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A general guide on how you are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act and what your rights are.
This means that public authorities should:
The public sector equality duty applies in addition to their duty not to discriminate against you.
A local authority plans to cut its mental health care support services. This decision has to comply with the public sector duty. This means that the authority should:
If it fails to do this then it may not have followed its public sector equality duty and people may make complaints, or take them to court.
If you think an organisation is not following its public sector equality duty then you should get legal advice as soon as possible.
You can make a complaint using the complaints procedure of that organisation and you may also be able to challenge the decision or act of the organisation by taking a judicial review challenge.
A judicial review is a legal challenge to the way a public authority has made a decision or has done or not done something lawfully.
These are organisations whose role is of a public nature. This includes:
This is the legal duty which public authorities like councils, NHS hospitals and government departments have to follow. It means they have to consider how their policies and practices affect people with protected characteristics, like people with mental health problems.
Private or voluntary organisations also have to follow the public sector equality duty when they carry out a public function on behalf of public authorities. For example, a private firm that is employed by a local council to collect council tax arrears needs to follow the public sector equality duty.See our full list of legal terms.
'Protected characteristics' is the name for the nine personal characteristics that are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act.
See our pages on disability discrimination for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
This is a type of court procedure where a judge reviews a public authority’s decision, policy, practice, act or failure to act, and decides whether it is lawful or not.
If it is not lawful, the court may cancel the decision or action (‘quash’ it), and require the public authority to reconsider it, lawfully. The court can order the authority to do or not do something.See our full list of legal terms.
This information was published in August 2019. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.