Merger of commissions prompts jobs reshuffle

PROs at the UK's equality commissions have been ­offered voluntary redundancy ahead of a merger.

More than 30 comms staff ­accross the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission have been ­offered the deal ahead of the creation of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).

There will be no compulsory redundancies, according to the CEHR, which will officially be launched in October.

‘There will be a process where jobs will be reassessed depending on the demands of the new organisation. It is quite a complex situation, as not all staff are going to want to transfer over to the new body,' said CEHR interim head of media ­Andrew Nye.

It is not yet known what structure the CEHR will take but it has unveiled its inaugural PR arm. At the helm is Commission for ­Racial Equality  (CRE) direc­tor of comms Colleen Harris, repor­ting to ­recently ­appointed chief execu­tive Dr Nicola Brewer.

Harris - who has taken the title of director of comms (acting) - has built a transitional team around her, which includes CRE head of internal comms Gabriela Flores as interim head of comms.

The Equal Opportunities Commission media director Claire Hibbitt has become interim head of media, working alongside freelance consultant Nye.

The transitional team will be in place at least until the launch of the ­CEHR and be situated within the office of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

‘Our roles have not been confirmed beyond that point,' Hibbitt told PRWeek.

The CEHR will take on the work of the three existing commissions and more, including areas such as age,religion and beliefs, and sexual orientation.

It has fended off accusations that it will not be adequately resourced to cover all these areas.

‘We will be working to make sure there is no drop in quality or ­responsibility,' said a spokesman.

The CEHR is chaired by Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the CRE.

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