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Equality Act 2010

Equality Act 2010

Brief Summary

The Equality Act 2010 replaces previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. It simplified the law, removing inconsistencies and making it easier for people to understand and comply with.  It also strengthened the law in important ways, to help tackle discrimination and inequality. 

The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) 2011 is made up of a general overarching equality duty supported by specific duties (came into force 10.9.2011) intended to help performance of the general equality duty.  The general equality duty (5.4.2011) is set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.  

The General Equality Duty

In the exercise of functions, the Trust has to have due regard to the need to: 

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.    
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.  
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
These are often referred to as the three aims of the general equality duty.

Advancing equality of opportunity involves in particular, having due regard to the need to:    
  • Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
  • Take steps to meet the needs of people with certain protected characteristics where these are different from the needs of other people. 
  • Encourage people with certain protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.  

This includes taking into account the needs of disabled people and treating some people more favourably. 

Personal Protected Characteristics (PPC) under the Equality Act 2010 are:
  1. Disability
  2. Gender re-assignment
  3. Marriage and civil partnership
  4. Pregnancy and maternity
  5. Race (includes colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins)
  6. Religion or belief (includes lack of religion or belief)
  7. Sex / gender
  8. Sexual orientation
NB  There are different levels of protection and areas of coverage for each PPC.

As part of the PSED, the Trust has to meet the following requirements:
  • Publish annual equality information (accessibly) from 31.1.2012 onwards.
  • Gather, analyse and use equality information.
  • Develop and publish Equality Objectives (EO) by 6.4.2012 then review at least every four years and produce annual progress reports. The Equality Objectives set out the way the Trust intends to meet its duties under the PSED.
  • The Trust must demonstrate how it has paid due regard to the general equality duty in decision and policy making and publish information accordingly. (The Trust uses Equality Analysis to help demonstrate compliance). Engagement can help with developing an evidence base, decision making and transparency rather than making assumptions.

Summarised from Equality and Human Rights Commission.  (July 2014), ‘The essential guide to the public sector equality duty'

Source of information

For more information go to The Equality and Human Rights Commission website


A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham