Journal Article

Public Sector Equality Duty: enforcing equality rights through second-generation regulation


This article reviews the effectiveness of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), based on insights from debates within equality law and theories of regulation. Drawing on examples of its practical implementation, the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘reflexive turn’ in equality law are assessed. Whilst recognising the concerns raised regarding second-generation regulation, such as its inability to address structural power relations, the article proposes that this form of regulation has some merit when applied to equality law. First, the participatory processes that it produces can in themselves be viewed as equality outcomes, particularly when equality is understood to encompass the participation and inclusion of vulnerable groups. Second, this form of regulation can introduce change within organisations, proving reasonably resilient once embedded in standards of good management practice. The paper does not suggest that the processes of the PSED cannot be improved, and instead proposes a number of ways in which second-generation regulation can be made more effective. However, it argues that examples of the implementation of the PSED show how reflexive regulation can provide more effective and resilient means to support the realisation of equality and social justice than at first appears.

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Manfredi, Simonetta
Vickers, Lucy
Clayton Hathway, Kate

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\School of Law
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2017
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-07-11

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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