PUBLIC SECTOR EQUALITY DUTY
The UK’s Equality Act 2010 contains the public sector equality duty ( PSED) which requires public authorities to have due regard, when exercising their functions, to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. Public authorities and office holders listed on Schedule 19 of the Equality Act 2010 are independently responsible for complying with the PSED.
The Equality Act 2010 enabled the Scottish Ministers to place specific duties on Scottish public authorities to assist in a delivery of the public sector equality duty. The Scottish specific duties came into force in May 2012, and require listed public authorities to:
- publish, every two years, a report on progress with mainstreaming the equality duty into its functions
- publish, every four years, a set of equality outcomes and report on progress after two years
- undertake equality impact assessments of new or revised policies and practices, and publish the results
- gather and publish employee diversity data, including on recruitment, development and retention; and use this information to better perform the equality duty
- publish, every two years, gender pay gap information (those public authorities that have at least 150 employees)
- publish, every four years, statements on equal pay that include information on occupational segregation (those public authorities that have at least 150 employees) – starting with gender and, from 2017, also covering disability and race
- consider equality within award criteria and conditions in relation to public procurement.
Scottish Ministers are listed in the Scottish specific duties and are required to publish information alongside local authorities, health boards, colleges and universities, uniformed services and NDPBs etc.
The Scottish Ministers are subject to an additional duty to publish proposals to assist Scottish public authorities to better perform the public sector equality duty, and report on progress in this area.
Monitoring and compliance of the PSED falls to the Equality and Human Rights Commission ( EHRC) which has a mandate to challenge discrimination, and certain powers in connection with the enforcement of the PSED. Scottish Ministers have no locus to monitor the performance of other listed authorities, or to provide training and guidance on the PSED.