EHRC Advisor Support

Annika Howard

This year, The Equality and Human Rights Commission are attending our Annual Conference and Awards. We talked to them about the help and support they can offer helplines who have queries about discrimination and human rights law.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides a second-tier helpline so that those working in frontline agencies can ring us for specialist practical advice on equality and human rights issues. The service is open to advisers, union reps, ombudsmen and solicitors (when acting for individuals). The aim is to improve access to justice for those who might not otherwise be able to find expert advice on equality and human rights issues, so the service is also open to support groups, charities and others whose service users may have experienced discrimination.

We welcome the chance to engage with the Helplines Partnership and look forward to meeting members at the conference.

What can the service offer me?

EHRC Adviser Support is a high quality service that gives you time to talk directly with an EHRC lawyer to find the best way to support your client using discrimination and human rights law. The formal evaluation of the service found that it adds value by clarifying how the law applies and helping to work out a way forward for a case. We were told: “I deal with a lot of helplines and this is one of the good ones”. Other comments included “excellent; big fan; great; happy; quality; professional; fantastic”.

Our lawyers are ready to take your call.

What issues can EHRC Adviser Support help with?

We welcome calls on any topic where you think there might be an equality or human rights angle. It’s not just employment, housing and access to social security, we’ve taken calls about healthcare, planning applications, community care packages, the entertainment industry, local councillors, and schools. Ring us to discuss technical issues or just to check your understanding of the law.

We are also keen to hear from advisers about emerging trends and issues, to inform the Commission’s wider work. We have a range of unique enforcement powers we can use to make duty bearers comply with discrimination and human rights laws.

What resources are available?

Visit our dedicated EHRC Adviser Support pages to find our Handbook for Advisers – a handy summary of the Equality Act 2010 for busy advisers who need a quick start. Also see our guidance on working out the value of a discrimination claim – useful for persuading and negotiating with the other side and managing expectations of clients. Our new toolkits on discrimination in employment and in housing will be coming soon.

How can I find out more?

Please visit our website. We’re keen to hear from advisers about how we can improve the service we offer – tell us what you would find useful and how we can help you help others to access justice.

What else is the Commission doing on access to justice in discrimination cases?

We have launched an inquiry to look at whether legal aid enables people who raise a discrimination complaint in England and Wales to get justice. Click here for more information, and to complete our survey.

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