Promoting equality of opportunity and good relations
Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 places a statutory obligation on Public Authorities to carry out their functions with due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and good relations in respect of religious belief, political opinion, gender, race, disability, age, marital status, dependants and sexual orientation. To implement this obligation, we have produced an Equality Scheme which has been approved by the Equality Commission.
The DfI Equality Scheme has been approved by both the Minister for Infrastructure and the DfI Departmental Board. Publication of the Scheme was approved on 4 February 2021.
The DfI Equality Scheme is available on the following page:
When a person believes that they have been directly affected by a failure of the Department to comply with the Equality Scheme they are free to make a complaint. Details of how to make a complaint can be found in the following page:
Audit of Inequalities
Guidance from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) recommends that public authorities should undertake an audit of inequalities by examining their functions and how these relate to the promotion of equality and good relations. Specific actions to address the inequalities identified should then be set out in an action plan, and these actions linked to the authority’s corporate planning cycle.
The audit of inequalities is additional and complementary to the development of an equality scheme. It is intended to produce a more strategic picture of inequalities that a public authority may be in a position to influence, rather than examining inequalities on a policy by policy basis. It should be similar to other approaches undertaken by organisations to review and evaluate their performance, to make decisions about the way forward and to prioritise actions over time.
Annual Report to the Equality Commission
The Department's Equality Scheme commits the Department to submitting a formal review of progress, on an annual basis, to the Equality Commission, setting out the action taken to fulfil Section 75 commitments. The current report is available on the following page:
Previous year's reports are available at the following link - older reports can be requested from the DfI Equality Unit:
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2021-2022
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2020-2021
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2019-2020
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2018-2019
- Annual Report to the Equality Commission 2017-2018
ECNI Annual Reports covering before May 2016 relate to functions of the former Department for Regional Development (DRD) only. DRD ceased to exist and its functions transferred to DfI from midnight on 8 May 2016.
Northern Ireland Act
Full details of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 can be found on the legislation.gov.uk website:
Revised Guidance for implementing Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 was published in April 2010 by the Equality Commission. This revised guidance, and other information about the Equality Commission, can be found on their website by searching for 'Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 - A Guide for Public Authorities'. More information is available on the Equality Commission website:
Human Rights Act
The provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 came into effect at the time of devolution and incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law.
The Department must ensure compliance of its legislation, decision-making and administrative practice with the requirements of the convention. A Departmental Human Rights Action Plan has been put in place to fulfil this obligation.
More information on Human Rights can be found on TEO's website:
Delivering Social Change
The Delivering Social Change framework aims to deliver a sustained reduction in poverty and associated issues across all ages and is also seeking to secure an improvement in children and young people’s health, well-being and life opportunities thereby breaking the long term cycle of multi-generational problems.
More information on delivering social change can be found on TEO's website:
Information about alternative and accessible formats as well as consultation contact information is available from the Equality Unit contact page: