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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.

Health Education England uses equality impact assessments to demonstrate due regard to the aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

We utilise a 3 stage process when conducting equality impact assessments within Health Education England.

Stage 1 (Screening)

The aim of this stage is to help us identify to decide whether there may be any adverse impact in our decision making. Where equality issues are not affected or there is little impact on people of the policy we only complete this screening phase.

Stage 2 (Full assessment)

If the outcome of stage 1 indicates that there may be potential impact we proceed to a full equality impact assessment. 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 (Action plan)

Undertaking a stage 2 full assessment helps us to identify whether there will be any significant impact resulting from our policy 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 assessments provide 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.

Health Education England’s Diversity and Inclusion Team manage a repository of completed assessments. Please email edi@hee.nhs.uk if you have any questions about the assessment process.

We are committed to demonstrating due regard to the aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty. To show that we consider evidence, and in the spirit of transparency, we are currently considering what information we will publish on completed assessments.