The big change taking effect on 1 October was of course the implementation of the bulk of the Equality Act 2010, which modernises and consolidates all Britain's equality law. But two other changes which came into effect on that date are also worth a mention.

As in previous years the national minimum wage rates increased with effect from the beginning of October. The adult rate, which will now apply to workers aged 21 or over, increased to £5.93 per hour. The rate for workers between 18 and 20 went up to £4.92, and the rate for 16 and 17 years olds rose to £3.64. Finally, a new minimum wage of £2.50 per hour was introduced for some apprentices. More information can be found on the Low Pay Commission's website.

Amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations also took effect on 1 October. The changes include modifying the suitability checks that agencies and employment businesses need to carry out, and banning or restricting the taking of up-front fees from work-seekers. More details are contained in the Government's explanatory memorandum which accompanies the new regulations.