Procurement equality duties

All public bodies are legally required in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other prohibited conduct
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

These duties are set out in The Equality Act 2010 and The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012.

The Equality Act defines the following as protected characteristics:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

Specific duties on procurement

Specific duties apply when a public authority awards a contract or framework agreement which is covered by the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015. These are:

  • when a public authority awards a contract or framework agreement on the basis of the most economically advantageous offer, it must have due regard to whether the award criteria should include considerations to enable it to better perform the equality duty
  • when a public authority proposes to stipulate performance conditions in a contract or framework agreement, it must have due regard to whether the conditions should include considerations to enable it to better perform the equality duty

The Fairer Scotland Duty, Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, came into force in Scotland in April 2018. This requires public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to how they can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions. 

Further information