Equality Act’s socio-economic duty to be abandoned
The socio-economic duty set out in the Equality Act 2010, which would have required all public sector bodies to tackle wider socio-economic problems when making strategic decisions, is to be scrapped.
While the main provisions of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010, a number of provisions, including those within Sections 1-3 dealing with the introduction of a socio-economic duty for the public sector, were identified as needing further consideration by ministers. The duty would require public sector bodies to exercise their functions in a way designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.
The Government has now announced that the socio-economic duty will be “scrapped for good” because it would force public authorities to take into account inequality of outcome when making decisions about their policies and in reality, it would have been just another bureaucratic box to be ticked, i.e. more time filling in forms and less time focusing on policies that will make a real difference. The Government, however, has reiterated its commitment to implementing the single public sector equality duty in April 2011.