Published: 13 Dec 2021
Dear Ms Badenoch,
Government departments and the Public Sector Equality Duty
We welcome your letter of 10 December to government departments to remind them of their legal obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, and of your commitment to ensuring that fairness is at the heart of their work.
We encourage your officials to send similar advice to all public bodies, including local authorities, to ensure that they also comply with the Duty. Public bodies should view the Duty not as burden, but a strategic tool to help them achieve their goals and to improve equality, eliminate discrimination and foster good relations among those they serve.
It is good practice for public bodies to produce Equality Impact Assessments to show how they have fulfilled their obligations under the Duty. This helps them to avoid unintended consequences for people with protected characteristics, such as the impacts on the Windrush generation when the Duty was not thoroughly considered in developing immigration policies. Work to consider the equality impact is part of the evidence gathering that informs good policy-making and decision-taking.
We encourage departments and public bodies to publish their equality assessments when possible to ensure transparency, accountability and assurance to interested parties. Publication, where possible, will also promote good practice for other public bodies to follow.
As Britain’s national equality regulator, the Commission is ready to offer advice and support to all departments and public bodies on how they can most effectively consider equality when performing their vital roles serving the public. We can be contacted at ChairandCEO@equalityhumanrights.com
Equality and Human Rights Commission