Equality legislation

Details of equality legislation

We will promote equality and diversity in carrying out our functions and in delivering our services as a regulator and as an employer.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 protects nine groups of people from discrimination. These groups are known as ‘protected characteristics’. They are age, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief, race, sex, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

The Equality Act applies at work, covering employees, ex-employees, job applicants, contract workers and the self-employed. The Equality Act also applies to organisations like us that provide services to the public. It also applies to anyone who sells goods or provides facilities.

Further information and guidance about the Equality Act can be found from the Government Equalities Office or the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The public sector equality duty

As a ‘public authority’, under the Equality Act 2010, we must meet the ‘public sector equality duty’. This is a particular duty in addition to the other general requirements under the Equality Act 2010.

In carrying out our functions, section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 says that we have to pay ‘due regard’ to the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality 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.

‘Advancing equality of opportunity’ means that we need to have ‘due regard’ to the need to:

  • remove or minimise disadvantages faced by people who share a protected characteristic
  • take steps to meet the needs of people who share a protected characteristic
  • encourage people with protected characteristics to take part in public life or in other activities where their participation is low.

The public sector equality duty means that, as a public body, we must consider equality when we make decisions – such as how we act as employers; how we develop, evaluate and review policy; how we design, deliver and evaluate services; and how we commission and procure services from others.

One of the ways that we meet this requirement is to do an equality analysis for key areas of our work. This is where we look at some of our key activities to understand how they may impact on groups from the protected characteristics.