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Equality and diversity

It is our vision to fully mainstream equality and diversity into the foundation of BIS' core business to achieve a position where equality and diversity forms part of everything that we do. We can only deliver our important and ambitious agenda if we ensure that our work reflects the diverse society we live in and we take into account the needs of, and impacts on all the people, businesses and communities we serve. Our aim is to demonstrate best practice in all that we do and excel in the field of equality and diversity across the full range of our responsibilities.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 commenced on 1 October 2010, providing one piece of legislation that covers age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. The Act streamlines and simplifies the law to make it easier to understand and use. It also strengthens the law and on 5 April introduced a new public sector equality duty (PSED). The general duty requires that government departments and public authorities have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Advance equality of opportunity between different groups
  • Foster good relations between different groups

The general duty is underpinned by specific duties, which are legal requirements designed to help public bodies subject to them drive better performance. The specific duties require public bodies to publish:

  • equality objectives, at least every four years, by April 2012; and
  • information to demonstrate their compliance with the Equality Duty, at least annually, by 31 January 2011 and April 2012 for schools.

These regulations are in line with the government’s broader approach to the public sector – to reduce bureaucracy and increase transparency. Public bodies will be able to take a flexible, more proportionate approach to implementing the Equality Duty, while still being transparent about all that they do. This transparency will drive democratic accountability across the public sector, so that public bodies are accountable to the people and communities that they serve.

The Government Equalities Office leads on the Equality Act and sits within the Home Office - more information on the Equality Act 2010 can be found at the Home Office website.

Single Equality Scheme

On 3rd June 2010 BIS published its first Single Equality Scheme (SES) (PDF, 1.8 Mb)  which covers our internal and external approach to equality and diversity and reflects our aspiration to mainstream equality and diversity in BIS. The SES acts as a framework and is used as a tool to monitor progress.

We are working hard to ensure that equality and diversity is the responsibility of everyone in BIS so that it is embedded across the Department. It is our ultimate aim to deliver a more equal and fairer society for all.

For further information please email the Central Equality and Diversity Team.