We have a commitment to meeting our duties as specified in the Equality Act 2010 which requires us to take a proactive approach to equalities and inclusion.
We also have a responsibility to ensure that organisations we commission, to provide services on our behalf, take the same positive approach to equality.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous legislation and created a single legal framework, providing clearer, streamlined law that is more effective at tackling disadvantage and discrimination. This Act protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
The Act protects us from being treated less favourably because of certain characteristics. These are known as protected characteristics:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or Belief
- Sexual Orientation
The Act provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.
Public Sector Equality Duty
The Public Sector Equality Duty, which is set out in the Equality Act 2010, requires us to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- advance equality of opportunity between different groups
- foster good relations between people from different groups
It describes fostering good relations as tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups.
The Equality Act also says that public bodies must pay 'due regard' to equality. This means that we must:
- remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
- take steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
The Act also states that meeting different needs involves taking steps to take account of disabled people’s disabilities.
It states that compliance with the duty may involve treating some people more favourably than others.
Equality Impact Assessments
Undertaking Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) on new and/or revised policies or services is an effective way of identifying any positive or negative impact that the change may have on different people, according to their protected characteristics. This enables us to demonstrate that we have paid 'due regard' in coming to our decisions.
The law does not mean that no changes can be made, even if they have a negative effect on people. However, we must demonstrate that we have considered the impact that could happen and what steps we have put in place to mitigate against any negative impacts.
Our EIAs are available on our Policies and Procedures database by searching for Equality Impact Assessments.
Our commitment to you
The Equality Act 2010 requires us to publish our equality information on an annual basis. This includes demonstrating to you how we are delivering against our corporate equality objectives. We reviewed our equality objectives in April 2018 and between now and 2020 we will:
- Ensure all those who form part of the council take into consideration equalities and inclusion in every aspect of our work and how we behave towards others.
- Ensure the needs of people with protected characteristics are considered when making changes to policies or services.
- Ensure that within a locality working approach the voice of all communities is heard when decisions are being made.
- Empower more people with protected characteristics to live safe, healthy and independent lives.
Our published equality reports provide information about the:
- profile of our workforce
- activities that have been undertaken across the organisation in the last year to support our equality objectives and embed equalities into all areas of work
Download our equality reports:
- Workforce Equalities Report 2020 (PDF, 611KB)
- Corporate equality objectives activities 2019 to 2020 (PDF, 196KB)
Read about how we make the information on our website as accessible as possible.
Interpreting and translating services
Suffolk County Council use INTRAN to provide our translation and interpreting services.
We use interpreters or translate information where someone would be at risk if they are unable to understand English. In other situations we will do so where appropriate and in response to identified need.
Contact the Lead for Equalities and Inclusion on 01473 265160.