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The Government Equalities Office has announced the creation of a new Equality Advisory and Support Service, to provide support to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals facing discrimination. The service will encourage the early and informal resolution of problems where possible and will provide advice and support via telephone. Lay advocacy support will be provided for those who need face-to-face help. Where it is not possible to resolve problems informally or through alternative dispute resolution and the individual in question has no access to legal advice then the service will help them prepare to issue a claim.
This new service has come out of government consultation on proposals for new arrangements for providing equality information, advice and support following the decision to cease funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission's helpline and legal grants programme in 2012.
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