Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Act) requires a public authority, in carrying out its functions relating to Northern Ireland, to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity between:
- persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation
- men and women generally
- persons with a disability and persons without
- persons with dependants and persons without
The Department for the Economy (DfE) will endeavour to ensure that the necessary resources, in terms of people, time and money, are in place to meet the Section 75 duties and to mainstream equality.
The Department has had a specialist Equality Unit since 1995 and had already developed considerable equality research, evaluation and statistical expertise to inform policy development. Awareness raising and training have also been constant features of the Department’s efforts to ensure the mainstreaming of equality.
Without prejudice to these obligations, a public authority is also required, in carrying out its functions, to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.
Schedule 9 of the Act requires each public authority to produce an Equality Scheme stating how it proposes to fulfill the duties.
New reports and screening documents for DfE will be added as they become available. The documents below relate to the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) which merged functions to become DfE.
Annual reports to the Equality Commissioner
Annual progress reports on section 75 of the NI Act 1998 and section 49A of the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2019
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2018
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2017
Disability action plans
Under Section 49B of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Department is required to submit to the Equality Commission a disability action plan showing how it proposes to fulfill its equality duties.
In our equality scheme we set out how the Department proposes to fulfil the Section 75 statutory duties.
The purpose of policy scoping is to help prepare the background and context and set out the aims and objectives for the policy, being screened. At this stage, scoping the policy will help identify potential constraints as well as opportunities and will help the policy maker work through the screening process on a step by step basis.
Public authorities should remember that the Section 75 statutory duties apply to internal policies (relating to people who work for the authority), as well as external policies (relating to those who are, or could be, served by the authority).
DfE Policies screened during 2020
- Costed postgraduate awards extensions
- Framework for recommencing on-site educational delivery in FE colleges and non-statutory contractors
- Legislative powers to close or direct FE and HE institutions in NI during Covid-19
- COVID-19 supplier relief schemes
- Provision of £126m Financial Transactions Capital (FTC) loan financing to Ulster University
- Business Support Grant Schemes
- EU Exit - Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications – miscellaneous provisions
- The Electricity and Gas etc. (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020
- Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications – proportionality test
- Science Foundation Ireland Covid-19 rapid response call
- The Education (Student Support) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
- The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
- Insolvency and company legislation
- Proposed Resource Departmental Expenditure Limit (RDEL) Budget 2020/21 Internal Allocations
- 2020/21 Resource Budget – Summary Equality Screening
DfE Policies screened during 2019
- Early Conciliation (Employment Act (NI) 2016)
- Developing modern, efficient and effective employment tribunals
- The Industrial Training Levy (Construction Industry) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019
- The Student Fees (Amounts) and Education (Student Support (No.2)) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019
- Higher and Further Education Collaboration Fund - Connected 4
- Assured Skills pre-employment programme
- Extension of the HE-EU Framework Support Fund
- Future of the Northern Ireland non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme
- The Education (Student Support) (NO. 2) Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) and Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019
- Law Centre - employment rights project
DfE Policies screened during 2018
- Gas (Designation of Pipelines) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019
- Industrial Training Levy (Construction Industry) Order (Northern Ireland) 2018
- Future of Northern Ireland non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme
- Funding Model for Higher Level Apprenticeships
- The Education (Student Support) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018
- Continuation of Northern Ireland Renewable Heat Incentive cost control measures
DfE Policies screened during 2017
- The Student Fees (Amounts) (Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017
- Revocation of 2008 Offshore Electricity Development (EIA) Regulations
- Proposed Interim Change in Funding Learning Unit (FLU) Unit of Resource (UoR)
- Industrial Strategy Equality Screening
- Applications by Gas Licence Holders for the Grant of Necessary Wayleaves- Proposed Guidance for Applicants and Landowners and/or Occupiers (note the Equality Screening Form is Annex B of the consultation document)