North Norfolk District Council is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for the people and communities of North Norfolk.

Published: 2 September 2022

We respect and value differences in our communities and across our workforce. We want everyone to feel included and able to play their part in making North Norfolk the best place to live, learn, work and visit.

This policy is the minimum standard to which the North Norfolk District Council aspires. We do not tolerate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation in service delivery or employment on any protected characteristic or other characteristics that disadvantage or reduce access to services because of their circumstances.

It includes and is not exclusive of:

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

We will not treat anyone less favourably than any other, on the grounds of any protected characteristic, except when such treatment is within the law and set by lawful requirements.

It means that we will promote:

  • equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic1 and people who do not
  • understanding, dealing with prejudice and encouraging positive relations between different communities
  • a workforce culture that values and respects differences and encourages inclusivity

We will:

  • engage with our different local communities fairly and proportionately
  • never treat anyone less favourably than any other, except when such treatment is within the law and set by lawful requirements
  • encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in public life or any other activity in which participation is disproportionately low

We will not tolerate:

  • prejudice
  • unlawful discrimination
  • harassment
  • victimisation
  • bullying on any grounds

We will take action to stop it if ever it occurs in service delivery, employment or the community.

We will take steps to:

  • remove barriers or inequalities that may already exist for people with protected characteristics or people recognised by law who experience disadvantages2

Accessibility and inclusive design

We will provide public services and a workplace that can be accessed understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their ability or disability.

When reviewing or redesigning our public services, workplace, or any building, product, or service in that environment, such as premises, technology, information, communication or culture. We will be guided by the following:

  • provide the same means of use to enable access for all users, identical whenever possible, equivalent when not
  • avoid segregating or stigmatising any users
  • provide privacy, security and safety, which shall be equally available to all users
  • ensure dignity in use for all users

Reasonable adjustments for disabled people

When the Council places a disabled person3 at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we will take all reasonable steps to avoid that disadvantage or make reasonable adjustments wherever appropriate. It may mean changing how we work, providing extra equipment or removing physical or other barriers to opportunities.

Discharging our responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty

When exercising our public functions, we will have due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty4, and we will meet the specific duties by publishing:

  • the information each year by the 31 January to demonstrate our compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty
  • relevant and proportionate equality objectives at least every four years to deliver the aims of this policy

Elected member and staff learning and development

North Norfolk District Council provides induction training for all newly elected members and staff, which includes an introduction to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Who is affected by this policy?

Elected members and all workers, including:

  • employees
  • consultants
  • temporary workers
  • agency staff

The following must also comply with this policy:

  • third parties working on behalf of North Norfolk District Council 
  • suppliers, sub-contractors and agencies in our supply chain

We expect all elected members and staff to take responsibility for familiarising themselves with this policy and appropriately conducting themselves.

Public functions

This policy applies to but is not limited to:

  • planning, design, operation, construction and delivery of services
  • the provision of goods, facilities and services
  • exercising of public functions 
  • recruitment and selection
  • conditions of service
  • benefits
  • facilities and pay
  • training and development
  • opportunities for promotion
  • conduct at work
  • employment policy
  • procedures and guidance
  • termination of employment

Relevant legislation

In implementing this policy, we will have regard to our legal obligations under relevant legislation, including the following:


We will keep this policy and any associated codes of practice under annual review.


We regard any breach of this policy as a serious matter to be dealt with through agreed procedures, which may result in disciplinary action. If you have a complaint about a breach of this policy, please bring this to our attention immediately by following our complaints procedure


1. The protected characteristics are set out in the Equality Act 2010

Characteristic Who or what this covers
Age Adults and children, or specific and different age groups

A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

 It may include but is not limited to people who are:

  • blind and partially sighted
  • d/deaf or hearing impaired

People with:

  • learning disabilities
  • mental health issues
  • mobility issues, such as wheelchair or cane users, people of short stature and people who do not have mobility in a limb
  • some long-term health conditions which meet the criteria of a disability

And people who identify as neurodiverse, which refers to neurological differences including:

  • dyspraxia
  • dyslexia, 
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 
  • autistic spectrum and others
Gender reassignment

People who identify as transgender. It is defined as someone proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process or part of a process to reassign their sex. It is not necessary for the person to be under medical supervision or undergoing surgery.

You should also consider the needs of people who identify as non-binary - a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine.

MarrIage and civil partnerships

People who are married or in a civil partnership, and they may be of the opposite or same sex.

Pregnancy and maternity

Maternity is the period after birth linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, including treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.


Race refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), and ethnic or national origins. 

A racial group can include two or more distinct racial groups. For example, a person may identify as:

  • Black British
  • British Asian
  • British Sikh
  • British Jew
  • Romany Gypsy
  • Irish Traveller
Religion and belief

Belief means any religious or philosophical belief or no belief. A belief must satisfy various criteria to be protected, including that it is a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour. Denominations or sects within a religion can be considered a protected religion or religious belief.


This characteristic covers men and women. You should also consider the needs of people who identify as:

  • intersex (people who have variations in sex characteristics) 
  • non-binary (a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine)
Sexual orientation

People who identify as:

  • straight
  • heterosexual
  • lesbian
  • gay
  • bisexual

2. Other characteristics

In addition to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010, UK law recognises that people with other characteristics may also experience disadvantage or reduced access to services because of their circumstances, such as members of the armed forces community.

In 2019 the Council passed a motion that accepted the request from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of anti-Semitism:

"Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

3. The definition of disability

The Equality Act 2010 sets out the definition of disability in part 6 - 'A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'.

A person must meet all elements of this definition to satisfy the Equality Act 2010 and trigger the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

4. The Public Sector Equality Duty

Under the Equality Act 2010, public bodies like North Norfolk District Council must, in the exercise of their public functions, have due regard to:

  • eliminating discrimination, harassment, victimisation
  • advancing equality of opportunity between people who share a 'protected characteristic' and people who do not
  • encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

It is called the public sector equality duty. In essence, the duty requires North Norfolk District Council to thoroughly consider the equality issues of every proposal, action or decision before going ahead with it.

A proposal, action or decision means anything that is a public function. In other words, something that impacts people who live, work, learn in or visit North Norfolk, such as:

  • planning, changing or commissioning services
  • policies, strategies and procedures
  • buying equipment
  • projects
  • recruitment and workforce management
  • budget decisions

North Norfolk District Council has discretion about how it implements the duty. However, it must be able to provide evidence that due regard was genuinely given to equality before decisions being made. 

Many public bodies summarise their efforts to give 'due regard to equality' in a document called equality impact assessment' (EqIA). This document is an easy way to analyse and evidence the different ways a proposal, action or decision might impact people with protected characteristics. 

However, an EqIA is not the only way of giving due regard to equality. For example, meeting minutes could demonstrate that full consideration has been given to equality issues. 

Who is responsible for giving due regard to equality or doing equality impact assessments?

The officer responsible for the proposal, action or decision should ensure that the duty is implemented and brought to the relevant decision-makers' attention, whether elected members or officers with delegated responsibility. 

Elected members must give due regard to equality in every decision they make. The decision may be subject to legal challenge or judicial review if not properly discharged. 

Elected members can and should challenge officers if they believe that adequate information has not been provided about the potential equality issues of a proposal or recommendation.