Our legal obligations

We want to be a fair regulator, and fair employer. Meeting equality and human rights law helps us to achieve this. 

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 protects 9 groups of people from discrimination. These groups are known as ‘protected characteristics’. They are:

  • age
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • religion and belief
  • race
  • sex
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity

The Public Sector Equality Duty

As a ‘public authority’, under the Equality Act 2010, we must meet the ‘public sector equality duty’. This is a particular duty in addition to the other general requirements under the Equality Act 2010.

In carrying out our functions, section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 says that we have to pay ‘due regard’ to the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act;
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it;
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

‘Advancing equality of opportunity’ means that we need to have ‘due regard’ to the need to:

  • remove or minimise disadvantages faced by people who share a protected characteristic;
  • take steps to meet the needs of people who share a protected characteristic;
  • encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is low.

The public sector equality duty means that, as a public body, we must consider equality when we make decisions – such as how we act as employers; how we develop, evaluate and review policy; how we design, deliver and evaluate services, and how we commission and procure from others.

One of the ways that we meet this requirement is to do an equality analysis for key areas of our work. This is where we look at some of our key activities to understand how they may impact on groups from the protected characteristics.


We understand that disabled peoples’ needs may be different from those of non-disabled people. This might mean making 'reasonable adjustments', or treating disabled people better than non-disabled people, to meet their needs.

A ‘reasonable adjustment’ is where an organisation changes the way it normally does things to be fair to disabled people. Our approach to making 'reasonable adjustments' is explained in our Reasonable Adjustments Policy.

We refer to making reasonable adjustments for people involved in our different activities in the relevant places on our website. For example:

The Human Rights Act 1998

Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person. The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the human rights that people in the UK have access to. Human rights are part of all our work and we include many of the principles in our guidance to doctors.

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