The Human Tissue Authority is committed to promoting equality and diversity, both as an employer and in the carrying out of its public functions to monitor and promote good practice in the sectors that it regulates.
The Equality Act 2010, which came into force on 1 October 2010, establishes a comprehensive legal framework to protect individuals with a “protected characteristic” from unfair treatment, and to advance equality of opportunity for all.
Although the Authority is not one of the public bodies listed in Schedule 19 to the Equality Act, the Authority will nevertheless be subject to the new public sector equality duty in the exercise of its public functions. From April 2011, the Authority will therefore have a duty to have “due regard” to the need to:
a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited under the Equality Act;
b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a protected characteristic and those who do not; and
c) foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
The protected characteristics are: age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; marriage and civil partnership; and sexual orientation.
The Authority is currently awaiting the guidance to public bodies on the performance of this new duty, which is due to be published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
What the HTA is doing to promote equality
The Authority has an Equality, Diversity and Human Rights policy. The Authority intends to use the EHRC guidance to review and update its policy and approach to equality issues as part of its public sector duty.
The Authority monitors the diversity of its workforce and equality of opportunity for staff within the workforce. Regular training is provided for staff on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion as well as the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010.