Equality and diversity

Equality and diversity are fundamental to everything that we do as an organisation. From selecting the patient safety issues we investigate, to recruiting individuals to our team and fostering a workplace culture where everyone is included. This is to ensure equitable and fair treatment, access and opportunity for those we work with and the diverse health service users we work on behalf of.

Public Sector Equality Duty

The Public Sector Equality Duty (the equality duty) came into force in April 2011. The equality duty was created under the Equality Act 2010.

All public authorities in England, Scotland and Wales and bodies exercising public functions must comply with obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. Complying with obligations under equality and human rights law is not only a matter of legal compliance, but it also helps to improve patient safety and protects the rights of patients and their families and carers.

As a public body, the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB), in the exercise of our functions, must have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

These are sometimes referred to as the three aims or arms of the general equality duty. The Act explains that having due regard for advancing equality involves:

  • Removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
  • Taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people.
  • Encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.

Protected characteristics

The protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010 are:

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

Equality and diversity objectives

We’re required to publish one or more objectives that we should achieve to meet the equality duty. Our organisation launched in October 2023 and we’re currently working with our Board to set our equality and diversity objectives.