Public sector equality duty
Produced in partnership with Zoe Bedford of Ellis Whittam
Public sector equality duty

The following Public Law practice note Produced in partnership with Zoe Bedford of Ellis Whittam provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Public sector equality duty
  • Scope of the general equality duty
  • Relevant protected characteristic
  • Who is subject to the public sector equality duty?
  • What are public functions for the purpose of the public sector equality duty?
  • Exceptions to the public sector equality duty
  • Eliminating prohibited conduct
  • Advancing equality of opportunity
  • Favourable treatment
  • Fostering good relations
  • More...

The public sector equality duty (PSED) as defined and set out in Part 11 of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) comprises:

  1. a general equality duty—the over-arching requirement or substance of the duty, supported by

  2. specific duties that are intended to help performance of the general equality duty

For more information about the specific duties, see Practice Notes:

  1. Specific public sector equality duties—England

  2. Specific public sector equality duties—Scotland

  3. Specific public sector equality duties—Wales

Equality law in general applies on a case-by-case basis. The principle behind the need for the PSED is to tackle systemic discrimination and disadvantage affecting people with particular protected characteristics by integrating consideration of advancement of equality and good relations into the day-to-day business functions of public authorities and bodies subject to the duty. It requires equality to be considered:

  1. in the design of policies

  2. in decision making

  3. in the delivery of services

and for these to be kept under review.

The PSED is set out in EqA 2010, s 149. It has applied to public authorities, and those exercising public functions, across Great Britain since it came into force on 5 April 2011.

EqA 2010, s 149 replaced the previous three separate public sector duties on race, gender and disability equality (Race Relations Act 1976, s 71, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, s 76A and Disability Discrimination Act 1995, s 49A—all repealed), bringing the duties under one Act, and

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