Equality Act and our responsibilities
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.
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':
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage and Civil Partnership
- Pregnancy and Maternity
- Religion or Belief
- Sexual Orientation
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:
- Armed Forces
- Gypsy and Travellers
General equality duty
The General Equality Duty of the Equality Act requires that we must give due regard to:
- Eliminating discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- Advancing equality of opportunity (for example, removing or minimising disadvantage, meeting different people's needs, taking account of disability, encouraging people to participate in public life)
- Fostering good relations between people i.e. tackling prejudice and promoting understanding
Complying with the General Equality Duty is a legal requirement. However, we believe that it makes good business sense too. Our Equality Impact Assessment 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 responsibilities more inclusively and effectively.
Equality Impact Assessment
An Equality Impact Assessment is required under the General Equality Duty. It 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.
Therefore, an Equality Impact Assessment will be done when making significant changes to existing, or proposed new policies, strategies, services or functions.
Current Equality Impact Assessments can be viewed in Additional Documents below.
Publishing equalities information
Publishing and using equality information is a requirement under the Specific Duties of the Equality Act 2010. It will help us 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 our key priority equality issues
- set the most appropriate equality objectives
The publishing of equality information is an ongoing process; we will therefore, be regularly updating information.
An Equalities Profile is produced every few years. The latest version can be found here.
You can also view our most recent South Somerset District Council Workforce Profile
Equality Policy and Equality Objectives
We have worked with all the public sector organisations in Somerset and have adopted a joint public sector Equality Policy and set of Equality Objectives. These are adapted to the specific requirements of our District.
Equality Impact Assessments:
- Agile Working February 2019
- Asset Disposal and Community Asset Transfer Policy March 2018
- Business Rate Relief Policy August 2017
- Council Website and staff portal July 2018
- Crematorium May 2017
- Homelessness Strategy 2017 – 19
- Ilminster Community Office August 2017
- Introduction of virtual parking season tickets September 2017
- Langport Community Office September 2017
- Leisure Facilities Strategy August 2018
- Middle Street TRO Jan 2019
- Middle Street TRO - Revised - April 2019
- Private Sector Housing Enforcement July 2018
- Ridgeway Hall Car Parking Spaces February 2019
- St Michael’s Hall closure July 2017
- Street Trading Policy August 2017
- Ward Boundary November 2018