The Equality Act and our duties

The Equality Act is a single piece of legislation that brought together several pieces of legislation into one. It was introduced on 1 October 2010, and it aims to:

  • protect people's rights and encourage equal opportunities
  • update, simplify and improve the previous legislation
  • be a simple and accessible framework of discrimination law.

You can read the full Equality Act 2010 on the Government legislation website.

To find out about other legislation, past and present, download the guide to anti-discrimination law and equality legislation below.

Who does it protect?

Under the Act, people are not allowed to discriminate, harass or victimise anyone because of the following 'protected characteristics':

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion and belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation.

Public sector equality duty

The Equality Act includes an equality duty for public bodies. It says that we must show 'due regard' to:

  • eliminating discrimination, harrassment and victimisation,
  • advancing equality of opportunity
  • fostering good relations between people who share a protected characteristic
  • fostering good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who don't.

Specific duties

There are also duties specifically for public authorities that we must also abide by. These are to publish:

  • equality objectives at least every four years
  • information to show that we comply with the Equality Duty at least annually.

What we're doing

We need to make sure that we consider equalities in all of our work. We include equality objectives in our departmental business plans, and our equality scheme shows how we plan to improve equal opportunities in everything we do.

We will publish diversity data about people who are affected by our services and policies on this website or on East Sussex in Figures.

We carry out Equality Impact Assessments (EqIAs) on our policies, plans and services to make sure that we minimise or remove any negative impact on residents and staff.

Acrobat (PDF)
Anti-discrimination Law and Equality Legislation (28k)
Summary of the anti-discrimination and equality legislation which ensures people's right to be treated equally in their work and private lives.(5 pages)