We take equality and diversity into account when making decisions across our services by using an equality impact assessment.
How do we think about equality and diversity in what we do?
We have developed an equality impact assessment process to ensure that our services are fit for purpose.
There are several good reasons for doing this:
- to help us anticipate and thereby reduce or prevent any discriminatory effects on any particular groups of people, particularly the most disadvantaged or vulnerable people in our community
- council services are more appropriate for users, including making them more efficient and cost-effective and improving public satisfaction
- councillors are properly advised of the potential effects of proposals before they make decisions that will inevitably affect people’s lives
- the process offers the opportunity for stakeholder involvement in council decisions. Consultation is a key part of the process, so service users, staff and others likely to be affected by a proposal can have the opportunity to get involved and shape the final decision
- it helps us meet our Public Sector Equality Duty
How we do it
We consider equality issues by initially working through:
- a ‘screening’ template for deciding whether a full impact assessment is necessary
- a ‘full equality impact assessment’ template which guides us in a more detailed enquiry, incorporating the consideration of existing research, as well as engaging staff, service users and representative groups in new enquiries
We have developed guidance for officers to follow when conducting equality impact assessments. In screening a policy or process we systematically work through key questions to focus our mind on the potential impacts.
The questions include:
- what is the purpose of the process?
- do we know our target audience?
- are vulnerable or disadvantaged people the target audience?
- does this process specifically focus on groups of people by reference to their ‘protected characteristic’?
This will give us an idea of whether the impact is adverse and whether sufficiently high to warrant further inquiry or full equality impact assessment.
A full equality impact assessment will expand the information and data that has been referred to in the screening giving a detailed explanation of the envisaged impact and actions that have sought to mitigate the risks from the adverse impact. This will include research from other areas, where relevant and include the results of engagement and consultation with stakeholders.