Public Sector Equality Duty: Specific duties

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On March 17 2011 the government announced that it was withdrawing the draft specific duties regulations it has published on 12 January because it believed that there was scope to strip out unnecessary process requirements.  A short period of consultation will take place, closing on 21 April 2011.   It is envisaged that the revised specific duties will come into force in July 2011.

The revised draft proposals are:

 

Equality information

Information on the effect of public sector organisation’s policies and practices on its staff and service users must be published by 31 December 2011, and no less than yearly in future.

Equality analysis

An HEI will be expected to ‘understand the effect of their policies and practices on equality’ but no process is prescribed, and there is no requirement to publish evidence.   This replaces the earlier requirement to carry out equality impact assessments or equality analysis.  Earlier case law indicates that a public body needs to be able to show how it has considered equality issues and feedback from consultation in its decision-making.

Equality objectives

A public sector body is required to set one or more equality objectives by 6 April 2012, and subsequently at least very four years. 

Engagement

There is no longer a requirement to publish evidence of engagement.

The specific duties are tools to support meeting the three parts of the Public Sector Equality Duty general duty.