subject of the complaint, who was responsible for it and who was in breach of the general duty in respect of it. For example, a private prison might close down its childcare facilities for use by visitors, contrary to the terms of its contract with the Home Office. Whilst both the prison and the Home Office could be challenged in judicial review proceedings, the likelihood is that the Home Office would establish they had discharged their duty if they had included a requirement for childcare facilities in the contractual specifications. The private prison would be more likely to have difficulty in establishing that it had discharged the duty.
It is recommended that those authorities who may be carrying out functions of a public nature, but who are unsure whether they fall within the definition of a ‘public authority’ should safeguard their position by ensuring that they comply with the general duty in relation to those functions. It may also be advisable to seek legal advice on whether or not the gender equality duty applies in such a situation.