The American Roots of Contract Compliance

John Carr examines the treatment of race and equality in America in comparison with Great Britain.

On March 24th, the Local Government Act 1988 received Royal Assent. Section 17 of the Act, for the first time, explicitly enshrines in English law the principle of 'contract compliance'. Henceforth, companies that wish to win local authority contracts in the United Kingdom will have to give specific assurances that they are complying with the Race Relations Act of 1976 which requires them, inter alia, not to discriminate in any way against potential or actual employees. Failure to do so could render the firm ineligible to tender, thus costing them valuable business. This is not quite as tough as it first seems; the enforcement mechanisms under the Act are, deliberately, almost non-existent.

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