Equality impact assessments process

All council decisions require confirmation that equality issues have been considered and an equality impact assessment completed if appropriate.

How to assess the impact of services

A self-auditing process is used to ensure that we consult with local people and assessing the likely impact of its services, policies and decisions. 

There is an ongoing schedule of equality impact assessments (EIAs) which is based on our service financial plans and any additional or ad-hoc EIA’s are included as necessary. Functions and services across the council have been assessed previously, and there is a rolling schedule of reviews as required. The EIA will be carried out by a team of staff from within the service and other appropriate members, plus support from the relevant equality champion. In addition the policy officer is sometimes involved. The EIA will result in a proportionate action plan. This process is monitored by the Equality Champions Group and referred to the Corporate Governance Group as required to ensure that issues identified are addressed and actions completed in a timely manner.

An EIA will be completed when there is a change or review to policies or procedures. The completion of Stage 1 of an EIA will determine if a full assessment is needed.

EIA process

Stage 1: scope the assessment

The assessment is scoped to fit the defined service area and its policies.  It is possible to carry out an Equality Impact Assessment on any aspect of our work and the focus may be policy; strategy; service; major project; or a group of services/policies.

Stage 2: information gathering and data collection

In most cases the assessment will use existing data sources. Additional data may be collected if needed or additional consultation carried out. This will be the decision of the team. There may be data gaps at this stage and the collection of new data could be one of the actions emerging from the assessment, to be included in the action plan. At this stage the team need to:

  • decide and identify the quantitative and qualitative data and management information that is needed
  • ensure there is information that allows all perspectives to be taken into account
  • identify and document any gaps in data and explain how these will be addressed; the team may decide to collect new data or consult with other agencies/focus groups/local residents

Stage 3: impact assessment and analysis

The EIA is likely to generate actions and performance indicators that will drive improvement in delivering equitable services. Possible findings might include:

  • an adverse impact or impacts in one or more areas;
  • systems or processes that are likely to cause an adverse impact across one or more areas;
  • unmet need within one or more groups.

Evaluation is about using monitoring and other data to assess service delivery, and aims to answer agreed questions and to make a judgement against specific criteria.  To make a robust assessment data must be collected and analysed systematically, and its interpretation considered carefully.

In general, questions asked will include:

  • What were the key issues that needed to be addressed?
  • What actions have been completed?
  • Did they achieve the intended purpose?
  • Are there any persistent inequalities that still need addressing?
  • What changes or benefits have met the needs of particular service users?

Stage 4: equalities improvement plan (including continuous monitoring)

If an assessment demonstrates an impact (adverse or otherwise) then the service will consider any possible actions to remedy the situation. The purpose of these actions will be to:

  • improve the quality of data/research so that there is a clearer understanding of impact;
  • identify suitable measures to reduce and/or mitigate the impact;
  • develop good equality practice.

It is important to ensure that any strategy/service/policy has a built in monitoring framework. This stage will enable the Officer to consider how such monitoring will take place and how the data obtained through the monitoring will be used to ensure that any measures and actions taken were sufficiently thorough.

In line with the public sector equality duty (PSED) all EIAs are published on our website for public scrutiny.

Ad hoc and additional equality impact assessments

Everyone can be involved. If anyone sees a way that we work that is creating an adverse impact on an individual or group then please do an ad hoc equality assessment.

Publishing of equality information

In line with the PSED supporting the Equality Act 2010 local authorities are required to show transparency in both decision making and in the services they provide.