Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 17 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Departmental Bodies.

171. Mr. Cosgrave asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of task forces or special committees set up in his Department since 1997; the date they were established; the terms of reference of each; if they have [850] reported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24494/01]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I have set out below the information sought by the Deputy.

The Government approved the establishment of the committee to review the Offences Against the State Acts in July 1998. The terms of reference are to:

examine all aspects of the Offences Against the State Acts, 1939-1998, taking into account: (a) the view of the participants to the multi-Party Negotiations that the development of a peaceful environment on the basis of the Agreement they reached on 10 April 1998 can and should mean a normalisation of security arrangements and practices; (b) the threat posed by international terrorism and organised crime; and (c) Ireland's obligations under international law; and to report to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform as soon as practicable with recommendations for reform.

The terms of reference originally covered the Offences Against the State Acts, 1939-1985. The Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act, 1998, enacted after the Omagh bombing in August 1998, was subsequently added. The committee issued an interim report in June 2001 on the Special Criminal Court.

The interdepartmental working group on integration was established in November 1998 to formulate a strategy for implementing the Government's policy of responding positively to the needs of persons granted refugee status or leave to remain. The group's report was launched in February 2000. The terms of reference of the working group were to review the arrangements for integrating persons granted refugee status or permission to remain in Ireland, including the appropriate institutional structures for the delivery of these services and to make recommendations.

The independent monitoring committee for the Refugee Legal Service was established in October 1999 to ensure that a quality refugee legal service is provided in accordance with the arrangement agreed between the Legal Aid Board and the Department and to investigate complaints from customers of the service. In accordance with their terms of reference, the monitoring committee is required to prepare an annual report to be submitted to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The report for 2000 is being finalised at present.

A review group on investment-based naturalisation was established on 20 April 1998. The terms of reference were to review the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, to see how it might facilitate investment. The group reported in May 2000.

[851] A Partnership 2000 expert working group on child care was established in 1997 and reported to Government in February 1999. The group was required to consider child care in the context of services provided by third parties for parents for the care of their children and on child care services caring for children aged 0 to 12 years, excluding residential care.

An interdepartmental committee on child care chaired by my Department was established in February 1999 to evaluate, cost and prioritise the recommendations of the reports of the Partnership 2000 expert working group on child care, the Commission on the Family and the National Forum on Early Childhood Education and an Action Programme for the Millennium. The committee concluded its work and submitted its report to Government in September 1999.

An interdepartmental child care synergies group chaired by my Department to focus on co-ordination and co-operation between Government Department and State agencies involved in funding child care was established in December 1999. This is a standing committee which has been established as part of the co-ordination structures for the delivery of child care services.

A national co-ordinating child care committee to oversee the development of a child care infrastructure in an integrated manner throughout the country was established in December 1999. It is chaired by my Department and is a standing committee which has been established as part of the co-ordination structures for the delivery of child care services. The national co-ordinating childcare committee has established the following as part of its work: advisory group to proof the work of the committee for diversity of children's needs; certifying bodies sub-group to develop a national training framework for the child care sector; and a working group on school age child care to draft a report for the NCCC on school age child care provision. The working group is due to report in the near future.

County child care committees to advance the provision of child care facilities within the local area were established during 2000 and 2001. The relevant health boards are assisting in the establishment of these committees. All of the county committees have now held their first meeting. The county child care committees are charged initially with developing a county child care plan which will form part of the ten year county development board plans. The county child care committees are standing committees and form part of the co-ordination structures for child care.

A programme appraisal committee to evaluate assessments of applications for funding under the equal opportunities childcare programme, 2000-06, and make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in each case was established in July 2000. This committee [852] first met in July 2000 and is a standing committee as part of the funding structures for child care.

The National Crime Forum was established in February 1998 to elicit the views of the public on crime and the criminal justice system. It held public sessions in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Sligo during 1998, and the report of the crime forum was published in December 1998.

