Equality

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) aims to change the practices of government and public authorities so that equality of opportunity and good relations are central to policy making and service delivery. The Section 75 statutory duties aim to encourage public authorities to address inequalities and demonstrate measurable positive impact on the lives of people experiencing inequalities. Its effective implementation should improve the quality of life for all of the people of Northern Ireland.

Disability Action Plan

Public authorities must submit a disability action plan to the Equality Commission (unless an exemption has been granted) showing how they propose to fulfil the disability duties in relation to their functions. The plan must contain certain key elements including an outline of the practical measures public authorities intend to take, the timescale over which these measures are to be implemented, performance indicators or targets and details of how the plan will be published.

Designated public authorities are subject to two interrelated duties under Sections 49A and 49B of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Section 49A places a duty on designated public authorities to have due regard to the need to:

  1. Promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons; and
  2. Encourage participation by disabled persons in public life.

The aim of the duty is to oblige public authorities to give appropriate consideration to how they can best promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons and encourage participation by disabled persons in public life.

Section 49B places a duty on each designated public authority to prepare a plan outlining how it proposes to fulfil the Section 49A duty. A plan is a description of procedural and practical arrangements that each public authority has committed itself to. These plans are commonly called Disability Action Plans (DAPs):

Learn more about Disability Action Plans

Equality Scheme

To implement their Section 75 statutory duties, public authorities are required to submit an equality scheme to the Equality Commission. This is a statement of commitment to fulfilling their Section 75 duties. It is a plan setting out how they are going to ensure that equality and good relations are promoted in everything they do.

Section 75 Statutory Duties:

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Act) requires public authorities designated for the purposes of the Act to comply with two statutory duties:

(1)    A public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity:

(a)  Between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;

(b)  Between men and women generally;

(c)  Between persons with a disability and persons without; and

(d)  Between persons with dependants and persons without.

The promotion of equality of opportunity entails more than the elimination of discrimination. It requires proactive action to promote equality of opportunity between the categories identified in Section 75 (1).

The equality duty encourages a public authority to take action to address inequality among the specified groups.

(2)    Without prejudice to its obligations under subsection (1), a public authority shall in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.

The Commission emphasises that the good relations duty embraces and extends beyond the religious / political dimension of ‘community relations’. Consideration of the needs and interests of all minority ethnic groups is also important in this context.

Read more about Equality Schemes

Section 75/ 49a Annual Progress Reports:

Please see below Tourism NI’s Annual Progress Reports to The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

Annual Progress Reports enable us to review and report on progress on the implementation of the statutory duties under Section 75 of the NI Act 1998 and progress on implementation of the positive duties under Section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended).

If you require any further information or clarification, please contact:

Business Planning & Improvement Manager

Tourism Northern Ireland

Tel: 028 9044 1565

E-mail: bpi@tourismni.com