Equality and Diversity and the Equality Act 2010
Blaenau Gwent Council recognises that people might suffer discrimination and be disadvantaged for many reasons. It also has both a moral and statutory obligation to reflect the needs of a diverse community through its service provision and as an employer. It is committed to promoting equality and diversity across all of our services and ensuring that they are accessible to all. The Act puts fairness at the heart of society, harmonises discrimination law, strengthens the law to support progress on Equalities and devolves the responsibility for discrimination to Wales.
The Act consolidates the existing 116 different pieces of equality legislation gives people the right not to be treated less favourably by public authorities. The protected characteristics (strands) to which the General public sector equality duty apply are:
3. Gender reassignment status
4. Pregnancy and maternity
6. Religion and belief
7. Sex (Was Gender)
8. Sexual orientation
9. Marriage and Civil Partnership
The Welsh Language is not part of the Equality Act as it is covered by its own specific piece of legislation – The Welsh Language Act 1993 – but is no less important.
The main points of interest
The following came into force on the 6th April 2011
• a new integrated General public Equality Duty (that extends the public duties to age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender reassignment, also including pregnancy and maternity) The responsibility for these have been devolved to WAG.
There is the need to have due regard to the need to:
• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
• Advance Equality of opportunity
• Foster good relations
• Covers employment and the provision of goods and services (covers both staff and the public who access services)
• Covers 8 of the protected characteristics – not Marriage and Civil Partnership
Specific Duties have been created to support compliance of the Equality Duty.
1. Setting equality objectives by the 2nd April 2012
2. Consultation and Involvement
3. Assessing impact (Equality Impact Assessments)
4. Reporting progress against objectives
5. Gender pay and job segregation
6. Public Sector Procurement
7. How inspection supports the equality agenda;
8. Reporting by the Welsh Ministers.
The Strategic Equality Plan 2012 - 2016
The Strategic Equality Plan (including Equality objectives and an accompanying Action Plan) was agreed by Full Council on the 22nd March and will be operational from the 2nd of April 2012.