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Equality and diversity

Public Sector Equality Duty

The public sector equality duty consists of a general equality duty, set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 itself, and specific duties which are imposed by secondary legislation. The general equality duty came into force in September 2011.

In summary, those subject to the General Equality Duty must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The Act helpfully explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:

  • Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
  • Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people.
  • Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.

Meeting different needs involves taking steps to take account of disabled people's disabilities. It describes fostering good relations as tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups.

The General Equality Duty

The General Equality Duty is supported by specific duties set out in separate regulations which came into force on 10 September 2011. These regulations will promote better performance of the Equality Duty by requiring public authorities to :-

1) publish information to demonstrate compliance with the equality duty (at least annually)

2) Objectives must be prepared and published no later than 6 April 2012 and subsequently at intervals of not greater than four years beginning with the date of last publication.

The objectives must be specific and measurable and transparent about how we are responding to the Equality Duty.

Last updated Monday, 14th December 2015

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