The regulations, approved by the National Assembly for Wales today, have been developed to allow these bodies to better fulfil their equality obligations as set out in the general duty of the UK Government’s Equality Act 2010.
Wales is the first government in the UK to introduce specific regulations to support the wider duty imposed by the Act.
From April, the bodies will have a duty to remove all barriers to equality for both staff and service users, eliminating discrimination and promoting fairness for all.
Amongst other regulations, these bodies will have a greater legal responsibility to address gender pay differences.
The Minister said,
“These regulations are 100% ‘Made in Wales’. This is the first time we have been able to bring forward equality legislation in Wales and I believe that these regulations can bring about real changes in terms of people’s life chances and life experiences.
“It is not our intention that everything will fall into place on day one. We have learned from experience that it takes time for change to happen. It also needs continued leadership right across the public sector and at all levels.
“These Wales specific duties will help us promote equality, tackle discrimination and prejudice and help build a fair and tolerant society here in Wales.”
Kate Bennett, National Director for Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission, said,
“We warmly welcome news that the National Assembly has passed these powerful new equality duties that will help public authorities tackle the greatest inequalities in Wales.
“These duties will assist public authorities in focusing their resources where they are most needed. This will help deliver public services that meet everyone’s needs. And it will help make Wales a fairer place.
“These duties will only apply in Wales. The Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales is preparing clear guidance to make sure individuals know their rights and organisations know their responsibilities under the new duties.”