Following a commitment given by the Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to the Committee of Public Accounts in April 2001, a high level group, comprising representatives of all relevant agencies, was established in May 2001 to discuss the issues raised in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of December 2000 on the collection of fines. The terms of reference of the group are to achieve greater co-ordination between the relevant agencies on the issue and service of court summonses and the issue and execution of fine warrants; to examine the methods of enforcing fines; to consider other methods for dealing with wrong-doing currently the subject of fines, and to make recommendations. The group is due to report back to the Committee of Public Accounts before the end of October 2001.

A committee to monitor the 3% quota for employment for people with disabilities in the public service was established in March 1999. The terms of reference are to monitor progress on the attainment of the 3% target in the public sector, which is a target set out in paragraph 5.21 of Partnership 2000. The work of this committee is ongoing.

The Disability Forum, interdepartmental co-ordination committee on disability issues, was established on 4 August 2000. Its terms of reference are (1) to brief the Minister of State with responsibility for disability and equality on progress being made in each Department in the disability area and to identify problems; and (2) to facilitate the exchange of information issues, drafts on disability issues and bring about any necessary co-ordination. The work of the committee is ongoing and it meets twice yearly.

The monitoring committee on the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of the Status of People with Disabilities was replaced by the National Disability Authority when the NDA Act, 1999, was enacted. The committee was established on 19 March 1997 to: (a) advise the interdepartmental task force on the prioritisation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities; (b) provide any assistance and support required by the task force to facilitate the preparation of the action plan on the rights of people with disabilities; (c) advise the Department, as required, on the drawing up of a detailed implementation of the commission's recommendations; (d) make proposals to the Department on the mechanisms for monitoring the implementation [853] of the commission's recommendations; and (e) monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities which have been accepted by the Government. A progress report, Towards Equal Citizenship, was published in December 1999.

The national steering committee on violence against women was established in December 1997 to provide a co-ordinated response for female victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault. The committee produced its first report in March 1999 and is currently working on the production of its second progress report. The work of the committee is ongoing.

A working group on the review and improvement of the maternity protection legislation which had its first meeting on 14 April 2000 was established in accordance with commitments in An Action Programme for the Millennium and the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness to review and improve maternity protection legislation. The report of the group was published on 28 February 2001.

On 28 February 2001 I launched the review of the Parental Leave Act, 1998. The working group, charged with carrying out the review of the operation of the Act, met for the first time on 22 March 2001. The review of the Act is a requirement under section 28 of the Parental Leave Act which provides for a review of its operation not earlier than two years and not later than three years after the commencement of the Act, that is, between 3 December 2000 and 3 December 2001. This requirement is incorporated in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness which contains a commitment to carry out this review in 2001 in consultation with the social partners. The working group has yet to publish a report as the review is presently ongoing.

A technical advisory committee was established in May 2000 to assist in the development of the equality for women measures of the regional operational programmes of the national development plan. The measures will fund initiatives in the following areas: (a) upskilling and retraining of women employees; (b) encouraging entrepreneurship and career development among women; (c) innovative projects for disadvantaged women and women over 50 years of age; (d) support for women in decision making; (e) gender proofing of personnel practices; (f) employer family friendly project and sharing of family responsibilities: and (g) a research and information campaign for “return to work” women.

The work of this committee is ongoing and its terms of reference are: to advise the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in relation to the equality for women measure in the social inclusion and childcare sub-programme of the regional operational programmes of the National Development Plan, 2000-2006; to advise on criteria and the processes by which projects should [854] be selected and assessed; to advise on regional factors to be taken into account; to advise on expenditure on technical assistance; to advise on research requirements in respect of equality for women for funding from this measure; to consider reports on the ongoing operation of the projects; and in the context of the mid-term review of the national development plan to advise on any new issues to be addressed.

A project appraisal committee was established in April 2001 to consider project applications submitted under strands (a) to (d) of the equality for women measures and to submit recommendations for my approval. This committee assessed projects having regard to the extent to which proposals addressed the following matters: barriers to women's labour market participation, entrepreneurship or their participation in decision making fora and contribution to greater level of gender equality in the workplace, including in relation to narrowing of gender pay gaps; involve key partners relevant to the project in genuine partnership arrangements; potential for multiplier effects, including the transfer of learning to the mainstream; value for money; include a focus on women who experience multiple forms of discrimination, where appropriate; geographical, urban and rural spread of projects; impact on gender equality, poverty and rural development; projects providing education and training will also be required to assist participants to achieve national certification and, where possible, to support the development of lifelong learning.

