Section 27: Conciliation
97.Section 27 gives the CEHR the power to make arrangements for the provision of conciliation services (as defined in subsection (9)).
98.Conciliation services can be provided in relation to disputes where proceedings have been or could be brought under specified sections of the equality enactments (listed in subsection (1)). These are civil proceedings in respect of:
goods, facilities and services, premises, public functions and education under the SDA;
goods, facilities and services, premises, public functions and education under the RRA;
goods, facilities and services, premises, public functions and education under the DDA (except for proceedings about admissions and exclusions);
goods, facilities and services, premises, public functions and education under the provisions for religion and belief in this Act;
activities covered by the Sexual Orientation Regulations that can be made under Part 3 of this Act, and;
further and higher education under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations.
99.Conciliation services can also be provided (subsection (2)) in relation to disputes about a landlord’s reasonableness in relation to consent to the making of disability related improvements to let residential property in England or Wales. Subsection (3) makes similar provision in respect of consent to the making of disability related works in Scotland.
100.Subsection (4) requires the CEHR to exercise this power to ensure that, so far as reasonably practicable, the conciliation services are available to those who want them.
101.Subsection (5) prevents information communicated to a person providing conciliation services from being used in litigation without the consent of the party who provided the information.
102.Subsection (6) excludes Commissioners, CEHR staff, Committee members and Investigating Commissioners from providing conciliation services.
103.Subsections (7) and (8) require the CEHR to make administrative arrangements to prevent information connected with a conciliation case from being passed to a member of the CEHR or its staff, except in the following circumstances: where the parties to the dispute agree; where the information does not make the individuals identifiable (e.g. where information is provided in aggregate form); or where the information is necessary for conciliation arrangements to be made.
104.Subsection (10) provides the Secretary of State with an order-making power (specified in section 39(4) as subject to an affirmative resolution procedure) to amend this section so as to vary the range of disputes in respect of which the CEHR can arrange conciliation services.