Equality is about treating individuals fairly, supported by legislation designed to promote equality and eliminate discrimination and harassment. Diversity is about the recognition and valuing of difference for the benefit of the Council and the individual. Equality and diversity are not interchangeable but are interdependent. There is no equality of opportunity if difference is not recognised and valued.
The Equality Act came into force in October 2010 to protect people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.
It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone.
It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Re-assignment
- Marriage and Civil Partnership
- Religion or Belief
- Pregnancy and Maternity
These are called ‘protected characteristics’.
The Equality Act introduced a new Public Sector Equality Duty that came into force in April 2011. This means that all public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.
The general duty has three main aims. It requires public bodies to have ‘due regard’ to:
- eliminate discrimination;
- advance equality of opportunity; and
- foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities.
Having ‘due regard’ means consciously thinking about the three aims of the equality duty as part of the process of decision making. This means that consideration of equality issues must influence the decisions reached by the Council such as how it acts as an employer, how it develops, evaluates and reviews policy or how it designs services. Undertaking equality impact assessments is an excellent tool for demonstrating due regard.
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations came into force in September 2011 designed to help public bodies meet the general duty. The specific duties require public bodies to publish relevant, proportionate information showing compliance with the Equality Duty, and to set equality objectives.
In this section you will find our key policies and action plans showing how we will be working to improve equality and diversity at the Council. Please follow the links below:
- Single Equality Scheme 2016-2020
- Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs)
- Community Engagement
- Translation & Interpretation Services
If you have any further queries regarding equality and diversity you can contact the Council's HR Team on 01353 665555.