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Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

The Public Sector Equality Duty requires public bodies and others carrying out public functions to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, to advance equality of opportunities and foster good relations.

Contents:

Key points

  • The duty aims to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people.
  • The duty applies to the public sector and also to others carrying out public functions.
  • The duty applies to all nine areas of discrimination listed in the Equality Act 2010.

What is the duty?

The PSED is a duty requiring public bodies and others carrying out public functions to have due regard to:

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

Which employers need to follow the duty?

Public bodies and others carrying out public functions need to follow the PSED.

The full list of employers required to follow the PSED can be found in Schedule 19 of the Equality Act 2010. 

How does the duty apply to individual employees, workers, contractors and customers?

The PSED applies to all nine areas of discrimination listed in the Equality Act 2010 (known as protected characteristics) meaning that employers need to consider:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • marriage and civil partnership

Note: For marriage and civil partnership, the PSED only requires employers to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination.

This ensures that public bodies consider the needs of all individuals in their day to day work - in shaping policy, in delivering services, and in relation to their own employees.