Procurement and Equalities Legislation

The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous equalities legislation, such as the Race Relation (Amendment) Act 2000 (RR(A)A), the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and the Equality Act 2006, and expands the public equality duties to include the following protected characteristics:

Equalities legislation impacts on University purchasing activity in several key areas, such as:

Although equalities legislation affects all contracts, its impact is most keenly felt if a supplier will be in face-to-face or verbal contact with the University's staff, customers (students) or members of the public in the vicinity of University sites. Where this occurs, the products and services delivered are defined as 'highly relevant'. In these circumstances the conduct of such suppliers' staff is relevant so far as the University's responsibility under the equalities legislation is concerned. If you are unsure if a product or service is highly relevant contact a member of Procurement Services.

The person purchasing must apply due regard to making appropriate arrangements to ensure that the supplier has the capability, and has introduced policies, documentation and training to ensure that the staff delivering the product or service are aware of their obligations under equalities legislation, and do nothing that breaches these in any way. The recommended process to assess the supplier for these criteria is to use the supplier evaluation questionnaire.

All invitations to tender and quotations for highly relevant products and services must at least contain the race relations terms and conditions and all contracts must contain the supplier evaluation questionnaire. It is recommended good practice that the terms are applied appropriately across all protected groups.

All University terms now contain an equality clause so that there is no need to send separate terms to the supplier.

The importance of the legislation must not be underestimated. The potential liabilities for breaching the legislation can be unlimited fines with potential personal liability in some cases. Additionally, the increased possibility of receiving a challenge, are such that everyone involved in purchasing will need to show that they have applied due regard to their obligations under equalities legislation, and have taken steps to embed it into their departmental procedures and processes. Finally, equalities legislation creates legal obligations and therefore cannot be considered optional.

We advise that you contact a member of Procurement Services before using the advice contained within these web pages for the first time, particularly if you are contracting for a highly relevant product or service.

If you require any additional help or advice in complying with this legislation contact Procurement Services.

The following websites provide additional information on Equality: