Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 aims to transform the practices of government and public authorities so that equality of opportunity and good relations are central to policy making and implementation. There are nine protected categories within the legislation.
As a designated public authority, Ulster University is required to comply with the two statutory duties outlined in Section 75:
Section 75 (1)
In carrying out functions relating to Northern Ireland, public bodies are required to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity between:
- persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;
- men and women generally;
- persons with a disability and persons without; and
- persons with dependants and persons without.
Section 75 (2)
In addition, without prejudice to the obligations above, public authorities are required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.
The equality duty is given stronger legal weight than the good relations duty as the term “due regard” was intended to be and is, stronger than “regard”.
Under Section 75, the University is required to set out in an Equality Scheme, approved by the Equality Commission, how it proposes to fulfil the duties imposed by Section 75 in relation to its relevant functions in Northern Ireland. You can also view a summary of the equality scheme.
The equality scheme outlines the University's arrangements for:
Assessing the likely impact of policies on equality of opportunity and good relations
The University assesses the likely impact of a policy on the promotion of equality of opportunity and good relations through equality screening. This is called 'mainstreaming equality.'
The University has also developed a Short Guide to Good Relations.
Consulting publicly on the outcomes of equality screening
Screening reports are published regularly on the University's website.
EQIA reports are published once the impact assessment has been completed.
The University monitors the staff profile to help assess the impact of new and revised policies on different equality groups.
The University's key equality data is updated annually and published on the University's website.
The University recognises that training and raising awareness play a crucial role in the effective implementation of the Section 75 duties. Therefore, it has introduced an effective training and communication programme for all staff.
Mandatory equality awareness training is available on Blackboard (accessed through the Staff Portal).
Email: email@example.com to access the training programme scheduled for this semester.
Reporting annually on progress
A report is prepared by the University and sent to the Equality Commission by 31 August each year, detailing the progress that has been made on the delivery of the Section 75 statutory duties.
The reporting period covers activities between 1 April 2021 - 31 March 2022.
The report also includes the progress that has been made in implementing the University's equality action plans which are published on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion website.
Further information and additional legislation covering the 9 protected categories above, is available here Equality Commission.