Watford / Three Rivers - Procurement Portal

Equalities and its Implications on the Procurement Process

The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, which amended the Race Relations Act 1976, has important implications for Local Authorities. The amended Race Relations Act, the RRA, outlaws race discrimination in all our functions, including procurement.

It also gives Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and all Local Authorities a clearer, more direct positive legal duty to eliminate discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations. In HCC we have extended this to include discrimination on the grounds of gender, age, disability, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

Where a public authority’s function is carried out by an external supplier on its behalf, the local authority remains responsible for meeting the duty. Although in most respects the provisions of the law do not apply directly to a private company, they do if the company is carrying out a ‘public function’ (for example, running a residential care home). The new duty to promote race equality may also apply indirectly to a private company contracted by a public authority, which may be required by that authority to fulfil the contract in a way that enables the authority to comply with the duty

We need to ensure that our suppliers are not operating in a discriminatory way, under the law. If they are found to be doing so we are liable, so we have to ensure that we have considered the equalities implications of the contract, and ensure that our contractors are practising and promoting equality within their own organisation.

Contractors (and potential contractors) need to be aware of the legal duty on local authorities, since it has implications for them.

The following Guide for Suppliers which has been produced jointly by the CRE and the CBI.

Further guidance is available from Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)