Tania Burchardt and Polly Vizard
Published April 2007
In October 2007, a unified Commission on Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will begin operation in Britain. The Commission will have responsibility for monitoring and promoting human rights and equality on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, transgender status, and religion/belief. As a precursor to the Commission, the Prime Minister established the Equalities Review, an independent, high-level, investigation of the causes of persistent inequality and disadvantage in British society. Its final report, Fairness and Freedom, in February 2007 adopted the capability approach as its measurement framework and recommended that all public bodies use the framework to “agree priorities, set targets, and evaluate progress towards equality” (p.110). In particular, the Review recommended that the framework be used by the CEHR to inform its regular ‘state of the nation’ report. This paper, and its companion, Developing a Capability List: Final Recommendations of the Equalities Review Steering Group on Measurement (CASEpaper 121), were prepared as background papers to assist in the development of the measurement framework for the Equalities Review. It discusses the challenges in translating capability theory into a practical measurement tool in the context of measuring inequality in Britain in the 21st century. This includes the definition of equality, a procedure for generating and revising a list of central and valuable capabilities (this is considered in more detail in CASE/121), a measurement framework for monitoring trends in inequality, exploring the causes of inequality, and identifying possible policy interventions, and, finally, the types of information and analysis which are required.