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Public Sector Equality Duty

The Public Sector Equality Duty consists of a General Equality Duty, which is set out in Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and Specific Duties which are imposed by secondary legislation (The Equality Act gives ministers the power to impose specific duties on public bodies to enable them to perform the Equality Duty more effectively). 

General Equality Duty:

The General Duty came into effect on the 6th April 2011. The 3 aims of the equality duty are to have due regard to the need to:

1.  Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by the Act.

2.  Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. 

3.  Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The General Equality Duty requires organisations to consider how they could positively contribute to the advancement of equality and good relations.  It requires equality considerations to be reflected into the design of policies and the delivery of services, including internal policies, and for these issues to be kept under review.

Specific Duties:

The Specific Duties came into force on 10 September 2011. The specific duties help public bodies perform the Equality Duty better. They do this by requiring public bodies to be transparent about how they are responding to the Equality Duty – requiring them to publish relevant, proportionate information showing compliance with the Equality Duty, and to set equality objectives.  The Government believes that public bodies should be accountable to their service users.  Publishing information about decision-making and the equality data which underpins those decisions will open public bodies up to informed public scrutiny.  It will give the public the information they need to challenge public bodies and hold them to account for their performance on equality.  Moreover, knowing that such information will be published will help to focus the minds of decision-makers on giving proper consideration to equality issues.

Public Sector Equality Duties:

  • Publish equality information on an annual basis.
  • Publish equality objectives by 6th April 2012, and at least every four years after that
  • Ensure the objectives are specific and measurable, and set out how progress towards the objectives will be measured
  • Publish the objectives in a reasonably accessible format either as an individual document or as part of another report

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