Age Equality

This section establishes that where the Act refers to the protected characteristic of age, it means a person belonging to a particular age group.  An age group includes people of the same age and people of a particular range of ages.  Where people fall in the same age group they share the protected characteristic of age.


• An age group would include “over fifties” or twenty-one year olds.

• A person aged twenty-one does not share the same characteristic of age with “people in their forties”.  However, a person aged twenty-one and people in their forties can share the characteristic of being in the “under fifty” age range.

Age discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 includes provisions enabling a ban on age discrimination against adults in the provision of services and public functions. It has been decided to implement the ban on 1 October 2012.

From this date it will be unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age unless the practice is covered by an exception from the ban, or good reason can be shown for the differential treatment (‘objective justification’).

The decision to implement the age discrimination ban was taken following a consultation on exceptions setting out the circumstances in which it would remain lawful to use age as a reason for treating people differently. We want to ensure that the new law prohibits only harmful treatment that results in genuinely unfair discrimination because of age. It should not outlaw the many instances of different treatment that are justifiable or beneficial.

You can read the original consultation on the archived Government Equalities Office website (Opens in a new window).

The Government Equalities Office has published guidance for service providers and their customers on the age discrimination ban that is due to commence on 1 October 2012. The Guidance includes an overview of how the ban will work and tailored guides for small businesses, private clubs and the holiday sector. The guidance can be accessed from the Equality Act guidance page of this website.

Age discrimination Exceptions Order

The government response to the consultation includes the draft Exceptions Order and sets out the way forward. You can also read the impact assessment.

The Exceptions Order will set out the specific exceptions to the ban, which are as follows:

  • age-based concessions
  • age-related holidays
  • age verification
  • clubs and associations
  • financial services
  • immigration
  • residential park homes
  • sport

These specific exceptions will be in addition to:

  • general exceptions already
    allowed by the Act
  • positive action measures
  • the ability to justify age
    discrimination by showing, if challenged, there is a good reason
    (‘objective justification’)

There are no specific exceptions to the ban on age discrimination for health or social care services. This means that any age-based practices by the NHS and social care organisations would need to be objectively justified, if challenged.

Both the prohibition and the exceptions from the ban will come into force at the same time. Quick-start guidance to support the introduction of the ban will be published on the website ahead of the introduction of the ban.

To tell us what you think about Age Equality in Northumberland please contact us.

Age Equality – useful links

Age Concern – Provides a range of free information guides for older people on money, health and other issues.

National Youth Agency – Aims to advance youth work and promote young people’s voice and influence.

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