The legislative framework

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010 and replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act to more effectively tackle disadvantage and discrimination on the basis of any of the following protected characteristics:
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender re‐assignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership 
  • Pregnancy and maternity 
  • Race 
  • Religion or belief (including no religion or belief)
  • Sex 
  • Sexual orientation
 

Public Sector Equality Duty

As part of the Act, a new public sector equality duty came into force (which replaced the previous race, gender and disability duties). Its aim is to ensure that public bodies play their part in promoting a fair and more equal society.
 
The public sector equality duty consists of a general duty, which came into force on 5 April 2011, and specific duties which came into force on 10 September 2011.
 
The general duty consists of three aims, which require public bodies to have due regard for the need to:
  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who don’t.
The specific duties require public bodies to:
  • Publish relevant, proportionate information demonstrating compliance with the general duty at least annually, starting 31 January 2012.
  • Prepare and publish specific, measurable equality objectives at least every four years starting 6 April 2012.