Public sector equality duty
Consider the effect on community relations - before you decide

The public sector equality duty (or PSED) is in section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010, perhaps the most important law against public sector antisemitism.

This law may be relevant when a public body is exercising a discretion: for example, deciding whether or not to pass a resolution condemning the Jewish state.

We are mainly concerned with only part of the PSED: section 149(1)(c) and part of section 149(7), which requires public authorities to "have due regard to" the need to foster good relations between people of different nationalities, ethnic origins, religions or beliefs.

The PSED doesn't say those people have to live or work in the authority's area.

"Foster good relations" presumably means not actively fostering bad relations.

Having due regard means:

  • having particular regard to the need to tackle prejudice and promote understanding.
  • the authority must think about what it proposes to do, before and not after deciding, and it should record what it thinks.

Having due regard before deciding something doesn't mean the authority can't do it.

The PSED can be enforced by judicial review.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (or EHRC) can give an offending authority a notice requiring it to comply with the PSED.