Equality Legislation

Equality legislation, including details of the Public Sector Equality Duty (Scotland)

Public Sector Equality Duty

‌The public sector equality duty (PSED), created under the Equality Act 2010, came into force on 5 April 2011, replacing the previous separate equality duties for race, disability and gender. The PSED consists of a general duty supported by specific duties. In Scotland these commenced on 27 May 2012.  The University is covered by the general duty and the specific duties. 

For the PSED the relevant protected characteristics are:  


  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

General Duty

The General duty has three needs. It requires public authorities (including Higher Education Institutes), in the exercise of its functions, to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups, considering the need to:
    • remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics
    • meet the needs of people with protected characteristics
    • encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is low
  • Foster good relations between people from different protected characteristic groups, tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people from different groups.

Specific Duties

The Specific duties of the Equality Act 2010, aim to help public authorities to meet the General duty. In order to demonstrate due regard, institutions must consider the three needs of the general duty to:

  • Report on progress on mainstreaming the general duty into all functions
  • Develop and publish a set of equality outcomes that cover all protected characteristics (or explain why not all protected characteristics are covered)
  • Assess the impact of policies and practices against the needs of the general duty
  • Gather and use information on employees
  • Publish gender pay gap information
  • Publish statements on equal pay for gender, race and disability
  • Have due regard to the general duty in specified procurement practices
  • Publish information in a manner that is accessible 

Related Links

University Equality Strategy and Outcomes

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012