The committee submitted recommendations to me in June. I considered its recommendations and having regard to the funding available, I approved 49 projects for funding.

My Department also chairs a new committee set up in January 2001 under the national development plan, the equal opportunities and social inclusion co-ordinating committee. This committee will act as an advisory committee to the NDP-CSF monitoring committee and has the objective of securing the maximum application of NDP commitments on gender equality, social inclusion and equal opportunities. The work of this committee is ongoing and its terms of reference are as follows: to report to each meeting of the national development plan-community support framework, NDP-CSF, monitoring committee on equal opportunities, particularly gender equality, and on social inclusion matters; to review the equal opportunities and social inclusion impacts across the NDP, particularly for measures which are not targeted at categories which experience inequality or social exclusion; to review the results of targeted measures for the relevant categories; to promote the implementation of a mainstream approach to equal opportunities, in particular gender equality and social inclusion across the NDP-CSF expenditure areas; to promote and advise on the co-ordination of [855] policy on equal opportunities, particularly gender equality and social inclusion across the NDP-CSF expenditure areas based on research or other findings; to identify best practice for the promotion of equal opportunities and social inclusion; to monitor gender balance on the monitoring committees and to assist in the promotion of gender balance on these committees over the lifetime of the national development plan; to offer general advice on the evaluation of equal opportunities and social inclusion outcomes and to monitor the implementation of evaluation recommendations in so far as they relate to equal opportunities and social inclusion; consistent with the arrangements set out in the CSF for the mid-term review, to contribute to the mid-term review of the NDP-CSF by providing advice for the managing authorities and monitoring committees in relation to equal opportunities and social inclusion and on the realisation of equality and social inclusion outcomes.

On the PPF consultative group on male-female wage differentials, in accordance with a commitment in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, my Department is convening a consultative group, including representation from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the social partners to consider the recommendations of the ESRI research, How Unequal, Men and Women in the Irish Labour Market, including the case for a sectoral analysis in both the public and private sectors and to develop proposals for action or actions to address issues identified in the report for consideration by Government. The consultative group held its first meeting in May 2001. The group selected the following areas for sectoral studies: IT, electrical and electronic, retail, food and local government. A request for tender to undertake this work issued in September 2001 and the tenders received will be assessed by a sub-committee of the consultative group.

The gender equality monitoring committee, established on 10 June 1997, was set up to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the second Commission on the Status of Women. The following are its terms of reference: to monitor gender equality in Ireland, in the light of the recommendations of the second Commission on the Status of Women and the actions agreed at the fourth World Conference on Women; to draw up and submit to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, from time to time, a report on progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in a manner appropriate to Irish conditions; to make recommendations to Ministers to accelerate implementation of the recommendations of the second Commission on the Status of Women which have been accepted by Government or by Ministers and the Beijing Platform for Action, as [856] appropriate; and to serve as a forum for consultation.

The gender equality monitoring committee considered that research should be commissioned, inter alia, into the development of mechanisms to monitor progress in achieving gender equality in Ireland. It was decided that the research project would include recommendations on how to implement outstanding areas of the second Commission on the Status of Women. The project would also include proposals for monitoring outstanding recommendations and for changing the monitoring process.

Much had been achieved by the gender equality monitoring committee over the years. Three monitoring reports have been published – one in 1994, a second in 1996 and the third in 1999. These reports monitored the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on the Status of Women, indicating where progress was made and where obstacles to implementation occurred. However, the committee considered that the time had come to move forward into the future with a new agenda. The committee considered that the most efficient way to move forward was to draw up a national plan for women which would take up from the work of the second Commission on the Status of Women. New monitoring structures would be required for the national plan for women and the research would identify mechanisms to monitor progress in achieving gender equality. Accordingly, the gender equality monitoring committee held its final meeting on 28 November 2000 where Dr. Yvonne Galligan presented her report on the research, commissioned by the committee, on the development of mechanisms to monitor the achievement of gender equality in Ireland. Dr. Galligan's report was launched on 16 October 2001.

