The North of England Commissioning Support Service (NECS) provides a range of services to commissioning organisations across the North of England who use their role as commissioners to ensure providers adhere to strict equality and diversity policies and practices.
The thirteen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) cover a population of approximately 3 million people.
The NHS strives to ensure that the health care services that are commissioned are right for the local people. To ensure that they succeed they continually consult and involve individuals and groups throughout the varying and diverse communities across the North of England.
As public sector organisations, the CCGs have a legal duty to deliver on their equality duties.
The equality duty was created by the Equality Act 2010 and came into force in April 2011. It covers age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race religion or belief and sexual orientation. These are referred to as ‘protected characteristics’ (see below).
The general equality duty is set out in section 149 of the Equality Act and, in summary, CCGs must have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- Advance equality of opportunity between different groups
- Foster good relations between different groups
The aim is for public bodies such as CCGs to consider the needs of all individuals in their day-to-day work, in developing policies, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.
The Protected Characteristics