Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) Report
For further information on undertaking and completing an Equality Impact Assessment, please
see the guidance.
Name of policy/ procedure/ function/ service
Community Forum Budgets
Chief Executive’s Dept, Communities and Places
Department and Section: Team
Name of lead officer and others completing this
Mike Thomson/Derk Van De Wardt
Contact telephone numbers: 0116 305 7090/3057581
Date EIA assessment completed: December 2011
Step 1: Defining the policy/ procedure/ function/ service
Using the information gathered within the Equality Questionnaire, you should begin this full EIA by
defining and outlining its scope. The EIA should consider the impact or likely impact of the policy in
relation to all areas of equality, diversity and human rights, as outlined in the Equality, Diversity and
Human Rights Strategy of Leicestershire County Council.
What are the main aims, purpose and objectives of the policy/ procedure/ function/ service?
How will they be achieved?
The purpose of the Community Forum Budget process is to empower communities to play a role in
decision making, in line with Big Society aspirations, by allowing communities to put forward project
ideas for which they are seeking funding, comment on these project proposals, and have a key role in
choosing which projects are supported. A supporting and complimentary purpose is to improve the
quality of life of communities by providing enabling funding for priority community initiatives. The main
objective is to enable communities to propose and prioritise community improvements which can then
be implemented with support from £320,000pa of funding available through a network of 25
Community Forums. This funding is proposed to be allocated in 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14.
What are the main activities relating to this policy/ procedure/ function/ service and distinguish
who is likely to benefit from these activities.
The main activities relating to this service centre on facilitating the submission of eligible projects for
community consideration and enabling community involvement in the budget allocation process. Key
Promotion of Community Budgets and the opportunity to put forward projects and participate in
decision making via mailings to community groups, organisations and individuals and publicity via
local media, posters, promotional events, community meetings and the Community Forums web
Providing advice to potential applicants on project development and the application process.
Inviting comments from communities on eligible project proposals via the Community Forums web
Accepting bookings for Community Forum workshop meetings made via the web site or by
Managing Community Forum workshop events where project proposals are presented, discussed
and prioritised for funding.
Finalising any outstanding project issues, formal approval, monitoring of implementation and
arranging grant payment.
What outcomes are expected?
The service will achieve increased civic engagement through community participation in budget
allocation and project prioritisation. Communities of Leicestershire will benefit from increased quality
of life as a result of a) the benefits of projects that are enabled to be implemented and b) increased
social capital from involvement in joint decision making and increased community links and
Step 2: Potential Impact
Use the table below to specify if any service users or staff who identify with any of the
‘protected characteristics’ below will be affected by the policy/ procedure/ service you are
proposing (indicate all that apply) and describe why and what barriers these individuals or
groups may face.
Who is affected and what barriers may these individuals or groups face?
Age The ability of people to access and participate in the Community
Budget process may be differentially affected by reason of age.
Older people are usually disproportionally represented at
Community Forums, whereas young people and families with
young children are less well represented.
Workshops are held in evenings to make them accessible to
working people, but do provide childcare issues for families with
young children. Evening meetings may also be less easy for
young people to attend, especially if they rely on public transport.
For older people, there may be issues for those that are less ICT
literate and/or have reduced home internet access. As a
consequence they would be less likely or able to engage with the
process via the web site where the process is explained,
proposals can be submitted and people can register to attend
workshop events and review and make comments on proposals.
Disability The ability of people to access and participate in the Community
Budget process may be differentially affected by reason of
disability. This could occur because disabled people may be less
likely or able to engage with the process via the web site because
of visual, learning etc disabilities. Attendance at workshop events
could also be affected because of reduced mobility as well as
potential barriers to access to event venues, communication
People with hearing problems would be affected by poor quality
of sound and acoustics at venues.
Marriage and Civil Partnership
Pregnancy and Maternity
Race The ability of people to access and participate in the Community
Budget process is not in itself differentially affected by reason of
race. However, there may be some issues for people that do not
have English as their first language or have only a limited grasp
of English. These people may be less likely or able to engage
with the process via the web site, written material and workshop
meetings and have less awareness of opportunities due to
reduced ability to understand and communicate via English
Religion or Belief The ability of people to access and participate in the Community
Budget process may be differentially affected by reason of
religion or belief. This could occur because people may be
discouraged from attending workshop events due to the religious
significance of venues, religious observance requirements in
terms of the timing of events, refreshments provided etc.
