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The Equality Act 2010

Law Type of Provision Remarks
An Act to make provision to
require Ministers of the Crown and others when making strategic
decisions about the exercise of their functions to have regard to the desirability of reducing socio-economic inequalities; to reform and harmonise equality law and restate the greater part of the enactments relating to discrimination and harassment related to certain personal
characteristics;…to prohibit victimisation in certain circumstances;
to require the exercise of certain functions to be with regard to the
need to eliminate discrimination and other prohibited conduct; to enable duties to be imposed in relation to the exercise of public procurement functions; to increase equality of opportunity….
Requires equal treatment in
access to employment as well as private and public services, regardless of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, belief and age.
Places legal responsibilities on public bodies, including further and higher education institutions to demonstrate that they are taking action on equality in policymaking, the delivery of services and public sector employment.“s148(1) A public authority must, in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to—

(a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act;

(b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;

(c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.”

The Employment Equality
Regulations 2003 had been limited to employment and had excluded
discrimination in provision of goods and services.
‘Positive duty’ first introduced by the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 was limited to ethnicity; now the onus is on public bodies to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of a person’s protected characteristics i.e. age, disability, gender, religion or belief…) The Act contains provisions that build on public bodies’ existing duties combining the current duties relating to race, gender and disability into one overarching equality duty, and expanding
the scope to include age, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
This would mean that public bodies will be required to assess the impact of their decisions on people of many different backgrounds, and to consider whether there might be ways to promote equality and good relations between them.
Applies to individuals belonging to groups defined on the basis of religion or belief:
(1) Religion means any religion and a reference to religion includes a reference to a lack of religion.

(2) Belief means any religious or philosophical belief and a reference
to belief includes a reference to a lack of belief.

(3) In relation to the protected characteristic of religion or belief—
(a) a reference to a person who has a particular protected
characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular religion or
belief;
(b) a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are of the same religion or belief.

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Advancement of equality of opportunity
“s148(3) Having due regard
to the need to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to—

(a) remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are connected to that characteristic;

(b) take steps to meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are different from the needs of persons who do not share it;

(c) encourage persons who share a relevant protected
characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in
which participation by such persons is disproportionately low.”

A Community Activist’s comments on the implications of the Equality Act 2010

It is important that grassroots Muslim organisations form coalitions with other faith-based organisations, local trade unions and the voluntary sector to monitor and assess their local authorities', and other public bodies like NHS's etc., compliance with the provisions of the Act (when it becomes operational). It is important that local Muslims also take part in their Neighbourhood Renewal and other Regeneration Partnerships Boards so that they can influence the policy deliberations and the action/business plans of such fora, and thus facilitate the incorporation of the legislative requirements into the heart of policy making and action planning.
Through such partnership work and participation, local Muslims will be able to develop their own policy and leadership competencies, and thus in turn they can help shape the overall development agenda of their local community for the overall common good of all the communities.
The process of 'equality' engagement will further provide grassroots Muslim organisations the opportunity to engage their members in the local democratic and governance structures. Thus a new generation of younger Muslims will be empowered to contribute to the British society and polity.