The Equality Act lists public authorities that must adhere to the public sector equality obligation.
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These organizations include:
- Ministers and government departments
- The Armed Forces
- The NHS
- Local authorities
- The police
- Schools and universities are educational institutions
The information commissioner
If they perform public functions, other organisations that are not included in the Act must comply with the public sector equality obligation. It can be a public-sector organisation. You can also choose to be a charity or private organization.
Charities and private organizations
Public sector equality duties also apply to charities and private organisations that perform public functions.
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This could be, for example:
- Privatized utilities such as water companies, British Gas, and Network Rail
- Some organisations have had to subcontract for a public function, such as a private security firm running a prison.
- Housing associations in the performance of some of their functions as social landlords
- Private care homes that provide care for the local authority
- Private hospitals that provide care for the NHS.
- Hybrid authorities are private charities and organizations that perform public functions.
- How can you tell if an organization is performing a public function.
- If an organisation isn’t listed in the Equality Act it’s up to the courts to decide if it’s a government authority performing a public function.
- A public function, in general, is one that the state provides to the public such as education, prisons, or health services.
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If an organisation performs one of these activities for the state, they can be considered a public authority. It is not enough for a private organization to perform a public service to be considered a public authority.
To determine if a private organization is performing a public function, the courts will consider a variety of factors. It will examine whether the organization is:
- Publicly funded
- Supervised by a state regulator
- It can exercise the powers granted to it by law
- Taking the place of local or central government
- Public service
- Acting in the public interest
- Coercive power delegated to the state
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The courts will also examine whether there is a close relationship between an organisation and a public agency.