The ability of people to access and participate in the Community
Other groups e.g. rural isolation,
Budget process may be differentially affected by reason of other
deprivation, health inequality,
carers, asylum seeker andfactors such as rural isolation and deprivation. This could occur
refugee communities, looked because of the time, cost and need for private transport to access
workshops in rural areas, reduced internet access and literacy
after children, deprived or
disadvantaged communities amongst deprived communities, competing responsibilities of
Community Cohesion The community budget process has been designed to build
community cohesion by encouraging participation in community
initiatives and developing links and bridging social capital
between different groups and sections of the community at joint
workshop events. The LAA Pilot has shown this to be effective.
Step 3: Data Collection & Evidence
In relation to your related findings in ‘Step Two’ are your presumptions on these barriers
based on any existing research, data evidence or other information?
What evidence, research, data and other information do you have which will be relevant to this
What does this information / data tell you about each of the diverse groups?
A pilot community budgeting process has been carried out an evaluation report has been published,
based on feedback of workshop participants and successful applicants. This identified that the vast
majority of participants feel able to participate in the process, but also highlighted some areas for
improvement, which have been built into the Community Forum Budgets process.
The barriers identified in Step 2 are those that could potentially occur in the absence of any mitigation.
Evidence gathered to date has however indicated that participation in the community budget process
has been broad based and has involved all sections of the community. Evidence of the way the
process has been managed shows that measures have been taken to address the potential for
discrimination by for example, ensuring access for disabled people to workshop venues, providing a
choice of appropriate refreshments etc. There has been no evidence that any of the above diverse
groups have been discouraged from participation in the process.
These are the stats based on 652 feedback forms that we collated from 23 Forum workshops* so far.
They represent 85% of the people that took part in the voting at these forums:
Question Agree/Agree Neither Disagree /
strongly agree / nor disagree
Please indicate how strongly you agree disagree + strongly
with the following statements: blank
I really enjoyed today’s workshop and I 88% 10% 2%
am glad I attended
I felt I had plenty of opportunity to 91% 6% 3%
participate in the process today
I felt the way projects were prioritised 73% 16% 11%
was fair and inclusive
*) feedback from 23 workshops. At 2 workshops feedback was accidently collated in a different format and feedback data collected a those forums can
therefore not be included in the above table .
People were able to view and comment on all project proposals via the Leicestershire forums website.
Usage has increased significantly during the Community Forum Budget process. Many people are
using the facility to view projects and we have received over 900 comments on project proposals.
The daily number of visitors to the site climbed from appr. 300 to between 500 and 600 visitors. During
November alone more than 5,300 unique visitors used the site. From studying the comments, it
appears that the opportunity to comment has been used in particular by young people and by families
with young children – people that often do not attend the workshops where the decisions are being
taken. This has allowed those groups to contribute to the process, although their voice did not have a
direct impact on the allocation process – as this would have been unjustifiable discrimination against
people that do not have internet access.
The key elements of the process (submitting project proposals, workshop registration & participation)
were all accessible for people without internet access. A telephone hot-line was instated to improve
ease of access. This hot-line has been well used, in particular by older people. Various hand-written
proposals have been received.
Feedback from workshop participants has highlighted that poor sound quality at meetings did pose a
problem for people with hearing problems. It did not however affect their ability to take part in the voting
and decision making.
At one or two meetings, people with limited knowledge of the English language participated. Any
‘translation’ that was required was undertaken by fellow participants, but the feedback suggested that
the translation required more time than was built into the process. Feedback from participants at these
meetings was nevertheless very positive and again, ability to take part in the voting and decision
making was not affected.
What further research, data or evidence may be required to fill any gaps in your understanding
of the potential or known affects of the policy?
Have you considered carrying out new data or research?
Although the above findings have been positive it is not possible to provide confirmed evidence of an
absence of negative impacts on the diverse groups and on-going monitoring is therefore considered
appropriate. Further research into potential impacts of the service could include;
Continuing encouragement of all participants in Community Forum workshops to complete
Additional equalities analysis of participants to complement existing information and assist in
establishing the extent of representative involvement of diverse groups.
Seeking feedback on the process via the web site.
Step 4: Consultation and Involvement
When considering how you to consult and involve people as part of the proposed policy/
procedure/ function/ service, it is important to think about the service users and staff who
may be affected as part of the proposal.
Have you consulted on this policy/ procedure/ function or service?
Outline any consultation and the outcomes of the consultation in relation to this EIA.
Consultation with County Councillors and with key partners, such as officers from District Councils,
VAL and the RCC has taken place in the design of the process.
