From today public organisations will have to actively promote racial equality, as the Race Relations (Amendment) Act comes into force.
The Act, updated from the original 1976 legislation, fulfils the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence report.
All public bodies, including the police, nation and local government, will have to be seen to actively promote racial equality and publish annual reports on whether they have met their aims and objectives.
The Commission for Racial Equality has the power to take legal action against a public organisations if it believes that the body is not actively promoting racial equality.
"The public sector has not lived up to the justified expectation that it should deliver race equality. It has no option to do so now," said CRE chairman Gurbux Singh.
"The Act will mean that employers will now need to look at what they do, who they serve and who they employ and make sure they provide equality of opportunity across all their activities."
By Paul Nelson