The Equality Act 2010 provides a new cross-cutting legislative framework to replace existing anti-discrimination laws with a single act.
The aim is to simplify and strengthen the previous legislation and remove inconsistencies; and to deliver a modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society. This makes the law easier for individuals and organisations to understand and comply with.
The provisions of the Equality Act are being brought into force at different times to allow time for the people and organisations affected by the law to prepare for them. Most of the provisions came into force on the 1 October 2010. The Government is considering how the remaining provisions will be commenced for businesses, public bodies and individuals.
One of the key changes is that it extends the original criteria to encompass the following nine protected characteristics:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
In particular, the new law improves protection for:
- disabled people and their carers and families,
- pregnant women and new mums,
- and transgender people.
The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person.
Public Sector Equality Duty came into force on 5 April 2011, and this section of the Equality Act specifically relates to the duties for local authorities.
In order to demonstrate our compliance with the duty the following information is available to view:
As a public body we are required under the Equality Act 2010 to publish one or more equality objectives that we believe we can reasonably achieve. The following document provides details of the two broad objectives chosen by the Council and supporting actions. One objective relates to our current functions as a service provider and one relates to that as an employer.