Public Sector Equality Duty
What is the Public Sector Equality Duty?
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 introduced the Disability Equality Duty (DED) which required public authorities, including government departments, to consider how their policies and practices affect disabled people.
The Equality Act 2010 introduces the Public Sector Equality Duty which brings together the DED with other existing duties (on race and gender). It also covers age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment. The new duty comes into force on 5 April 2011.
The Duty has three aims. When developing or implementing policy, it requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups
- foster good relations between people from different groups.
‘Due regard’ means to consciously consider these three aims when making decisions about policy or practice which would affect people. For example, the duty covers:
- how a public authority acts as an employer
- how it develops policies
- how it designs and delivers services
- how it procures services.
What happens if the Public Sector Equality Duty is not considered?
If a public authority fails to give due regard to the duty, it could be challenged through a judicial review made by an individual or by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Equality analysis and engagement
In order to meet the duty, a public authority would need to analyse the impact of its policies and practices in respect of equality. It should be able to demonstrate what has been considered, what information has been used, and what decisions have been reached.
See the Government Equality Office and Equality and Human Rights Commission website for more information on equality analysis and engagement.
- Disability equality: a priority for all (PDF, 28 pages, 380 KB)
- Equality and Human Rights Commission: Equality impact assessment quick-start guide (PDF, 12 pages, 170 KB)
- Equality and Human Rights Commission: Equality impact assessment guidance (PDF, 52 pages, 450 KB)
- The Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act
- UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
- Disabled people and legislation
- Involving disabled people
Beyond the Office for Disability Issues
- Equality Act guidance on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website
- Government Equalities Office
Page last reviewed: 30 March 2011