Equality, Diversity and Human Rights
The Equality Act 2010 came into effect in October 2010. It condenses nine pieces of legislation into one single Act and replaced the following pieces of legislation: Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, Equality Act 2006 (Part 2), and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.
The Act establishes additional anticipatory legal duties for public authorities: The “public sector equality duties” are in two parts referred to as the general duty and the specific duties. The duties are complimentary to each other, in practice this means taking a pro-active approach to meeting all aspects of the Act.
The General Duty requires public authorities, when carrying out their functions (and on other persons when carrying out public functions), to have due regard to:
- the need to eliminate conduct which the Act prohibits
- the need to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not
- The need to foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not.
In addition to the new general public sector equality duty that was brought into force by the UK Government in April 2011, the Act also made provision for Welsh Ministers to be able to make regulations and impose specific equality duties to enable better performance of the general duty by public authorities in Wales.
The Welsh Government have developed and introduced specific duties for listed public authorities in Wales. These are set out in the Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011 and came into force on 6 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
Public authorities also have a duty under the Human Rights Act 1998 requiring them to not act incompatibly with the rights under the European Convention for the Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. In the courts the Equality Act 2010 (and all other primary UK legislation) is interpreted in ways that are compatible with the Human Rights Act.
The Human Rights Act is derived from the European Convention on Human Rights and became law in November 1998. It enabled any person who considers they have been a victim of a human rights violation to challenge a public authority in the courts or tribunals.
The purpose of the Human Rights Act is to support a culture of respect for everyone’s human rights and a feature of everyday life. The convention rights include:
- Right to life
- Prohibition of torture
- Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to a fair trial
- Right to respect for private and family life
- Freedom of thought
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom of assembly and association
- Right to marry
- Right to an effective remedy
- Prohibition of discrimination
- Restriction on political activity of aliens
- Protection of property
- Right to education
- Right to free elections
- Abolition of the death penalty
You can find our more about equality and human rights laws by following the links below:
Information produced by Wrexham County Borough Council is available in English and Welsh and in a range of accessible formats upon request including:
- Audio – web and CD versions
- Braille documents
- British Sign Language DVD
- Electronic information
- Easy-read and pictorial documents
- Large Print (Arial 18+) documents
- Languages other than English and Welsh
Our customers can choose to conduct their business with the Council in English or in Welsh. For customers who need to communicate with us in other languages we can arrange for a telephone interpreter.
In addition we can arrange a range of face-to-face communication support such as British Sign Language interpreters.
Diversity is important and the Council wants to maintain a workforce that has a wide range of skills, qualifications and experiences. We are committed to ensuring that all our employment policies and practices for employees are fair, advance equality of outcome, eliminate discrimination and foster good employee relations. As a public authority the Council is committed to take steps to promote equality of opportunity and combat discrimination and to gather information about employees regarding their age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership. The term "equality monitoring" describes the process used to gather, store, and analyse this information, which is used to improve our services, policies and procedures.
The Equality Act 2010 came into effect in October 2010, replacing nine different laws to update and strengthen the previous legislation.
In Wales, the Equality Act 2010 (Wales) Regulations 2011 place upon public authorities in Wales a specific legal duty that requires the Council to have effective arrangements in place to monitor equality and have effective arrangements in place to gather, analyse and publish employment monitoring data.
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) requires that all public authorities covered under the specific duties in Wales should produce an annual equality report each year.
The report explains how the Council is compliant with the Equality Act 2010 general duty across our employment functions. It summarises the equality employment monitoring data for employees at the Council from 1 April to 31 March each year. This duty only requires the information to be published, however our report includes commentary to explain the information, including discernible trends against national published external data where identified.
The aim of an equality impact assessment (EIA) is to ensure that equality issues have been consciously considered throughout the decision making processes of the work we do.
The EIA highlights any areas of risk and maximises the benefits of proposals in terms of equality. It therefore helps to ensure we have considered everyone who might be affected by the proposal. It also helps us to meet our legal responsibilities under the general equality duties (Single Equality Act 2010). There is also a requirement under Human Rights legislation for Local Authorities to consider Human Rights in developing proposals.
Our approach to EIAs will help us to strengthen our work to promote equality. It will also help to identify and address any potential discriminatory effects before introducing something new or changing the way we work and reduce the risk of potential legal challenges.
Wrexham County Borough Council has developed a template with support from the Equality and Human Rights Commission template and the Welsh Local Government Association.
The template covers all equality assessment needs from initial screening to a full Impact Assessment, by following the 6 steps:
1. Screening the equality needs of the proposal
2. Data collection and evidence
3. Involvement and consultation
4. Assessing impact and strengthening the proposal
5. Procurement and partnerships
6. Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing
Equality leads in all six North Wales Local Authorities, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, Snowdonia National Park Authority, North Wales Police and the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner North Wales have been working collaboratively under the North Wales Public Sector Equality Network (NWPSEN) to advance the equality agenda and to tackle issues on inequality that cut across the public sector throughout North Wales.
An extensive search of reports organisationsand recommendations around inequalities was undertaken by members of this group, in order to examine and explore the detailed data which led to the development of shared objectives in 2012:
- Objective 1: Reduce Health inequalities
- Objective 2: Reduce unequal outcomes in Education
- Objective 3: Reduce inequalities in Employment and Pay
- Objective 4: Reduce inequalities in Personal Safety
- Objective 5: Reduce inequalities in Representation and Voice
- Objective 6: Reduce inequalities in Access to information, services, buildings and the environment
In September 2011 an Engagement Event was held which provided the further information necessary to set Regional Equality Objectives for North Wales Public Sector . Each of the organisations put actions in place to address the key issues identified in their respective organisations.
The Network fully subscribe to the philosophy of “Nothing about us without us”, and believe it is vital to involve and engage a range of stakeholders across North Wales, including those who represent people from each of the protected characteristics, to ensure that the Network continue to tackle the issues which are relevant in North Wales today. This event was part of the ongoing commitment to engagement and aimed to provide both an update on progress thus far and the opportunity to discuss how best to continue to address the issues identified as important.