A working group on gender and equality proofing was established in November 1998. Partnership 2000 provided for a commitment to strengthening administrative procedures for equality proofing in the context of the national anti-poverty strategy. A working group including representatives of the social partners was set up by my Department to examine how to proceed with the implementation of this commitment. Two research projects were commissioned, one relating to gender proofing in the context of the Structural Funds, 2000-06, and a second project on equality proofing. The gender proofing report was finalised by the working group in July 1999 and the equality proofing report was finalised in January 2000 and both reports were presented to Partnership 2000.

A firearms legislation review group was established in July 1998. Its terms of reference are:

To consider the implications of the High Court judgment in the judicial review by the National Association of Regional Game Coun[857] cils and to recommend to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform not later that 31 December 1998 the amendments considered necessary to the Firearms Acts 1925 to 1990 consequent to the judgment.

The group submitted its report to me in November 1998.

A cross-departmental group on immigration was set up in April 2001 and is chaired by my Department. The purpose of the group is to give the Departments concerned an input into the development of immigration policy, to identify issues requiring a cross-departmental approach which need to be catered for in comprehensive new immigration legislation in fulfilment of the Government's commitment in this regard, and to consider how to address them. The group has not reported to date.

An interdepartmental committee on immigration, asylum and related matters was established in April 1997. Its purpose was to examine and report, at the request of Government, on immigration-asylum related issues on which an interdepartmental perspective was necessary. It reported to Government on matters referred to it on a number of occasions. It is not currently sitting and its role has largely been subsumed into the cross-departmental group on immigration.

The human rights commission selection committee was set up on 27 July 2000. Its terms of reference were to identify suitable persons for possible consideration by the Government for appointment to the Human Rights Commission. The committee completed its task on 24 October 2000.

A working group on the illegal and harmful use of the Internet was set up in February 1997. The terms of reference are as follows: to identify the nature and extent of the issues surrounding the illegal and harmful use of the Internet; to prioritise such issues with particular reference to the need to address the issue of child pornography in the short-term; to examine and assess the current approaches both domestically and internationally to addressing the problem of the illegal and harmful use of the Internet; in relation to those issues which can be domestically addressed, to identify the legal, technical and structural problems which arise and to make specific recommendations for their resolution in the short, medium and long-term as appropriate; and in relation to those issues which require resolution in an international context, to make recommendations which will inform policy in this regard. The report was published in July 1998.

An interdepartmental working group on the review of the Gaming and Lotteries Acts, 1956 to 1986, was set up in May 1999. The terms of reference are as follows: to review the regulatory environment within which gaming and lottery activities are carried out with particular reference to the 1956 to 1986 Gaming and Lotteries Acts, [858] any other relevant or proposed Irish legislation and international developments in the gaming and lotteries area; to identify the issues arising from such a review and to make recommendations designed to address these issues in the context of securing a modern regulatory environment while fulfilling necessary social policy objectives; and to furnish a report on the above for consideration by me and by Government by the end of 1999. The group published its report in June 2000.

A working group on the review of the coroner service was set up in December 1998. The terms of reference are as follows: to carry out a review of all aspects of the coroner service in Ireland and equivalent services in appropriate comparable jurisdictions; arising from such a review, and on the basis of broad consultation with interested parties, to identify the issues which must be addressed to ensure that the coroner service represents an appropriate response to the needs of society; to make specific recommendations in relation to these issues, including the most appropriate financial arrangements for the funding of the coroner service, the organisational structure within which the service is to be delivered, the nature of the core service to be delivered, the implications for other ancillary services and the legislative provisions required to implement such recommendations; to identify the specific steps which need to be taken in the short, medium and long-term in order to implement the proposed recommendations; and to furnish an interim report on the group's deliberations within a period of one year. The report was published in December 2000.

A juvenile justice review group was established in July 1998. The terms of reference for the group are as follows: to examine intervention and prevention strategies as a means of keeping children out of the courts; to examine why there appears to be an increase in the numbers of children coming before the courts; to establish the behavioural patterns of children coming before the courts in the lead up to a court appearance; to examine the present non-custodial options open to the courts when dealing with children; and to examine best practice models in existence in this country and in a number of other countries where community sanctions are in place. The work of the group is ongoing.

