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The Equality Act 2010 came into force in October 2010, harmonising previous anti-discrimination legislation. The Act strengthens the Equality law in many ways by giving greater protection against discrimination. 

Who has responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010?

  • service providers - all organisations that provide a service to the public or a section of the public, such as local authorities
  • anyone who sells goods or provides facilities
  • employers
  • associations

Follow these links to find out more about whom the Act protects and what the law prohibits.

The Act encourages public bodies to take ‘positive action’ to help some people with protected characteristics, who are disadvantaged or under-represented in some areas of life or have particular needs because they possess a protected characteristic, to overcome their disadvantages or to meet their particular needs.

We deliver a lot of services and we have a number of policies that apply to specific groups of our residents, visitors and staff with an aim of meeting their specific needs. We continue working with the peoples of Portsmouth in identifying and addressing issues of the disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community.

You can get information that Portsmouth City Council produces in large print, Braille, audio or another language by calling us on 023 9283 4092.

Public Sector Equality Duty came into force on 5th April 2011 replacing the previous three equality duties: for race, gender and disability. The purpose of the duty is to encourage certain public bodies, including local authorities, health, transport and education bodies, the police, the armed forces and the central government departments, to pro-actively consider different customer and workforce needs when they carry out their day-to-day functions, deliver services and shape policy.


The Public Sector Equality Duty has three aims: to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between people of different ethnicities, ages, gender, etc.

The Home Office say that the duty “supports good decision making – it encourages public bodies to understand how different people will be affected by their activities, so that their policies and services are appropriate and accessible to all and meet different people’s needs.”

For more information, visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website.

The EHRC has provided advice on the application of the equality duty to making fair financial decisions. This is particularly relevant now when public sector organisations have to make savings.

Portsmouth City Council’s Equality and Diversity Strategy 2010-13 explains what we have been doing to comply with this duty and sets out our Single Equality Scheme Plan detailing individual projects and actions that services across the council are working on with the aim of furthering equality and diversity in the city.

In addition to the general Equality Duty, the Equality Act 2010 gives the government the power to impose specific duties on certain public bodies to facilitate an efficient and effective compliance with the general Equality Duty.

The Parliament approved Specific Duties Regulations on 10 September 2011. The Specific Duties require public authorities such as local authorities to publish information to demonstrate their compliance with the general Equality Duty on an annual basis. Public authorities must also prepare and publish one or more objectives to comply with the general Equality Duty every four years.

We comply with the above Specific Duties by regularly publishing our Equality impact assessments of our policies, projects, strategies and services on our website and by regularly updating our Single Equality Scheme Plan.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a Non Departmental Public Body, established under the Equality Act 2006.

The Commission’s role is of a guardian of human rights and equality, and it has significant powers to enforce compliance with these by organisations and authorities to which they apply, including launching official inquiries and formal investigations, and taking legal action on behalf of individuals.

The Commission not longer supply a helpline but a new service is available called the Equality Advisory Support Service

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)

Acas aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. They help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. If you need advice on any aspect of employment relations, you can visit Acas website for publications and helpline contact details.

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