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Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act and set outs national principles, which will be followed in Eastern Cheshire, to ensure the successful delivery of world class health and social care services, namely:

  • to involve and empower people
  • to target different communities through effective partnerships
  • to ensure excellence in our health and social care services
  • to become a high performance, high reputation organisation through partnership working

Section 149 of the Equality Act sets out the Equality Duty - a duty on public bodies and others carrying out public functions.  It ensures that public bodies consider the needs of all individuals in their day to day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.

The Equality Duty supports good decision-making – it encourages public bodies to understand how different people will be affected by their activities so that policies and services are appropriate and accessible to all and meet different people's needs. By understanding the effect of their activities on different people, and how inclusive public services can support and open up people's opportunities, public bodies are better placed to deliver policies and services that are efficient and effective. The Equality Duty therefore helps public bodies to deliver the Government’s overall objectives for public services.

The Equality Duty replaces the three previous public sector equality duties – for race, disability and gender. It covers the following nine protected characteristics:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality
  • religion or belief – this includes lack of belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • marriage and civil partnership

The Equality Duty has three aims. It requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, 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 Equality Duty is supported by specific duties which require public bodies to publish relevant, proportionate information demonstrating their compliance with the Equality Duty and to set themselves specific, measurable equality objectives.

As clinical commissioning groups are authorised as statutory NHS organisations they will become responsible for the 'Public Sector Duty' which will mean:

  • setting equality objectives every four years (from April 2013)
  • publishing equality data (patient data, workforce data) on an annual basis
  • ensuring all providers complete the Equality Delivery System (EDS) and that EDS is written into contracts
  • completing Equality analysis (Equality Impact Assessments)
  • ensuring the corporate website includes Equality and Diversity and is fully accessible