Written statement to Parliament

Equality Act 2010: commencement of provisions on the new public sector equality duty and positive action in recruitment and promotion - WMS

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 12 January 2010 by Lynne Featherstone and Baroness Neville-Jones.

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 12 January 2010 by the parliamentary under secretary of state for equalities and criminal information (Lynne Featherstone), and in the House of Lords by Baroness Neville-Jones.

The government has committed to commencing the provisions in the Equality Act 2010 in stages, in order to allow businesses and the public and voluntary sectors sufficient time to review their policies and plan effectively for implementation. Most of the provisions in the Act came into effect on 1 October 2010. This statement is about provisions which will come into effect on 6 April 2011. These provisions are sections 149-157 (on the public sector equality duty); and section 159 (positive action in recruitment and promotion) of the Act.

Today I am publishing:

  • Draft regulations setting out what the specific duties supporting the public sector equality duty will require public bodies to do, and to which of the public bodies listed in Schedule 19 to the Equality Act they will apply. This follows the government’s consultation last year. The government will be finalising the draft regulations and laying them before parliament for debate in the next few weeks, to come into effect on 6 April 2011
  • A draft order amending schedule 19 to the Equality Act, which sets out the list of public bodies to which the general equality duty will apply. The Government will be finalising this draft Order and laying it before Parliament for debate in the next few weeks, to come into effect on 6 April 2011
  • A document summarising the responses to the consultation on specific duties ‘Equality Act 2010: The public sector equality duty. Promoting equality through transparency’ and setting out how the government has taken account of them and made adjustments to the draft regulations so that they better deliver the policy intent as set out in the consultation document
  • Short practical guidance produced by the Government Equalities Office on the public sector equality duty and on positive action in recruitment and promotion. The guides are available at www.equalities.gov.uk. The government guidance will be complemented by a detailed essential guide and thematic guides on the public sector equality duty from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which will also be developing a statutory code of practice on the equality duty later this year.

Copies of these documents will be placed in the House library.

The new single public sector equality duty will put into practice the approach to equality I set out in the government’s equality strategy, published on 2nd December 2010. It is a powerful means of embedding equality considerations into all the policies and practices of the public sector. The equality duty brings to an end the era of government-inspired bureaucratic targets and shifts power to local people. The community, not Whitehall, will be in the front line for holding public bodies to account.

It will remain the responsibility of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to enforce the duty. Positive action in recruitment and promotion is a useful means of providing flexibility for public as well as private sector employers to achieve a more diverse workforce.

Date: Wed Jan 12 12:40:00 GMT 2011