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Equality Act 2010


Update to equality legislation - 

The Equality Act 2010, the General and Specific Duties 


The Equality Act 2010: 

The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010 harmonising over 40 years of equality legislation and replacing 116 separate pieces of statute and their amendments, including:-

  • Equal Pay Act 1970
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • Race Relation Act 1976
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001
  • Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
  • Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006

The act replaces the various ‘Equality Strands’ with 9 ‘Protected Characteristics’;

● Age

● Disability

● Gender Reassignment

● Race

● Religion & Belief 

● Sex (meaning Gender)

● Sexual Orientation

● Pregnancy & Maternity 

● Marriage & Civil Partnership


The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against discrimination (direct and indirect[1]), harassment[2] and victimisation.


The Equality Act also extends the protection to include:


Discrimination by Association - This extends the scope of the legislation to protect people who 'associate' with others with the protected characteristics, for instance people who are related to or who care for someone who is disabled (this does not apply to the protected characteristics of Pregnancy & Maternity or Marriage & Civil Partnership)


Discrimination by Perception - Protection includes perception e.g. discrimination based on the belief that someone is gay or disabled or has a particular belief (this does not apply to the protected characteristics of Pregnancy & Maternity or Marriage & Civil Partnership).


Disability Discrimination- Includes failure to make a reasonable adjustment and discrimination ‘arising from a disability’.



Equality Act 2010 - General Duty:

The Equality Act imposes a General Duty on all public bodies. Public bodies must implement the following in relation to all the protected characteristics:-

  1. eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  2. advance equality of opportunity between different groups; and
  3. foster good relations between different groups

These general duties do not differ significantly from those imposed under previous legislation (i.e. the Race, Disability and Gender General Duties).


Equality Act 2010 - Welsh Specific Public Sector Duties:

Welsh specific public sector equality duties came into force on 6 April 2011 via the Welsh Government. These regulations relate to Welsh Higher Education Institutions and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

There are 20 draft regulations as shown in Appendix A.  The table lists each regulation relating to Cardiff University and makes note of the key implications.


Cardiff University’s Equality Strategic Plan:


Cardiff University has produced a Strategic Equality Plan which aims to promote equality and achieve equality improvements across the University as required under the Equality Act 2010.  This includes six equality objectives and covers the protected characteristics of Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex (Gender) and Sexual Orientation.  Welsh Language is also included.


For further information or feedback, please contact Mrs Catrin Morgan, Equality and Diversity Compliance Manager in the Governance and Compliance Division: Email or Tel: (029) 20 870230.

 Strategic Equality Plan 


Appendix A: Specific Duties & Strategic Equality Plan Information


Implications for Cardiff University:


Equality objectives.

Cardiff must publish equality objectives that enable it to better perform the general duty. Publish a statement setting objectives, timescales and monitoring provisions.


Preparation and review of equality objectives.

Publish equality objectives by 2 April 2012 and then review every 4 years.


Engagement provisions.

Consultation with people from across the protected characteristics when:-

  1. Considering and designing equality objectives
  2. Impact assessments
  3. Preparing, publishing and reviewing the Strategic Equality Plan


Accessibility of published information.

All documents published must be in an accessible format.


Arrangements for collection of information about compliance with the general duty.

Cardiffneeds to identify relevant information that it holds and also identifies and collects information that it does not hold in complying with the general duty. Includes equal pay differences.


Impact and monitoring of policies and practices.

(Formerly ‘Equality Impact Assessments’). Assess the likely impact on the ability to comply with the general duty. Publish reports where there is a ‘substantial impact’.


Training and collection of employment information.

Annual collection of data published in an annual report in relation to all protected characteristics. A list of data that must be collected including recruitment processes, training, grievance/discipline & leavers is available.


Promote general duty.

Promote the general duty to staff and identify training needs.


Pay and action plans.

Equal pay provisions. Cardiff must set objectives to establish pay differences between people from protected characteristics.


Equal pay action plan.

Published action plan to address any ‘gender pay differences’. Cardiff’s last report was published in 2009.


Review of arrangements.

Cardiff must review equality objectives; data collection; impact & monitoring of policies; training.


Strategic Equality Plans (SEP)

(Formerly ‘Race, Disability and Gender Equality Schemes’). To include equality objectives and action plan. By 2 April 2012.


Preparation, publication & review of SEP.

Cardiff must publish its SEP as soon as possible after it has been made or remade.


Reports on compliance with the general duty.

Sets out the content of the SEP report and the reporting period (annual).


Public procurement.

Public procurement must have due regard to the general duties.


Disclosure of information.

Information must not be disclosed that would breach the Data Protection Act 1998.



Note - Omitted Regulations:

Regulation 1 - Setting out the title, commencement and application for the regulations

Regulation 2 - Includes some additional interpretations of the law

Regulations 17 & 19 – Compliance and reports required by Welsh Ministers 

[1] Indirect discrimination does not apply to the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity

[2] this does not apply to the protected characteristics of Pregnancy & Maternity or Marriage & Civil Partnership