Creating a fairer Britain
The Commission has formal powers to enforce the public sector equality duty, and to issue compliance notices. Compliance notices require authorities to provide information on what steps they will take to meet the duties. If the authority fails to provide that information or to take those steps, the EHRC can apply to a county court for an order requiring compliance. The court can make an order requiring compliance, and if the authority ignores it, the authority may be found to be in contempt of court.
In addition, the Commission or any interested individual can take a judicial review of the decisions of public authorities based on their obligations under the duty.
The Equality Act 2010 puts all public authorities in Great Britain under a statutory duty, while carrying out their functions, to have due regard to the need to:
This means that they must take into account the different needs of men and women in all decision-making and policy development concerning the provision and targeting of services.
In 2009 the Commission wrote to all local authorities that were identified by Map of Gaps 2 as having no specialised support services for women experiencing violence. We asked them to inform us of their current and planned provision of services, and how they had taken into account the Gender Equality Duty (which was replaced by the current Public Sector Equality Duty in April 2011) when determining the extent and type of services , including the information and consultation they used when setting their gender equality objectives.
Based on the information received, we evaluated the authority’s compliance with their legal obligations under the previous Gender Equality Duty. In total responses from 93 authorities were evaluated.
We served compliance notices on three local authorities, each of which subsequently produced satisfactory gender equality schemes. We asked another 10 local authorities to revise their Schemes to meet the minimum requirements, and encouraged 56 more to make improvements. All have since responded to our satisfaction.
Find out more about the Public Sector Equality Duty.