What is the definition of a public authority for the purposes of the general duty?
For the purposes of the gender duty, public authorities are bodies whose functions are those of a public nature. The most obvious examples of this are government departments, local authorities, the police and the armed forces. They will generally possess special powers, be democratically accountable, be publicly funded in whole or in part, be under an obligation to act only in the public interest and have a statutory constitution. These bodies are sometimes referred to as 'pure public authorities'. The gender duty will therefore apply for example to:
Ministers, government departments and executive agencies (such as the Home Office and its executive agencies, including the Prison Service, and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate).
The National Assembly for Wales.
Army, Navy and Air Forces of the Crown (subject to a limited exception relating to work with the Government Communications Headquarters).
Local government including local authorities, fire authorities, local probation boards, regional development agencies, magistrates courts committees, passenger transport executives and licensing boards.
Governing bodies of further and higher education institutions, colleges and universities.
Governing bodies of educational establishments maintained by local education authorities (including schools).
The National Health Service including NHS Trusts, Health Authorities and primary care trusts, Local Health Boards (Wales).
Police, including Chief Officers of Police, police authorities and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Inspection and audit agencies such as the National Audit Office, Wales Audit Office, Audit Commissions, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the Healthcare Commission, the Health and Safety Executive.
Some publicly-funded cultural bodies or institutions such as Sports Councils and Big Lottery Fund.
Other bodies such as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the Crown Prosecution Service, Courts and tribunals (though not for judicial acts), Prison Boards of Visitors, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, the Community Development Foundation, Visiting Committees for Immigration Detention Centres, the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, the Sentencing Advisory Panel.
This is not an exhaustive list.
Equivalent public authorities in Scotland are also covered by the general duty. Further detail is provided in the Scottish Code of Practice.
Private bodies carrying out public functions