A justice and equality sector steering group was established in September 2000. The group was set up to: (a) facilitate cohesion in policy formulation and implementation across the mandates of the many organisations concerned; and (b) co-ordinate the approach of the agencies in the development and implementation of strategies to improve organisation, management and use of resources across the sector. The work of the group is ongoing.

A justice and equality sector quality assurance group was established in May 2001 to validate [859] performance indicators set out for the justice and equality agencies under the PPF and to verify the achievement of those targets. The work of the group is ongoing.

A heads of associated offices group was established in January 1997 to facilitate discussion between the Department and its associated offices on the SMI. The work of the group is ongoing.

A policy planning research unit was established in February 1998 to develop the Department's capacity for generating and utilising research as part of its policy planning functions. The work of the group is ongoing.

A communications steering group was established in September 2000 to consider the recommendations of the review of corporate and media communications in the Department conducted by Young Communications. The work of the group is ongoing.

A performance management implementation group was established in May 2000 to prepare for, monitor and assist in the development and implementation of the performance management and development system in the Department. The work of the group is ongoing.

A prisons staffing and operations review team was established in September 1998 to provide a credible record of what is actually happening in each prison, having regard to the role and function of the prison regime and the constraints which exist, establish the cost in man hours of running the prison with present rosters and work-posts, while providing for non-effective time e.g. sick leave and training; and make recommendations about how arrangements can be improved and/or work reorganised to deliver an effective service. The group reported in December 2000.

The expert review group on the probation and welfare service was established on 27 November 1997. The terms of reference of the group are as follows: to examine the role of the probation and welfare service having regard to recent and current developments, the needs of the service, in the context of its proper role, to deliver an effective and efficient service, the organisational status of the service and to make recommendations and report back to Government within four months.

The group produced two reports – the first report published in October 1998 and the final report published in July 1999. The conclusions-recommendations to the first report have, as far as it is practicable, been implemented. The final report is still under consideration, having regard to the value for money project currently under way by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The Commission on Liquor Licensing was established in November 2000. The terms of reference of the commission are as follows: (1) to review the liquor licensing system in the light of [860] all relevant factors, including systems for the licensing of alcohol in other countries, and to make recommendations for a liquor licensing system geared to meeting the needs of consumers, in a competitive market environment, while taking due account of the social, health and economic interests of a modern society; (2) in particular, to review the scope for a system of additional licences, to examine demand in areas that are under-pubbed, new areas of increasing population, and tourist areas and to examine other aspects of the licensing system, such as licences for theatres and places of public entertainment, the licensing of residential accommodation which does not come under the definition of an hotel, interpretative centres and other places where the sale of alcohol is ancillary to the main business carried out; (3) to examine the nature of the off-licence and particularly the method of access to the off-licensed trade in the interests of promoting better competition; (4) to inquire into other aspects of the licensing code, as may be appropriate; (5) to make recommendations for any necessary legislative changes to give effect to the recommendations put forward; and (6) to submit a report within three months of the first meeting on paragraph 3 of its terms of reference and a final report within two years of the first meeting on all other matters.

In line with these terms of reference, the commission presented an interim report on off-licensing in April of this year. The report contains recommendations relating to dormant licences, under-age drinking, off-licensing and certain related matters. The Government subsequently approved the publication of the interim report.

