Legal background

The Equality Act 2010

Everyone’s right to be treated fairly is covered in law by the Equality Act 2010, which came into force from October 2010. The Act simplifies and harmonises legislation around discrimination by replacing numerous discrimination laws (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) with one law. Many legal requirements remain the same but the Act strengthens and extends some protections.

The nine characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010 are:

  • Age
  • Being a transsexual person
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation

When a person feels that they have not been treated fairly because of any of these characteristics it is called unlawful discrimination.

The Public Sector Equality Duty

In April 2011 Section 149 of The Equality Act 2010 came into force, called the Public Sector Equality Duty. Stevenage Borough Council has a statutory obligation to comply with the requirements of the Duty which are to carry out our functions in a way that gives due regard to the need to:

  • Remove discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is unlawful under this Act
  • Promote equal opportunities between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • Encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

This is known as the general Public Sector Equality Duty. There are also specific duties –  legal requirements for publishing information to help public bodies meet their obligations under the general Duty:

  • Equality information - relating to people with protected characteristics who are employees of the council or who are affected by our policies and practices, such as customers and residents. Our equality and diversity annual report contains this information.
  • Equality objectives - what the council feels it needs to achieve in order to meet the general duties. Our policy and action plan ‘Accessible Services, Inclusive Communities’ sets out our objectives for Stevenage.

For more information please visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

 

Contact details

Equality and Diversity
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
Danestrete
Stevenage
SG1 1HN

equalities@stevenage.gov.uk