All public bodies in Ireland, including the Courts Service, have a duty to promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the human rights of their employees, customers, service users and everyone affected by their policies and plans.
Under the terms of the of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, three core steps are to be taken by public bodies. These are:
1. In preparing strategic plans, public sector bodies must assess and identify the human rights and equality issues that are relevant to their functions. These issues must relate to all of its functions as policy maker, employer and service provider.
2. Public bodies must then identify the policies and practices that they have in place or that they plan to put in place to address these issues.
3. In their annual reports, or equivalent documents, public bodies must report in a manner accessible to the public on their developments and achievement in that regard.
In 2020, a Working Group was established in the Courts Service to plan on how the public sector approach can be met and, as a result of their work we have now finalised our action plan. This work aligns with the Courts Service’s commitment to the modernisation agenda, which is aimed at providing a modern Courts Service to meet the needs of everyone who lives in Ireland.
Our goals for implementing this plan are to
• Incorporate our commitment to embed Human Rights into how we conduct our business; and lead, develop and manage our staff through inclusion of Public Sector Duty in our People & Organisation Strategy,
• Develop a framework of living and behaving in a manner that underpins Human Rights and our Public Service Duty,
• Develop a culture in which the Public Sector Values are embedded by ensuring the Values are known by all; how they are demonstrated is informed by our stakeholder engagement and staff are trained and developed to live these in the course of their work, and
• Create an awareness of diversity and inclusion and how individual views may be challenged
The Action Plan will be integrated into our annual Business Plans, our Statements of Strategy and progress will be reported in our Annual Reports.