The equality duty requires public bodies to consider how the decisions that they make, and the services they deliver, affect people who share different protected characteristics. It also requires public bodies to consider how their activities as employers affect people who share different protected characteristics. The specific duties require public bodies to publish information to show they did this.
The department believes that by publishing this information proactively, we can provide greater transparency on our performance in making fair decisions and promoting equal opportunities across the department and the health and care system in England. Our aim is to enable our stakeholders to assess our performance on equality across key functions for all protected characteristics.
The department takes a proportionate approach to meeting its equality duties. Arrangements are in place to ensure that decision makers fully understand how departmental policies are affecting people with different protected characteristics and that they routinely consider how they can mitigate any adverse impact identified. This includes putting in place arrangements to disaggregate the information used in decision making by protected characteristic as far as possible.
For each function or policy that has the potential to have a substantial effect on equality, officials are required to think about the three aims of the public sector equality duty and keep records showing how they have done so. Where it is clear from initial consideration that a policy will not have any effect on equality, no further analysis is undertaken. For major work programmes that may have significant impact on people with different protected characteristics, policy officials may chose to publish separate documents (equality analyses or impact assessments) which set out in detail how the equality duty was discharged. A list of such documents published in 2012 are available.
Another requirement of the aforementioned regulations is the publication of equality objectives which the department completed in April. An Action Plan to deliver those objectives can be found at Equality Objectives 2012-16. The department will soon start publishing regular progress reports towards meeting these objectives.
In June, the department successfully completed its delivery of the 18 month Voluntary Framework Agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission which has helped us make progress towards our aim of fully mainstreaming equality, diversity and rights into the foundation of department’s core business as an employer, policy maker and the leader of the health and social care system England. A summary of the quarterly reports submitted to the commission under the Voluntary Agreement in 2012 will also be published shortly.
As part of this information release, the department is also publishing information on its employees
Read last year’s equality information
Please send questions, comments and suggestions to the equalities team