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Equity and Inclusion Scheme 2022-24

Our legal duties

The Equality Act 2010 is the law that protects against discrimination and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and in service provision.

The Act protects people from discrimination on the grounds covered by the previous equality laws. These grounds are now called ‘protected characteristics’. They are:

  • Age

  • Disability

  • Gender reassignment

  • Marriage and civil partnership

  • Pregnancy and maternity

  • Race

  • Religion and belief

  • Sex

  • Sexual orientation.

The Act also promotes equality of opportunity to prevent discrimination arising in the first place.

The Public Sector Equality Duty came into force in April 2011. It replaced three previous duties on race, disability and gender, bringing them into a single duty, and extended it to cover age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment. Its aim is to embed equality considerations into the day-to-day work of public authorities, so they actively tackle discrimination and inequality and help make society fairer.

As a public sector organisation, the WMCA needs to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any related prohibited conduct;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a ‘relevant protected characteristic’ and persons who do not share it; and
  • Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

Knowing our communities – Regional inequalities at a glance

The West Midlands Metropolitan Area comprises Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Key equality highlights (as per the 2011 Census) are presented below.

Estimated Population:

  • The population was 2,916,458 in mid-2018.

Population density is the highest in Birmingham, with 42.6 people per hectare and lowest in Solihull with 12.1 people per hectare. On average, population density is 31.8%, the average for England is 4.2%.

The West Midlands Metropolitan area has the second highest fertility rate of all UK regions, is ethnically diverse and has a younger than average population. The growing population is likely to become increasingly diverse. The changing population may result in the need for more infrastructure and pressure on the environment.

Race and Ethnic Background

The West Midlands Metropolitan area has the largest non-White regional population outside of London. Asian or Asian British is the ethnic group that makes up the biggest non-white proportion of the population.

Faith or Belief

People in the West Midlands Metropolitan area have a greater level of religious affiliation than in England overall.


The split between the sexes (50.5% female and 49.5% male) is similar to England and Wales.


The West Midlands Metropolitan area has one of the highest proportions of population aged under 16 and a lower proportion of people aged over 65 compared with other regions. Birmingham specifically is described as the youngest city in Europe, with under 25s ac- counting for nearly 40% of the population. The West Midlands Metropolitan area also generally has a lower percentage of people aged 65+ with the exception of Solihull and Walsall that have higher proportions of people above retirement age than nationally.

Sexual Orientation

2.3% of the West Midlands population identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual in 2018. However, key organisations such as Stonewall estimate the figure to be higher at 5-7%.


The West Midlands Metropolitan area has a larger percentage of people in households with a limiting long-term illness (6% of households compared to 4.7% in England and Wales). It also has a slightly larger proportion of disabled people than England and Wales (19% versus 18% in England and Wales).