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, harassment and victimisation
  • advancing equality of opportunity
  • 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 4 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.

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.

Our Council Commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion can be found on our website.

Our equality objectives are included in our annual Council Plan 2024/25 and are:

  • We will lead by example, delivering services that are informed by the views, strengths and needs of our communities and providing an inclusive and supportive working environment for our staff. To help achieve this we will take practical actions on equality, diversity and inclusion as set out in the Corporate Equality Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.

  • We will implement the new service and associated workplace adjustment pathway agreed following the Workplace Adjustments review.

Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance on the Equality Act

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a wide range of guidance on the Equality Act 2010.