Equality Act 2006



Equality Act 2006

2006 Chapter 3

An Act to make provision for the establishment of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights; to dissolve the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission; to make provision about discrimination on grounds of religion or belief; to enable provision to be made about discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation; to impose duties relating to sex discrimination on persons performing public functions; to amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and for connected purposes.

[16th February 2006]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Part 1

The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

The Commission

The Commission

S-1 Establishment

1 Establishment

There shall be a body corporate known as the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

S-2 Constitution, &c.

2 Constitution, &c.

Schedule 1 (constitution of the Commission, proceedings, money, &c.) shall have effect.

S-3 General duty

3 General duty

The Commission shall exercise its functions under this Part with a view to encouraging and supporting the development of a society in which—

(a) people's ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination,

(b) there is respect for and protection of each individual's human rights,

(c) there is respect for the dignity and worth of each individual,

(d) each individual has an equal opportunity to participate in society, and

(e) there is mutual respect between groups based on understanding and valuing of diversity and on shared respect for equality and human rights.

S-4 Strategic plan

4 Strategic plan

(1) The Commission shall prepare a plan showing—

(a) activities or classes of activity to be undertaken by the Commission in pursuance of its functions under this Act,

(b) an expected timetable for each activity or class, and

(c) priorities for different activities or classes, or principles to be applied in determining priorities.

(2) The Commission shall review the plan—

(a) at least once during the period of three years beginning with its completion,

(b) at least once during each period of three years beginning with the completion of a review, and

(c) at such other times as the Commission thinks appropriate.

(3) If the Commission thinks it appropriate as a result of a review, the Commission shall revise the plan.

(4) The Commission shall send the plan and each revision to the Secretary of State, who shall lay a copy before Parliament.

(5) The Commission shall publish the plan and each revision.

S-5 Strategic plan: consultation

5 Strategic plan: consultation

Before preparing or reviewing a plan in accordance with section 4 the Commission shall—

(a) consult such persons having knowledge or experience relevant to the Commission's functions as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(b) consult such other persons as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(c) issue a general invitation to make representations, in a manner likely in the Commission's opinion to bring the invitation to the attention of as large a class of persons who may wish to make representations as is reasonably practicable, and

(d) take account of any representations made.

S-6 Disclosure

6 Disclosure

(1) A person who is or was a Commissioner, an Investigating Commissioner, an employee of the Commission or a member of a committee established by the Commission commits an offence if he discloses information to which this section applies unless subsection (3) authorises the disclosure.

(2) This section applies to information acquired by the Commission—

(a) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the course of, an inquiry under section 16,

(b) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the course of, an investigation under section 20,

(c) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the course of, an assessment under section 31,

(d) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in connection with, a notice under section 32, or

(e) from a person with whom the Commission enters into, or considers entering into, an agreement under section 23.

(3) This subsection authorises a disclosure made—

(a) for the purpose of the exercise of a function of the Commission under any of sections 16, 20, 21, 24, 25, 31 and 32,

(b) in a report of an inquiry, investigation or assessment published by the Commission,

(c) in pursuance of an order of a court or tribunal,

(d) with the consent of each person to whom the disclosed information relates,

(e) in a manner that ensures that no person to whom the disclosed information relates can be identified,

(f) for the purpose of civil or criminal proceedings to which the Commission is party, or

(g) if the information was acquired by the Commission more than 70 years before the date of the disclosure.

(4) But subsection (3) does not authorise, nor may the Commission make, a disclosure of information provided by or relating to an intelligence service unless the service has authorised the disclosure.

(5) In subsection (4) "intelligence service" means—

(a) the Security Service,

(b) the Secret Intelligence Service, and

(c) the Government Communications Headquarters.

(6) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

S-7 Scotland: human rights

7 Scotland: human rights

(1) The Commission shall not take human rights action in relation to a matter if the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence to enable a person to take action of that kind in relation to that matter.

(2) In subsection (1) "human rights action" means action taken—

(a) in accordance with section 9(1), and

(b) under, by virtue of or in pursuance of—

(i)section 11(1) in so far as it relates to the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42),

(ii) section 11(2)(c) or (d),

(iii) section 12,

(iv) section 13,

(v) section 16,

(vi) section 17, or

(vii) section 30.

(3) Despite section 9(4), the Commission shall not, in the course of fulfilling a duty under section 8 or 10, consider the question whether a person's human rights have been contravened if the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence to enable a person to consider that question.

(4) Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from taking action with the consent (whether general or specific) of a person if—

(a) the person is established by Act of the Scottish Parliament, and

(b) the person's principal duties relate to human rights and are similar to any of the Commission's duties under section 9.

(5) Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from relying on section 13(1)(f) so as to act jointly or cooperate (but not assist) for a purpose relating to human rights and connected with Scotland.

Duties

Duties

S-8 Equality and diversity

8 Equality and diversity

(1) The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

(a) promote understanding of the importance of equality and diversity,

(b) encourage good practice in relation to equality and diversity,

(c) promote equality of opportunity,

(d) promote awareness and understanding of rights under the equality enactments,

(e) enforce the equality enactments,

(f) work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination, and

(g) work towards the elimination of unlawful harassment.

(2) In subsection (1)—

"diversity" means the fact that individuals are different,

"equality" means equality between individuals, and

"unlawful" is to be construed in accordance with section 34.

(3) In promoting equality of opportunity between disabled persons and others, the Commission may, in particular, promote the favourable treatment of disabled persons.

(4) In this Part "disabled person" means a person who—

(a) is a disabled person within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50) , or

(b) has been a disabled person within that meaning (whether or not at a time when that Act had effect).

S-9 Human rights

9 Human rights

(1) The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

(a) promote understanding of the importance of human rights,

(b) encourage good practice in relation to human rights,

(c) promote awareness, understanding and protection of human rights, and

(d) encourage public authorities to comply with section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42) (compliance with Convention rights).

(2) In this Part "human rights" means—

(a) the Convention rights within the meaning given by section 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998, and

(b) other human rights.

(3) In determining what action to take in pursuance of this section the Commission shall have particular regard to the importance of exercising the powers conferred by this Part in relation to the Convention rights.

(4) In fulfilling a duty under...

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