Equality and diversity

Ensuring that people are treated fairly and given fair changes

What is Equality?

Equality is about making sure people are treated fairly and given fair chances. Equality is not about treating everyone in the same way, but it recognises that their needs are met in different ways.

The Equality Act 2010 came into force in October 2010 and legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. The Act covers nine protected characteristics and these are the grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful.  Every person has one or more of these protected characteristics, so the Act protects everyone against unfair treatment.

Equality focuses on those areas covered by legislation, namely the nine 'protected characteristics' of

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion/Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

As part of the Equality Act 2010, public authorities must comply with the public sector equality duty (the “equality duty”). The equality duty replaced the previous race, disability and gender equality duties and was developed to extend across all the protected characteristics. It consists of a general equality duty, supported by specific duties and requires public authorities to consider or think about how their policies or decisions affect people who are protected under the Equality Act.

Public Authorities must publish information to show their compliance with the equality duty as part of the decision making process.  The information published must have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act,
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not,
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

In addition, public authorities also have specific duties and must do the following:

  • publish equality information at least once a year to show how they’ve complied with the equality duty,
  • prepare and publish equality objectives at least every four years.

The publication of our Equality Strategy will support us in meeting the general and specific duties placed on us as part of the Equality Act.