Public authorities in Wales have a duty to reduce inequality

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Public authorities in Wales have a duty to reduce inequality

Key Contact: Claire Knowles

Author: Daniel Evans

The Welsh Government has confirmed that Welsh Ministers, county councils, local health boards, NHS Trusts, fire and rescue authorities, National Park authorities, and the Welsh Revenue Authority are the public authorities who will be subject to the socio-economic duty provided in Section 1 Equality Act 2010.

The duty requires these authorities to reduce socio-economic disadvantage when setting long-term strategic decisions.

What is expected from public authorities?

The duty will require the public authorities to challenge and scrutinise proposals in light of socio-economic inequalities. Public authorities will be expected to consider evidence and actively consult and engage with those that are disadvantaged to deliver strategic decisions which actively reduce inequality in Wales.

Comment

Any individual or group can initiate judicial review proceedings if it believes a public authority has failed to reduce socio-economic disadvantage when making strategic decisions. It is therefore essential that public authorities retain a clear audit trail to demonstrate what evidence it has considered, and how it has actively consulted and engaged with disadvantaged groups. Without a clear audit trail that demonstrates its compliance with this duty, the authority will be on the backfoot if it is subject to a judicial review.

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