Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 brings together the provisions of previous equal rights legislation into a single legal framework and creates a single Equality Duty (the S149 general duty).
It also introduced the term “protected characteristics” to describe the groups to whom it gives protection. The protected characteristics are:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment.
The single equality duty
Section 149 of the Act sets out a general duty which requires the council to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
The Act defines "due regard" as taking steps to:
- Remove or minimise disadvantage suffered by persons who share a protected characteristic
- Meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are different from the needs of persons who do not share that characteristic
- Encourage persons who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in which participation by such persons is disproportionately low
- Tackle prejudice
- Promote understanding between groups in society
The government has also introduced specific duties to support better performance of the general duty. The council carries out these duties by using equalities impact assessments for all major decisions and policy changes.
What are we doing in Haringey?
- Equality Impact Assessment of all our major policies/strategies and all proposals for major changes in structures and service delivery models
- Equalities monitoring of policy outcomes to ensure that we identify where policy may be exacerbating existing inequality and producing new ones, and taking actions to correct them
- An annual business planning process, through which our equality objectives will be implemented, monitored and managed through the council’s performance management framework
- Recruitment and personnel related policies that are fair, transparent and supported by procedures that all staff and applicants have confidence in
- Supporting events and local area-based activities to promote bridging and positive social interaction between different communities and groups
Find out more
Up to date information on the latest developments regarding the equalities act can be found on the Home Office website (external link).
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