Public Sector Equality Duty
The Public Sector Equality Duty came in to force in April 2011 (s.149 of the Equality Act 2010) and it brought the 3 previous duties on disability, gender and race together into a single duty, which were extended to cover the remaining protected characteristics (age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment).
Public authorities like Cabinet Office are now required, in carrying out their functions, to have due regard toward the need to achieve the objectives set out under s149 of the Equality Act 2010 to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
The Public Sector Equality Duty is supported by the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, which require public authorities named on schedule 1 of the regulations to publish:
- equality objectives at least every 4 years (from 6 April 2012)
- information to demonstrate their compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty (from 31 January 2012)
This is to ensure we are fully transparent and to illustrate how we have fulfilled the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty.
Since 2010 the Cabinet Office has undergone significant change. Business Units and Corporate Services have been considering the impact of the Equality Act on the delivery of units’ business objectives.
An objective on digital delivery
This objective demonstrates that the government’s digital agenda recognises the need to be fully inclusive. The concept of digital inclusion lies at the heart of the strategy and success in reaching the 9.2 million adults that have never used the internet will inevitably be a measure of success.
The Government Digital Service aims to make sure ‘digital by default’ services are accessible to everyone by working with departments to provide assisted digital services for people who are not online and supporting the digital inclusion agenda.
We will begin by:
- publishing the government digital strategy by Quarter 4 2012 to 2013
- publishing departmental implementation plans by Quarter 4 2012 to 2013
- further milestones will be published early in 2013 to 2014
An Honours nominations objective
The inclusion of an Honours objective is intended to reflect the broad aim for nominations to reflect the overall diversity of British society.
Cabinet Office will “increase the number of honours nominations for women to 50% by the end of 2014 (41% achieved in New Year 2012)”.
At a later date we will publish details of the activities planned to help us achieve a list that reflects the diversity of the population at large.
A workforce objective focused on disability
This objective recognises that changes to the Cabinet Office population and estate have identified new challenges associated with accessibility. This objective relates to a piece of planned work to review access to ICT and other adjustments in light of the office moves.
Cabinet Office will enhance the employment experience for disabled staff by 31 March 2014.
We will do this by:
- reviewing the process for managing adjustments by 30 June 2012
- establishing a benchmark by reviewing policies and practice against the Employer’s Forum on Disabilities (EFD) standards by 31 August 2012
- consulting staff and stakeholders to agree priorities based on EFD evaluation report by 30 September 2012
- making changes based on the review recommendations between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013
Previous objectives published as part of the Single Equality Scheme are also available:
Since 2010 we have been working together with the Government Equalities Office and representatives from Cabinet Office units to prepare staff for changes to the legislation. In particular, we have provided workshops to support Cabinet Office staff to embed the concept of “Due Regard” into our day-to-day work.
This work will continue and help inform appropriate departmental objectives.
Our equality information relates to members of staff that are employed by the Cabinet Office. Work continues to include all the protected characteristics.