By way of response to the substance of the commission's recommendations, the Government noted the intention to bring forward proposals for legislation in relation to the off-licensed sector at the earliest opportunity. The preparatory work is at an early stage. This is not a simple task, however, given the complexity of existing legislation in this area. Indeed, the commission itself refers in the interim report to “the morass of licensing laws.” Regarding the recommendations not relating specifically to access to off-licences, the Government agreed that a co-ordinated response be developed by a high level, interdepartmental working group of the Departments and agencies concerned. The working group presented its report at the end of June. The Departments and agencies concerned have responded in a broadly positive and constructive way to the commission's recommendations and have indicated that they will be taking appropriate action to address them in due course. To underline the importance it attaches to the work of the liquor licensing commission, the Government has requested the working group to present a progress report on all actions taken in response to the interim report's recommendations by 31 [861] January 2002. The Government has also requested the commission to produce and submit additional interim reports on issues which can be progressed in advance of the commission's final report at the end of 2002. The commission has responded positively to this request and it is understood that a number of sub-committees have been established to look at specific areas within the liquor licensing code. The commission placed advertisements in national newspapers on 23 August last seeking submissions in relation to any aspect of the terms of reference and, in particular, to access to licences in urban and suburban centres of population; off-licence sales in convenience stores attached to garage forecourts; nightclubs, theatres and places of public entertainment and related public order issues; and registered clubs. it is understood that the commission is unable to say at present when further interim reports are likely to be ready for submission.

The expert group appointed to consider changes in the criminal law which were recommended in the Garda SMI report, held its first meeting on 6 May 1998 and reported to me at the end of July 1998. The terms of reference are as follows:

To consider changes in the criminal law recommended in the report of the steering group on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Garda Síochána with particular reference to Constitutional and European Convention on Human Rights implications and having regard to the critical balance referred to in the report between the rights of the individual and that of the common good; and to report to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform not later than 30 June 1998.

An environmental waste management policy group was established in June 1999 to integrate an environmental and waste management policy into the general prison management structure. The committee's September 2001 report is currently being considered by prison management.

The criminal justice technology group 1 – legal issues – was established in September 2000 to investigate and report on the legal issues vis-à-vis video linking courts and prisons for bail and remand hearings, client-counsel consultation and visits. The group has not yet produced its report.

The criminal justice technology group II – planning-building group – was established in September 2000 to investigate and report on the building and technical issues regarding video linking courts and prisons for bail and remand hearings, client-counsel consultations and visiting. The group has not yet produced its report.

A prisoner transportation review committee was established in December 1999 to identify the most cost effective method of prisoner transpor[862] tation and review current procedures. Its report was published in November 2000.

The Mountjoy complex redevelopment group was established in late 1999 to plan the redevelopment of the prison complex from both a building and regime perspective. Its first report was published in May 2000 and its second report was published in February 2001.

A committee to monitor and co-ordinate the implementation of the recommendations of the task force on the Traveller community was established in June 1998. Its terms of reference are: to co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the task force on the Traveller community which have been accepted by the Government or by Ministers; to draw up and submit to the Government from time to time, starting in 1999, a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations, including proposals for acceleration or prioritisation of implementation of recommendations; to re-examine recommendations where necessary in the light of changes in Government policy and practice and of legislative, demographic, social and economic change; and to serve as a forum for consultation on current issues of national importance affecting the Traveller community. The first progress report of the committee was presented to the Minister in December 2000 and was published in April 2001.

A high level steering group to implement the national anti-racism awareness programme, in partnership with the equality division of this Department was established on 6 January 2001. The steering group is broad-based and includes representatives of ethnic minority communities, IBEC, the ICTU, the community and voluntary sector, the farming sector, national bodies such as the Equality Authority and the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, NCCRI, relevant Government Departments and An Garda Síochána. The overall aim of the programme is to contribute to creating the conditions for building an inclusive and intercultural society in Ireland where racism is effectively addressed and cultural diversity is valued.

The terms of reference of the steering group are to implement the three year public awareness programme to address racism and to promote a more inclusive intercultural society and to provide a progress report to Government on an annual basis and publish an annual report. The first report of the group will be published at the end of 2001.

The working group on equality proofing was established under the PPF in October 2000 to provide an ongoing focus on equality proofing issues. The terms of reference of the group are: to monitor the progress made in implementing the equality proofing initiatives proposed, operate as a “learning mechanism” to ensure that the experience gained in gender, poverty and equality [863] proofing would be presented in a report, outline steps which should be taken to progress from the learning phase to a broader implementation of equality proofing, advocate an ongoing focus on equality proofing issues, support this ongoing focus through the expertise and knowledge mobilised within the working group and through projects resourced by the group and promote awareness of equality proofing through seminars, workshops, conferences.