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Public Authority Equality Duties. Paul McMahon Partner. Why?. Despite 30 years of Equality Legislation, discrimination not a thing of the past. Reports indicate: Part time women earn 38% less per hour than full time men

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Public Authority Equality Duties

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  • Despite 30 years of Equality Legislation, discrimination not a thing of the past. Reports indicate:
  • Part time women earn 38% less per hour than full time men
  • 17% pay gap between hourly earnings of full time men and full time women
38% of mothers, 11% of fathers and 18% of carers have left or been unable to take a job because of family/personal commitments
  • 42% of disabled people have experienced difficulty in accessing public services
  • Over 1,000,000 disabled people are not in work and on benefits but keen to work
  • Although 8.4% of population from ethnic minorities, they are under represented in Central and Local Government
equality duties differ from other anti discrimination legislation in two critical ways
Equality duties differ from other anti-discrimination legislation in two critical ways

Public Authorities have to be proactive in:

  • Eliminating discrimination and harassment
  • Promoting equality of opportunity, not simply attempting to safeguard against discrimination
underlying principle
Underlying Principle
  • To mainstream into public service functions a pro-active approach to the elimination of discrimination
  • Affect every public service function
  • Duty arises at time of consideration of implementation of policies
  • To shift onus from individuals to authorities
  • To address institutional discrimination
  • Doesn’t seek equality of outcome but address disadvantage so as to create a level playing field – to build in equality before discrimination occurs
the strands of discrimination covered by the equality duties
The strands of discrimination covered by the equality duties
  • Race (2 April 2001)
  • Disability (4 December 2006)
  • Gender (6 April 2007)
  • Both general and specific duties apply in these 3 areas
who is subject to the duties
Who is subject to the duties?
  • General duty applies to Public Authorities
  • In respect of Disability and Gender a Public Authority defined as any person “certain of whose functions are of a public nature”
  • In respect of Race the Public Authorities are listed (more than 43,000 at the last count!)
  • Specific duty applies to listed Public Authorities only
  • Can also apply to contracted out Public Authority services and functions and private and voluntary bodies carrying out public functions.
the general duty
The General Duty
  • “In carrying out its functions the Public Authority shall have due regard to [the different equality strand-related duties]”
  • Functions
  • Due regard
    • relevance
    • proportionality
gender equality general duty
Gender Equality General Duty
  • The need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment
  • Promote equality of opportunity between men and women.
disability equality general duty
Disability Equality General Duty
  • Promote equality of opportunity between disabled people and other people
  • Eliminate disability discrimination
  • Eliminate harassment
  • Take account of disabilities, even where effect is disabled people are treated more favourably than other people
  • Promote positive attitudes towards disabled people
  • Encourage participation by disabled people in public life
race equality general duty
Race Equality General Duty
  • Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination
  • Promote equality of opportunity
  • Promote good relations between people of different racial groups
the specific duty
The Specific Duty
  • Applies to listed bodies only
  • A means to an end
  • Requirement to publish equality schemes
gender equality specific duties
Gender Equality Specific Duties
  • Preparation and publication of a Gender Equality Scheme
  • Publish an equal pay statement
  • Duty on education authorities in relation to schools
gender equality scheme
Gender Equality Scheme
  • Required to prepare and publish a gender equality scheme by June 2007
  • Showing how the Public Authority will meet its general and specific duties
  • Setting out gender equality objectives
  • And actions to achieve these objectives
preparing the scheme
Preparing the Scheme
  • Consider the need to include pay objective
  • Consult stakeholders, including trade unions
  • Undertake a gender impact assessment
  • Gather information on the effect of policies on women and men
  • Implement actions within three years
  • Report against the scheme every year
  • and review every three years
equal pay statement
Equal Pay Statement
  • For bodies with at least 150 staff
  • By 28 June 2007
  • Review and report every three years
  • Separate, but complementary to, the requirement to consider an equal pay objective
duty on education authorities for schools
Duty on Education Authorities for Schools
  • As well as publishing their own scheme Education Authorities must ensure that schools they manage
    • Gather information
    • Undertake impact assessments
    • Carry out steps to meet the duty
    • Report on these activities
disability equality specific duties
Disability Equality Specific Duties
  • Preparation and publication of a Disability Equality Scheme
  • Involve disabled people in producing the scheme
  • Demonstrate that actions have been taken and outcomes achieved
  • Report on progress
  • Review and revise Scheme
disability equality scheme
Disability Equality Scheme
  • List functions
  • Involve Disabled People in the development of the scheme
  • Gather Information on the effect of policies and practices on disabled people
  • Have a method statement for impact assessing policies and practices
  • Identify steps which it is proposed will be taken towards the fulfilment of general duty (the action plan)
  • Arrangements for reviewing the effectiveness of the action plan and using the information to review the scheme
annual report
Annual Report
  • To contain a summary of:
    • The steps taken;
    • The results of information gathering
    • The use made of information gathered
race equality specific duties
Race Equality Specific Duties
  • Preparation and publication of a Race Equality Scheme
  • Review required at 3 yearly intervals
race equality scheme
Race Equality Scheme
  • List functions and policies assessed
  • Set out arrangements for assessing and consulting on impact of proposed policies on promotion of race equality
  • monitoring policies for adverse impact on promotion of race equality
  • publishing results of assessments and consultations and monitoring
  • ensuring public access to information and services
  • training staff in connection with positive duties
the specific duty on employment
The Specific Duty on Employment
  • Monitoring by reference to racial group should be carried out on numbers of staff in post and applications for employment, training and promotion
  • If 150 or more full-time staff should also monitor numbers of staff from each racial group who:
    • receive training
    • benefit or suffer detriment through performance assessment procedures
    • are involved in grievance procedures
    • are the subject of disciplinary procedures
    • cease employment
the specific duty on education
The Specific Duty on Education
  • Prepare and publish a race equality policy, maintain a copy of it and fulfil arrangements in it
  • Assess and monitor impact of policies on pupils, staff and parents, focus on pupils’ attainment
  • Publish results of monitoring
key aspects
Key Aspects
  • Involve affected groups
  • Obtain and analyse information
  • Review and report
  • Implement equality objectives
  • Staff training and expertise
  • Impact assessments
  • Judicial Review
  • Commission for Equality and Human Rights can issue formal assessments and issue compliance notices
examples of the equality duties in practice
Examples of the Equality Duties in Practice
  • Leicester City Council offered building apprenticeships tailored to suit women. Also provided childcare during training
  • Effect:
    • Customer satisfaction improved. Female council tenants able to receive assistance from female workers and appreciated by victims of domestic violence, ethnic minorities and the elderly
Guy & St Thomas’s Hospital Trust introduced flexible working and alternative shift patterns
  • Effect:-
    • Number of vacancies fell from 44% to 5%
    • Reduction in level of agency nursing cover
    • Number of operations cancelled due to lack of nursing staff dropped by 90%