The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on public authorities, in the exercise of its functions, to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it, and
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
This duty, known as the ‘general equality duty’, applies in respect of the following protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. In relation to the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership, there is only a need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
We require that any organisation wishing to submit a bid for the funding of a project provides assurance and demonstrates that it is compliant with the requirements of the general equality duty. Therefore, before submitting a bid for funding, organisations should fully consider the potential equality impact their proposed project may have by undertaking an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA).
An EQIA should be an integral stage of your project development. Discrimination is usually unintended and can often remain undetected, until someone complains or is let down by the service they have received. A robust EQIA will help to identify potential disadvantages and offer an opportunity to take appropriate actions to remove or minimise any adverse impact a proposed project may have on one or more protected characteristic groups.
In addition to equality, your EQIA process should include giving consideration to the potential affect a proposed project will have on health inequalities. Health inequalities are disparities in health outcomes experienced by individuals or groups because of unfair and avoidable reasons.
Health inequalities are most commonly associated with socio-economic inequalities but can also result from a wide range of other factors, including discrimination, access to education, access to employment, access to good housing and location in which a person lives, and individuals’ circumstances and behaviours such as their diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and exercise.
As part of your application you will be required to outline how you have considered equality and diversity in relation to your project.