The Equality Act
The new Equality Act aims to bring together existing discrimination laws to make it easier for people to understand their rights and for public authorities and employers to understand their duties to treat people fairly.
Mind campaigned hard with other disability charities for improvements to the legislation, most of which we achieved. Thank you to those supporters who shared their experiences of stigma and discrmination or lobbied their MP about the Bill. Your help really made a difference!
Most of the provisions in the Act came into force on 1 October 2010, and Mind is now campaigning to ensure it is implemented in full, with tough enforceable duties on public authorities, employers and service providers to clamp down on discrimination and ensure everyone is granted fair and equal treatment.
What was Mind calling for?
- A ban on pre-employment health questionnaires
- Better legal protections for people with mental distress
Implementing the Act
A key provision of the Act is the public sector Equality Duty, which helps ensure that fairness is at the heart of public bodies’ work and public services meet the needs of different groups, including people with mental health problems and other disabilities. To ensure this duty is implemented in practice, Ministers have the power to impose specific duties, which are legal requirements designed to help public bodies meet their obligations under the public sector Equality Duty. For example, under the Disability Discrimination Act bodies are required by law to work collaboratively with disabled people in the design and running of services, and to identify likely barriers as well as solutions.
The coalition Government recently consulted on its proposals for the specific duties and Mind had a number of concerns that the proposals would be a step back for disability equality, if implemented as they stand. We have been meeting with Ministers and submitted responses as part of the Disability Charities Consortium and the Equality and Diversity Forum, to ensure our concerns are heard by Government.