The public sector equality duty consists of a general equality duty and specific duties.
Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
Advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups; and
Foster good relations between people from different groups.
This means that consideration of equality issues must influence the decisions reached by public bodies – in how they act as employers; how they develop, evaluate and review policy; how they design, deliver and evaluate services, and how they commission and procure services from others.
Having due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity involves considering the need to:
Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics;
Meet the needs of people with protected characteristics; and
Encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is low.
Fostering good relations involves tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups. Complying with the general duty may involve treating some people different to others, as far as this is allowed by discrimination law.
The specific duties require public bodies to set specific, measurable equality objectives and to publish information about their performance on equality, so that the public can hold them to account. All information must be published in a way which makes it easy for people to access it.
Information showing that they have complied with the general duty
Public bodies covered by the specific duties must publish sufficient information to show that they have considered the three aims of the general duty across their functions. Information must be published at least annually.
The information published must include information on the effect that the public body’s policies and practices have on equality for service users, and (for those with 150 or more staff) on equality for their employees. Public bodies with 150 or more staff will be expected to publish information on significant and long‑standing inequalities such as the gender pay gap and the proportion and distribution of disabled employees and staff from ethnic minority communities.
How does the council's workforce reflect the community we serve? This document also provides some information about the gender pay gap.
Evidence of equality analysis undertaken
To comply with the general duty, public bodies need to understand how their policies and practices will affect equality for different groups, and do this early enough to influence how things are done. Under the specific duties, they must publish evidence of equality analysis they have undertaken to establish whether their policies and practices would further, or have furthered, the three aims of the general duty. They must also publish details of the information they considered in conducting that analysis.
Information must be published at least annually.
Public bodies covered by the specific duties must publish equality objectives that will help them to further the aims of the general duty. These must be based on published equality evidence and analysis, and they must be specific and measurable. Public bodies must also publish how they will measure progress towards their equality objectives.
Objectives and accompanying information must be prepared and published at least every four years. From April 2016 Erewash Borough Council has approved a new Equality Policy that incorporates the new objectives.
Details of engagement undertaken
Public bodies covered by the specific duties must publish information about engagement they have undertaken with people who have an interest in furthering the three aims of the general duty. They must also publish details of the engagement they undertook in developing their equality objectives.
The Essential Guide to the Public Sector Equality Duties from the Equality and Human Rights Commission is available by following the link.