15 September 2011 #Employment
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 came into force on 10 September 2011. The Regulations set out the specific public sector equality duties that certain public bodies must comply with. The aim of the specific duties is to help public bodies comply with the general duty to promote equality in the workplace which has been in force since 5 April 2011.
The first specific duty requires public bodies to publish information that demonstrates its compliance with the general duty. As a reminder, the general duty provides that public bodies:
The information required under the specific duty should relate to employees and other people affected by the public body’s policies and practices who share a relevant protected characteristic. (The requirement to publish information relating to employees only applies to public bodies with more than 150 employees.) Public bodies (other than schools) have until 31 January 2012 to publish the information and schools have until 6 April 2012. The information should be published at least
The second specific duty requires public bodies to set their own equality objectives. The objectives should be a way for the public body to achieve the goals set out in the general duty (listed above) and they should be specific and measurable. They should be revised and published at least every four years and always made available to the public. Public bodies have
until 6 April 2012 to publish their first set of equality objectives.
We can see that the specific duties focus on transparency as a method of holding public bodies accountable with a move away from the tick box approach. Public bodies should start collating their information and data in preparation for the deadlines as the reputation of a public body may suffer or succeed depending on how the public react to the information provided.
Guidance on the specific duties is expected to be released shortly and we will update you in due course.