Equality legislation

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) protects people from unlawful discrimination in the provision of services and public functions, employment, premises, education and associations.  Its broad purpose is to integrate consideration of equality and good relations into the day-to-day business of public authorities.  The Act sets out the protected characteristics which are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

The Act brought into law the public sector equality duty which requires that, when exercising public functions, public service providers must have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

The Act explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:

  • Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
  • Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
  • Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low

The general duty is supported by specific duties, which require public bodies to:

  • Publish information to show their compliance with the equality duty, at least annually
  • Set and publish equality objectives, at least every four years
  • Publish diversity data of their workforce annually (if more than 150 employees)

More detail is available from the Equality & Human Rights Commission.

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018

These regulations came into force in September 2018. They require public sector bodies to make sure their website and mobile apps can be used by as many people as possible.

This includes people with:

  • Impaired vision
  • Motor difficulties
  • Cognitive impairments or learning disabilities
  • Deafness or impaired hearing

Our Accessibility statement sets out how we are doing this.

Read the full legislation at: Public sector bodies accessibility regulations 2018.

Read more about Understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies on GOV.UK.