A question of duty

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With regard to the article 'Opportunities for all' by Marcia Tatham in the June 2002 edition of Training Today, the Commission for Racial Equality is writing to point out that the article contains misleading information for those in the private and voluntary sectors which provide early years education. The paragraph headed 'The implications' advises that schools and early years settings must comply with specific duties. The public duty (general and specific duties) is not imposed on any private or voluntary bodies; such bodies are under no obligation to comply with the specific duties or the general duty.

With regard to the article 'Opportunities for all' by Marcia Tatham in the June 2002 edition of Training Today, the Commission for Racial Equality is writing to point out that the article contains misleading information for those in the private and voluntary sectors which provide early years education.

The paragraph headed 'The implications' advises that schools and early years settings must comply with specific duties. The public duty (general and specific duties) is not imposed on any private or voluntary bodies; such bodies are under no obligation to comply with the specific duties or the general duty.

The Race Relations Act 1976 s71A imposes a general statutory duty on scheduled public authorities, which includes education authorities. The additional specific duties are imposed on most of those scheduled public authorities and those specific duties, which are set out in the above article, are imposed on schools only.

This means that private or voluntary organisations that provide an early years education service or setting are not subject to the public duty, not even where they work in partnership or under contract with an education authority.

I hope this clarifies the position in relation to private and voluntary providers.

Razia Karim Head of legal policy, Commission for Racial Equality

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