Equalities Legislation

The Equality Trust is campaigning for councils to voluntarily adopt the Socio-Economic Duty (found in Section One of the Equalities Act and for Government to enact this legislation, which was neglected by the 2010 Coalition Government.

"The UK is one of the most economically and socially unequal countries in the developed world, however the government does have an opportunity to change this. The UK government has a powerful tool in the form of the socio-economic duty ... which would reduce inequality". https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/socio-economic-duty

Just Fair also run a campaign on the Socio-Economic Duty, along with a range of other campaign priorities focussed on social justice and human rights.

Read about them here http://justfair.org.uk

It has been ten years since the Equality Act 2010 came into force. This Act brought together 116 pieces of anti-discrimination legislation in to require equal treatment in private and public services, and access to employment, for the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 introduces a socio-economic duty on public bodies that requires them:

when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise its functions’ to ‘have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.’

Public bodies are asked to consider how their decisions and policies could increase or decrease inequality that results from socio-economic disadvantage.

Despite being passed by UK Parliament in 2010, successive UK governments have refused to bring Section 1 into force.

In April 2018, the Fairer Scotland Duty came into force as Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 in Scotland. This duty requires local authorities to actively consider how they could reduce inequalities of outcome in any major strategic decision they make; and to publish a written assessment, showing how they have done this. After extensive consultations, the Welsh Government plans to enact the duty on 31 March 2021 as part of its programme to help public bodies deliver A More Equal Wales.

Unfortunately, the duty is not yet implemented in England or Northern Ireland. However, there are a number of English local authorities who are undertaking activities designed to tackle socio-economic disadvantage and therefore are acting in the spirit of the duty.

You can find out more about JustFair's 1forequality campaign on this link: