To find out whether a public authority is covered, check the list at Appendix D. The list will be subject to periodic updating by Government, the relevant order being available on the Stationery Office website.
How will the gender equality duty be enforced?
The general duty is enforceable by judicial review. Any person or body affected by a failure to comply with the general duty by a public authority may take action through judicial review proceedings. S32 Equality Act (margin note)
From late 2007, the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will have the power to conduct formal assessments and to issue compliance notices in connection with a breach of the general duty which will be enforceable in the courts. S76D SDA (margin note)
The CEHR and EOC will have the power to issue compliance notices in respect of the specific duties. For more detail see Chapter 4.
In addition it is likely that relevant inspection bodies will require evidence of compliance with the general and specific duties.
Future changes in the legislation
There may be changes in the future to the sex equality legislation which will affect the definition of unlawful discrimination and harassment under the duty. Public authorities will need to ensure that they keep up-to-date with any developments which affect the duties explained in this Code. Relevant information will be publicised by the EOC on the gender duty section of their website, and will be available from the CEHR in the future. This Code will remain in force after the dissolution of the EOC, however, until the CEHR updates it.
Where to obtain further information now and in the future
Copies of the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Equality Act and the orders or regulations made under them can be obtained from the Stationery Office. The text of this Code and of the Equal Pay Code of Practice can be downloaded free of charge from the EOC’s website on . There is also supporting guidance available on the EOC website.
Free information on the duty is available through the EOC Helpline on 0845 601 5901 or by email on
The Equality Act also provides for the dissolution of the EOC and the passing of its functions to the CEHR. This is currently expected to happen in late 2007. Once this transition has occurred, promotion and enforcement of the gender equality duty will pass to the CEHR.
How to meet the general duty