the government, and trade unions and addressed the need to: • reduce the causes of vulnerability • hold organisations to account in meeting equality law and human rights standards • promote equality, human rights and good relations. The full list of recommendations can be found in the inquiry report at: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/Inquiries/meat_in quiry_report.pdf Review One of the recommendations in the report was that 12 months after the publication of the inquiry report, the Commission would: • •
review the extent to which relevant bodies have effectively implemented the report’s recommendations, and take enforcement action as appropriate.
During these 12 months the Commission has been working with the meat and poultry processing sector following the establishment of a multi-stakeholder task force (also a recommendation in the report). The purpose of the taskforce was to agree standardised recruitment and employment practices for the industry, and to produce guidance to help processing firms and agencies address the issues raised in the inquiry report. The aim of the Review was to enable the Commission to measure the progress of the sector against the recommendations set in the inquiry report. If the Commission decides, based on the evidence that we have collected, that sufficient progress has not been made then we can take further enforcement action under the Equality Act 2006.7 Structure of the report The findings of our report are based on the evidence we collected from processing firms, agencies, supermarkets, and workers. Further information on our methodology and evidence base is contained in the next chapter: Our methodology. We start by presenting our findings on the Agency Workers Regulations, an important legislative development 7
For example this could include 1. A section 20 named investigation. This is an investigation into a specific organisation. A section 20 investigation could be launched into one or more firms. Or 2. A formal binding agreement known as a section 23 agreement with a specific organisation. Section 23 agreements may include undertakings that the firm refrains from committing further unlawful acts of any specified kind and take other specified action including preparing an action plan to ensure unlawful acts are avoided. Section 23 agreements can be in place with one or more firms. 8