Equality law

The Public Sector Equality Duty

Public authorities should now be conversant with their obligations in relation to impact assessment in order to fulfil the public sector general equality duty as required by the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012.

The General Equality Duty

The general equality duty requires public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation or any other prohibited conduct.

  • Advance equality of opportunity by, in particular: removing or minimising disadvantage suffered by people due to their protected characteristics, by taking steps to meet the needs of people with certain protected characteristics where these are different from the needs of other people, or by encouraging people with certain protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.        

  • Foster good relations, including by tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups.

Meeting the general equality duty may involve treating some persons more favourably than others. Meeting the needs of different people may include specific steps which take account of disabled persons’ disabilities.

The Specific Equality Duties

Each listed authority is required to:

  • Report progress on mainstreaming the equality duty.

  • Publish a set of equality outcomes and report progress towards achieving these.

  • Assess and review policies and practices.

  • Gather and use employee information.

  • Publish gender pay gap information.

  • Publish statements on equal pay.

  • Consider award criteria and conditions in relation to public procurement.

  • Publish in a manner that is accessible.

ECHR Guidance

To support Scottish public authorities in meeting their equality duties, the EHRC has produced the following non-statutory guidance.