On 17 March 2011, Ministers made an announcement to Parliament about the new Equality Duty. They confirmed that the general duty will come into force as planned on 5 April 2011. This is a positive duty that will help public bodies to deliver effective policies and public services, while increasing transparency and democratic accountability.
Draft specific duties regulations to support the general duty were published on 12 January 2011. Since publication, the Government has considered the draft regulations further in the light of two key policy objectives: ensuring that public bodies consider equality when carrying out their functions, and not imposing unnecessary burdens and bureaucracy.
On 17 March, the Government published a policy review paper which seeks views on new draft regulations designed to free up public bodies to do what is appropriate in their circumstances, to take responsibility for their own performance, and be held to account by the public.
The closing date for responding was 21 April 2011.
From 5 April, public bodies will need to comply with the new general duty. To help public bodies understand what their legal obligations are under the general duty and how they might achieve good practice, GEO is working closely with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ensure clear, practical guidance is made available as soon as possible.
Click here for policy review paper ‘Equality Act 2010: The public sector Equality Duty: reducing bureaucracy’