The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) brings together and replaces the previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. It simplifies and strengthens the law, removes inconsistencies and makes it easier for people to understand and comply with it. The majority of the Act came into force on 1st October 2010.
The Act includes a new public sector equality duty (the ‘general duty’), replacing the separate duties on race, disability and gender equality. This came into force on 5th April 2011.
The new general duty covers the following protected characteristics:
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Race - including ethnic or national origin, colour or nationality
- Religion or belief - including lack of belief
- Sexual orientation
It applies to marriage and civil partnership, but only in respect of the requirement to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination.
What is the general duty?
The aim of the general duty is to ensure that public authorities and those carrying out a public function consider how they can positively contribute to a fairer society through advancing equality and good relations in their day-to-day activities. The duty ensures that equality considerations are built into the design of policies and the delivery of services and that they are kept under review. This will achieve better outcomes for all.
Public bodies are required to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act
- 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
Specific duties in Wales
The broad purpose of the specific duties in Wales is to help listed bodies in their performance of the general duty and to aid transparency.
What are the specific duties?
The specific duties in Wales are set out in the Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011. The specific duties in Wales came into force on 6th April 2011.
The specific duties in Wales cover:
- Strategic Equality Plans
- Assessing impact
- Equality information
- Employment information
- Pay differences
- Staff training
- Annual reporting
- Welsh Ministers’ reporting
Strategic Equality Plan
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is pleased to introduce its Strategic Equality Plan for the period 2020-2024. The purpose of the Strategic Equality Plan is to improve equal opportunities within our community in service delivery, employment, commissioning, leadership and working in partnership.
The activities in the Action Plan of this Strategic Equality Plan clearly show our strong commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote equal opportunities and good relations between people visiting, living and working in Merthyr Tydfil.
As a Council, we have a duty to tackle and challenge discrimination and disadvantage so that people feel safe from harassment and everyone has access to high quality services. This Strategic Equality Plan will help us to ensure that we focus on the positive outcomes for people in Merthyr Tydfil and that our services are accessible and delivered effectively and efficiently.
Our Equalities Vision for Merthyr Tydfil is “a place where diversity is valued and respected and everyone can participate, flourish and have the opportunity to fulfil their potential free from discrimination and prejudice.”
The Council will work towards achieving this Vision through our role as a community leader, service provider, commissioner and employer, and we will work in partnership to reduce inequalities and to improve the well-being of the County Borough.
The Council will use its leadership role to promote equality and diversity and share ideas and good practice with partners and other service providers. We will continue to refine and develop our services, including respective monitoring systems, to help us gain a better understanding of our staff and the wider local communities and to enable us to meet everyone’s diverse needs.
Socio-Economic Duty (31 March 2021)
The Socio-Economic Duty places a responsibility on the Council to actively consider (‘pay due regard’ to) how we can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by Socio-Economic disadvantage when making strategic decisions.
The duty gives us an opportunity to do things differently and put tackling inequality genuinely at the heart of key decision making. The overall aim of the duty is to deliver better outcomes for those who experience Socio-Economic disadvantage.
The duty will be a key mechanism in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities, and will be extremely important when we recover from the current crisis.