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The University of Southampton
DiversityPolicies and guidance

The University's legal responsibility

Our legal responsibility is rooted in the Equality Act 2010. The basic requirements of the Act are to take action to remove any unjustifiable discrimination; to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between groups; and to encourage participation of under-represented groups in public life.

The supplementary Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) extends this to specified protected characteristics, set out below. The University is thus legally required to:

You can find out more about this and related legislation from the links below. Failure to demonstrate compliance may damage our reputation over time, and could result in costly legal action.

Examples of the wide range of areas where equality impact should be evaluated include:

While there is currently no prescribed approach, a structured Equality Assessment (EA) offers an established and credible tool to help us demonstrate our compliance in any relevant activity. The resulting EA document can be quite short, but it must represent a reasonable level of consultation.

Protected characteristics

The protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership (in employment), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including no belief), sex, and sexual orientation.

Every individual member of staff and student is characterised by most or all of these factors. So undertaking an EA helps to ensure we are making the best decisions on behalf of our whole community. Find out more about wider benefits.

International staff and students

Although not a protected characteristic, you could take this opportunity to consider whether there is likely to be an impact on the internationalisation agenda. Recruitment, induction, accommodation, food, meetings and social events, and educational or pastoral support are examples of potentially relevant areas.

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