Creating a fairer Britain
Under the general equality duty (as set out in the Equality Act 2010), public authorities are required to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
The protected grounds covered by the equality duty are: age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation. The equality duty also covers marriage and civil partnership, but only in respect of eliminating unlawful discrimination.
The law requires that this duty to have due regard be demonstrated in decision making processes. Assessing the potential impact on equality of proposed changes to policies, procedures and practices is one of the key ways in which public authorities can demonstrate that they have had due regard to the aims of the equality duty.
It is also important to note that public authorities subject to the equality duty are also likely to be subject to the obligations under the Human Rights Act. We would therefore recommend that public authorities should consider the potential impact their decisions could have on human rights.