Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (‘the Act’) requires the Department, in carrying out its functions, powers and duties, 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
- between men and women generally
- between persons with a disability and persons without
- between persons with dependants and persons without
Without prejudice to these obligations, the Department is also required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.
As required by Schedule 9 of the Act the Department has set out in an Equality Scheme how it proposes to fulfill these duties.
In accordance with Schedule 9 of the Act, the Equality Commission's approval of the Equality Scheme (2012) was notified on 28 March 2012.
- Equality scheme for the Department of Health
- Equality scheme for the Department of Health - 5 year review (Sept 2017)
When a person believes that he/she has been directly affected by a failure of the Department to comply with the Equality Scheme he/she is free to make a complaint. Chapter 8 of the Equality Scheme explains the complaints procedure.
Annual Report to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
The Department, like all public authorities, is required to report annually to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland on the progress made towards implementing its statutory duties.
Equality Action Plan
The Department’s Equality Scheme includes a commitment to the development of an Equality Action Plan (EAP) which relates to the Department’s specific functions and aims to promote equality of opportunity and good relations by taking actions to address inequalities.
The previous EAP was published in April 2012.
The Department carried out an initial Audit of Inequalities and consulted on a new draft EAP from December 2017 to February 2018.
An EAP for 2019 – 2024 has now been finalised. The document will be reviewed and updated annually.
- Equality Action Plan 2019-2024
- Equality and Disability Action Plans 2019-2024 - Easy Read
- Equality Action Plan for DoH 2012
Disability Action Plan
Under Section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), amended by Article 5 of the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, public authorities are required ,when carrying out their functions, to have due regard to the need to:-
- promote positive attitudes towards disabled people
- encourage participation by disabled people in public life
In addition, under Section 49B public authorities are required to produce a Disability Action Plan showing how they propose to fulfill these duties.
The Department consulted on a new draft Disability Action Plan (DAP) from December 2017 to February 2018. A new DAP for 2019 – 2024 has now been finalised. This document will be reviewed and updated annually.
- Disability Action Plan 2019-2024
- Easy Read Equality and Disability Action Plans 2019-2024
- Disability Action Plan 2012-18
- Disability Action Plan 2012-2017 – 5 year review (Sept 2017)
Policies screened and EQIAs
In fulfilling its obligations under Section 75 the Department is required to equality screen all of its policies and services under consideration to determine whether they should be subject to a full equality impact assessment (EQIA).
The Department is also committed to publishing a Screening Report containing details of all Policies screened in the quarter.
Screenings prior to 2012 can be requested by contacting the Equality and Human Rights Unit
EU Charter for regional or minority languages
This guidance provides general policy advice and information on meeting the UK Government’s commitments and obligations in respect of Irish and Ulster Scots, made when the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (the Charter) was signed and ratified.