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New public sector equality duties

The Government has now laid the draft Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 before Parliament. Public bodies have had to comply with the general public sector equality duty in S.149 of the Equality Act 2010 since April 2011. The specific regulations are intended to promote ‘the better performance’ of that duty.

The Regulations require a specified public authority to publish: (i) information demonstrating compliance with the S.149 general equality duty at least annually, including information relating to employees (but only where there are 150 employees or more), or other persons affected by its policies and practices, who share a relevant protected characteristic; and (ii) one or more specific and measurable equality objectives that it should achieve to comply with the S.149 equality duty, at least every four years.

Public authorities, other than educational institutions set out in Schedule 2, must publish relevant information demonstrating compliance by 31 January 2012, and their first equality objectives by 6 April 2012. Educational institutions must publish both their information and their equality objectives by 6 April 2012.

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