There are two key pieces of legislation which define our legal responsibilities as an institution; The Equality Act and the Public Sector Duty.

The Equality Act 2010

This act came into force on 1st October 2010. It:

  • consolidates and streamlines current anti-discrimination legislation and strengthens the law to support progress on equality
  • replaces all existing equality legislation, including the Equal Pay Act (1970)
  • introduces new equality legislation covering employment, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services, the management of premises and the exercise of public functions
  • extends protection to a wide range of groups that face discrimination through the introduction of protected characteristics which are the grounds upon which discrimination is unlawful.

The nine Protected Characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief or non belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Find out more about the act on the Government website:

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The General Duty

The General Duty has three aims. It requires Higher Education Institutions, in the exercise of their functions, to show due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act
  • advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups. This involves considering the need to:
    • remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
    • meet the needs of people with protected characteristics
    • encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is low
  • foster good relations between people from different groups

Specific duties

The Duty is underpinned by specific duties. These are:

  • Publication of information: Higher Education Institutions must publish annually, no later than 31 January, information to demonstrate compliance with the equality duty.
  • Equality objectives: Higher Education Institutions must prepare and publish measurable objective(s) in a manner that is accessible to the public.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provide more information:

Updated by the Equality and Diversity Office - December 2017