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Public Sector Equality Duty

The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is a pro-active duty and has two parts – General and Specific. Click on the links below to find out more.

Non-statutory guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page.

Purpose of the Duty

The broad purpose of the equality duty is to integrate consideration of equality and good relations into the day-to-day business of public authorities. If you do not consider how a function can affect different groups in different ways, it is unlikely to have the intended effect. This can contribute to greater inequality and poor outcomes.  The general equality duty therefore requires organisations to consider how they could positively contribute to the advancement of equality and good relations. It requires equality considerations to be reflected into the design of policies and the delivery of services, including internal policies, and for these issues to be kept under review.

Compliance with the general equality duty is a legal obligation, but it also makes good business sense. An organisation that is able to provide services to meet the diverse needs of its users should find that it carries out its core business more efficiently. A workforce that has a supportive working environment is more productive. Many organisations have also found it beneficial to draw on a broader range of talent and to better represent the community that they serve. It should also result in better informed decision-making and policy development. Overall, it can lead to services that are more appropriate to the user, and services that are more effective and cost-effective. This can lead to increased satisfaction with public services.

The General Duty

The general duty requires all public bodies to have due regard when carrying out their functions to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

The general duty covers the protected characteristics of: age; disability; gender; sexual orientation; race; religion and belief; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; and in respect of the elimination of discrimination duty only, marriage and civil partnership.

The Specific Duty

The specific duty sets out the steps we must take to show how we are meeting the needs of the general duty.

The following table provides a quick overview on what we must do and by when. Detailed information on the requirements are contained within the non-statutory guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page alongside our publications required by the duties.

What we need to doWhen do we need to it
Publish a report on progress on mainstreaming the general duty30 April 2013 and within 2 years
Publish equality outcomes and report on progress30 April 2013 and review within 4 years  Report on progress 2015
Assess and review the impact of applying a proposed, new or revised policy or practiceOngoing
Gather and use employment information By 30 April then within 2 years
Publish gender pay gap informationBy 30 April and within 2 years
Publish statements on equal pay and occupational segregation (grades and occupations) between women and menBy 30 April 2013 (for men and women)  By 30 April 2017 ( for men and women,   disabled and non-disabled people and   minority ethnic people and non- ethnic minority people 
consider award criteria and conditions in relation to public procurementOngoing
publish the required information in a manner that is accessible.
consider other matters as determined by Scottish Ministers
Updated on 14th April 2023

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