Equality and Diversity

What do we mean by equality and diversity?

Equality means treating everyone with equal dignity and worth irrespective of particular characteristics such as their age, disability, gender, ethnicity, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. We recognise that people have different needs, circumstances and goals and achieving equality requires the removal of the discriminatory barriers that limit what people can do and can be.

We recognise that people can experience inequality in:

  • outcomes
  • access to services
  • the degree of independence people may have to make decisions
  • through discrimination or disadvantage imposed by other individuals, groups, institutions or systems
  • inequality of treatment, including in relation to employment,

Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 replaced the previous anti-discriminatory laws with a single Act. This has made it easier to understand and comply with. It has also strengthened the law in important ways that will help tackle discrimination and inequality.

The Government Equalities Office has produced an easy read guide to the Equality Act 2010.

Who has responsibilities?

The Equality Act applies to all organisations that provide a service to the public, whether a charge is made for the service or not.  It also applies to anyone who sells goods or provides facilities.

Who is protected?

The Act protects people on the grounds of discrimination on the basis of 'protected characteristics':

Due to the nature of South Somerset and its diverse population, it is recognised that there are certain groups whose needs are also important to address. They are not specifically protected under the Equality Act 2010, but play a part in South Somerset's make up


General Equality Duty

The General Equality Duty of the Equality Act requires that in the exercise of our functions we must give due regard to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Advance equality of opportunity (this means for example, removing or minimising disadvantage, meeting different people's needs, taking account of disability, encouraging people to participate in public life)
  • Foster good relations between people (this means tackling prejudice and promoting understanding)

Benefits of the General Equality Duty

Complying with the General Equality Duty is a legal requirement. However, we believe that it makes good business sense too. The EqA process ensures that our policies and decision-making practices are better informed, more cost-effective, and this leads to improved efficiency . By understanding different communities, we are able to improve our customer care and carry out our core services more effectively.

Equality Analysis

Equality Analysis (required under the General Equality Duty) is a tool for checking, from a range of equality perspectives, the potential impact of our policies, strategies, services and functions on both our residents and employees. An Equality Analysis will be undertaken, therefore, when making significant changes to existing, or proposing new policies, strategies, services or functions.

in 2017 a new equalities analysis process was introduced.  For a selection of our new completed EqA's please see here For older EqA's please contact David.crisfield@southsomerset.gov.uk


Publishing Equalities Information

Publishing and using equality information is a requirement under the Specific Duties of the Equality Act 2010. It will help the council demonstrate compliance and concentrate efforts on the most important equality issues and enable progress to be monitored.

By gathering and using equality information it will help us to:

  • understand the effect on equality of our current and proposed policies
  • identify what the key priority equality issues are for the council
  • set the most appropriate equality objectives

The publishing of equality information is an ongoing process; we will therefore, be regularly updating information.

Equalities Profile

An Equalities Profile is produced every few years. Here is a copy of the most recent Profile.  You can also view our South Somerset District Council Workforce Profile.

 For further information on issues or concerns relating to SSDC Equalities and Diversity please contact us.