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Our public duty

The Equality Act 2010 ensures individuals have equal treatment in employment and access to private and public sector services regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. These are known as the nine protected characteristics.

Section 149 of the Act sets out the Public Sector Equality Duty, which offers protection in relation to employment, as well as access to goods and services. 

As a public sector organisation, Health Education England has general and specific public sector duties. We must demonstrate we:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share protected characteristics and those who do not
  • Foster good relations between people who share protected characteristics and those who do not.

Sometimes referred to as the three aims of the general equality duty, the Equality Act also explains that having due regard to advancing equality involves:

  • Removing or minimising disadvantage suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
  • Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people
  • Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in activities where their participation is disproportionality low.

As a public authority we are required to have due regard to the aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty, to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations when making decisions and developing policies.

In order to comply with the Public Sector Equality duty, we use the Equality Impact Analysis (EIA) Tool when the need for a new ‘practice or service change’ is identified, or when an existing one is reviewed. An Equality Impact Analysis will form part of any new practice or service change, event or funding activity and will be factored in as early, as one would for other considerations such as risk, budget or health and safety.

HEE uses a single Equality Impact Analysis form that covers three key stages of the process.

Stage 1 (Initial Screening to identify adverse impact)

The aim of this stage is to help us identify to decide whether there may be any potential adverse impact on people from a protected characteristic, other groups that we have listed or human rights impact in our decision making. Where equality issues are not affected or there is little impact on people of the policy or service change, we only complete this initial stage of the Equality Impact Analysis Form.

Stage 2 (Complete full analysis)

If the outcome of stage 1 indicates that there may be potential impact on people from a protected characteristic or other groups that we have listed, then we proceed to complete the rest of the equality impact analysis form. This stage provides an opportunity to explore whether the policy decision may have a negative, neutral or positive impact on different groups of people and decide if any action needs to be taken to design out, minimise or enhance it.

Stage 3 (Develop action plan)

Undertaking a stage 2 full analysis helps us to identify whether there will be any significant impact resulting from our practice or service change decision. We complete a plan to help us develop measurable interventions that will help ensure we are taking appropriate action to alleviate any negative impact that has been identified.

We recognise that equality impact analysis provides us with excellent opportunities to further advance and consider the values of diversity and inclusion in our work. Please read our diversity and inclusion strategic framework for more information on our ambition.

Please email equalityimpactanalysis@hee.nhs.uk if you have any questions about the assessment process.