October 2nd, 2019 by James Goudie KC

In R (Parkin) v SoS for Work and Pensions (2019) EWHC 2356 (Admin) Elisabeth Laing J at paragraph 88 identified four key features relevant to that case (in relation to universal credit) of the many decisions about the scope of Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010: (i) Section 149 does not require a substantive result; (ii) it implies a duty to make “reasonable inquiry” into the obvious equal impacts of a decision; (iii) it requires a decision-maker to understand the obvious equality impacts of a decision before adopting a policy; and (iv) complying with it is not a box-ticking exercise.

Elisabeth Laing J, at paragraph 125, concluded that, in the light of the complexity of the overall scheme, the SoS had the necessary “due regard” by adopting the approach which she did to the formal “assessment of the impact of the scheme as a whole”. The SoS had complied with the PSED in designing the universal credit scheme.  It had not been necessary to assess the impact of each of the interacting components of the scheme.

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