The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) sets out the main statutory duty that all public authorities must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- advance equality of opportunity
- foster good relations.
Specific duties to publish information
Public authorities are required to publish information annually on how they are complying with the equality duty. It is recommended that NHS authorities publish their PSED reports in quarter one of each new financial year, reporting on outcomes from data in the previous financial year.
Prepare and publish equality objectives
These should be clearly defined, measurable commitments, agreed with the governing body. They should be kept under review and must be updated at least once every four years.
Developing an action plan can help map activities to achieve each objective, but there is no requirement to do so. Working in partnership with trade unions to develop and monitor action plans that include clear timescales can support progress towards objectives. It is good practice to publish information on progress towards meeting each equality objective.
The benefits of publishing PSED information
- It provides a focus on what the current issues are, helping organisations to become more attuned to the needs of different groups.
- Determines and demonstrates what organisations are already doing and what it is planning to do.
- Promotes transparency and increases accountability.
- Can be used as a resource for decision making within the organisation.
In England, all NHS organisations should publish their public sector equality duty information within one year of their last publication.
What employers need to do
It is up to individual organisations to decide how they publish their equality information; the information must be accessible to those in the community and the public. Most organisations include this on their equalities web page or provide links to where it can be accessed.
Public authorities with over 150 employees must also consider how their activities as employers affect staff and publish information on the outcomes for staff.
NHS trusts should consider publishing disaggregated data by each protected characteristic in the following areas as good practice:
- the overall workforce composition including the seniority/pay grade of staff
- recruitment outcomes for staff in respect of protected characteristics
- applications for promotion and outcomes for staff in respect of protected characteristics
- leavers and the reasons for departure from the organisation
- applications for flexible working and outcomes
- pay equality issues, including equal pay, the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap
- access to non-mandatory training, continuing professional development and other learning opportunities
- grievance, disciplinary and capability issues.
Publishing duties as a service provider
NHS authorities will also monitor and publish information on the patients who accessed their services in the previous financial year by each protected characteristic.
Further information about the PSED can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) website.