Public sector equality duty guidance published by Commission

12 January 2011

Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance [1] that explains what public authorities in England and non-devolved bodies in Scotland and Wales [2] have to do to comply with the public sector equality duty.

From 6 April 2011, when this part of the Equality Act 2010 comes into force, public authorities will need to consider what they are doing to tackle discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

The new duty includes age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation [3].

Public authorities are also expected to advance equality of opportunity as well as fostering good relations between different groups.

The Government has today published regulations to help public authorities in England and non-devolved bodies in Scotland and Wales make sure they meet these responsibilities [4].

The Commission’s guidance on the public sector equality duty is the latest in its series of publications that explain the Equality Act 2010. This can be found on its website at www.equalityhumanrights.com/ea2010.

Sheila Kumar, Group Director Regulation, at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“Our role as a regulator is to help public authorities understand what they need to do and help them achieve the desired outcomes. Meeting these requirements will help public authorities make sure their services are appropriate for their communities. Better informed decision-making and policy development should help public services become more efficient cost-effective and meet the needs of service users. Therefore, as well as being a legal obligation, it makes good business sense.”

Ends

For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.

For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.

Notes to editors

[1] The Commission has produced a range of non-statutory guidance which provides practical guidance on how public bodies can comply with the Equality Duty. The guidance can be found here or can be requested via its helpline for England 0845 604 6610. These guides are:

  • The essential guide to the public sector equality duty.
  • Equality analysis and the equality duty.  A guide for public authorities. 
  • Engagement and the equality duty.  A guide for public authorities.
  • Equality objectives and the equality duty.  A guide for public authorities.  
  • Equality information and the equality duty.  A guide for public authorities.


[2] A list of public bodies in England and non-devolved bodies in Scotland and Wales that have to abide by the public sector equality duty is published in the revised schedule 19 of the Equality Act 2010. This list is compiled and published by the government.

[3] This replaces separate duties for disability, gender (including gender identity) and race established in legislation which has been superseded by the Equality Act 2010.

[4] Government regulations for England and non-devolved bodies in Scotland and Wales on the specific public sector equality duty can be obtained from the Government Equality Office at www.equalities.gov.uk .

Guidance for Scotland and Wales

Specific duty regulations for Welsh and Scottish public bodies are expected to be published by at a later date by their respective governments. EHRC Scotland and EHRC Wales are working closely with the Scottish Government and Welsh Assembly respectively to make non statutory guidance available following receipt and publication of those regulations.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.