Part 1 : socio-economic inequalities
Clause 1: Public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities
38. This clause requires specified public authorities, when making strategic decisions
such as deciding priorities and setting objectives, to consider how their decisions might help to
reduce the inequalities associated with socio-economic disadvantage. Such inequalities could
include inequalities in education, health, housing, crime rates, or other matters associated with
socio-economic disadvantage. It will be for public authorities subject to the duty to determine
which socio-economic inequalities they are in a position to influence.
39. The duty applies to the listed public authorities, which have strategic functions – these
include Government departments, local authorities and NHS bodies. In addition, the duty
applies to other public authorities which work in partnership with a local authority to draw up
the sustainable community strategy for an area, when they are drawing up that strategy. These
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
enable certain employers to be required to publish information about the
differences in pay between male and female employees; 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; and for
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:—
Public sector duty regarding socio-economic inequalities
An authority to which this section applies must, when making decisions of a
strategic nature about how to exercise its functions, have due regard to the
desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the
inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage.
In deciding how to fulfil a duty to which it is subject under subsection (1), an
authority must take into account any guidance issued by a Minister of the
The authorities to which this section applies are—
a Minister of the Crown;
partner public authorities are specified in the Local Government and Public Involvement in
40. Public authorities are required to take into account guidance issued by a Minister of
the Crown when deciding how to fulfil the duty.
41. The duty does not apply to strategic decisions taken in relation to functions carried out
in or in relation to Scotland, except where such matters are reserved to the United Kingdom
Parliament. Nor does it require public authorities to consider how to reduce inequalities
resulting from people being subject to immigration control.
42. This is a new provision.
• The duty could lead a public body with strategic functions in relation to health to
allocate money from its agreed budget to a separate funding stream which targets
geographical areas with the worst health outcomes.
• Under the duty, a Regional Development Agency (RDA), when reviewing its funding
programmes, could decide to amend the selection criteria for a programme designed to
promote business development, to encourage more successful bids from deprived
areas. The same RDA could also decide to continue a programme aimed at generating
more jobs in the IT sector which, despite not contributing to a reduction in socio-
economic inequalities, has wider economic benefits in attracting more well-paid jobs
to the region. This decision would comply with the duty, because the RDA would have
given due consideration to reducing socio-economic inequalities.
• The duty could lead a local education authority, when conducting a strategic review of
its school applications process, to analyse the impact of its campaign to inform parents
about the applications process, looking particularly at different neighbourhoods. If the
results suggest that parents in more deprived areas are less likely to access or make use
of the information provided, the authority could decide to carry out additional work in
those neighbourhoods in future campaigns, to ensure that children from deprived areas
have a better chance of securing a place at their school of choice.
Clause 2: Power to amend section 1
43. This clause enables a Minister of the Crown or, in the case of Welsh bodies, the Welsh
Ministers to make regulations amending the list of public authorities which are subject to the
duty in clause 1, and to limit or extend the functions of a listed body to which the duty applies.
44. It also provides that a Minister of the Crown may not apply the duty to any devolved
Welsh or Scottish functions.