Extensive consultation as part of the evaluation of the pilot process has involved Community Forum
delegates, workshop participants and project proposers.
During the process, Community consultation on the service has been sought from community forum
workshop participants via feedback forms. The outcome of the consultation has indicated high levels of
satisfaction with the process with limited evidence of barriers to access for diverse groups.
Do any of the barriers you identified actually exist based on this consultation?
The consultation and other evidence seems to indicate that most of the potential barriers identified do
not exist or have been effectively mitigated.
However, hearing problems were flagged up in a number of instances.
Also, some people thought the comments they made online would count as votes towards the
Step 5: Mitigating and assessing the impact
In relation to any research, data, consultation and information you have reviewed and/or
carried out as part of this EIA, it is now essential to assess the impact of the policy/
procedure/ function/ service and distinguish whether a particular group could be affected
differently in either a negative or positive way?
If you consider there to be actual or potential adverse impact or discrimination, please outline
this below. State whether it is justifiable or legitimate and give reasons.
There is the potential for adverse impact or discrimination although the evidence available does not
indicate that discrimination has occurred. Any discrimination that may have occurred is considered
justifiable and legitimate because delivery of the service has had due regard to eliminating
discrimination and providing equality of opportunity.
a) If you have identified adverse impact or discrimination that is illegal, you are required to take action
to remedy this immediately.
b) If you have identified adverse impact or discrimination that is justifiable or legitimate, you will need to
consider what actions can be taken to mitigate its effect on those groups of people.
What can be done to change the policy/ procedure/ function/ service to mitigate any adverse
Consider what barriers you can remove, whether reasonable adjustments may be necessary
and how any unmet needs that you have identified can be addressed.
In order to mitigate any adverse impact from the service further evidence should be collected to enable
a more informed assessment of the nature of impacts. In addition ongoing and further adjustments may
be implemented to minimise any potential adverse impacts. These adjustments should include;
Continuing to use, where possible, workshop locations with good public transport links and that are
accessible by walking and cycling and/or are centrally located within the Forum area.
Consider additional measures to assist participation by people who are not fluent in English, in
particular in Forum areas where these people form a relatively large group.
Continuing to ensure that workshop venues have full disability access and where possible facilities
to aid participation by disabled people.
Improving accessibility for people with hearing problems
Continuing to provide refreshments that are suitable for different faiths and holding workshops in
non religious premises.
Provide clarity on how comments made online are taken into account in the allocation process.
Step 6: Making a decision
Summarise your findings and give an overview of whether the policy will meet Leicestershire
County Council’s responsibilities in relation to equality, diversity and human rights.
The above findings indicate that whilst there are potential adverse impacts associated with the
provision of the Community Forum Budgets service the existing evidence does not identify any
impacts. This lack of identified adverse impacts reflects in part service design and mitigation already in
place. Although the potential for adverse impacts can not be eliminated the measures identified in
Step 5 should be taken to minimise the potential for adverse impacts. The process has had a positive
impact in terms of building community cohesion and developing community links and participation.
Further evidence will continue to be collated to monitor prevalence of potential adverse impacts.
Step 7: Monitoring, evaluation & review of your policy/
How will you monitor the impact and effectiveness of the new policy/ procedure/ service
change and what monitoring systems will you put in place to monitor this and to promote
equality of opportunity and make positive improvements?
The effectiveness of service changes will be monitored via ongoing community consultation including
feedback forms, discussion at Community Forum meetings, web site feedback etc.
How will the recommendations of this assessment be built into wider planning and review
e.g. policy reviews, annual plans and use of performance management systems.
The recommendations of this assessment will be built into the planning and design of the Community
Budget process for future financial years.
Equality Improvement Plan
Please list all the equality objectives, actions and targets that result from the Equality Impact Assessment (continue on separate sheets as
necessary). These now need to be included in the relevant service plan for mainstreaming and performance management purposes.
Equality Objective Action Target Officer Responsible By when
Provide accessibility to Identify, where possible, All workshop meetings Area based Communities Ongoing /
workshops for people workshop locations with are located at venues and Places staff.
who do not have access good public transport accessible by public
to a car. links and that are transport, walking and
accessible by walking cycling, or at venues
and cycling. otherwise centrally
located and easily
Meetings now take place accessible for the 2012/13 Community
in spring/early summer majority of the Forum Budget process.
so within hours of area population
Ensure participation of Provide clarity on how Young people and Area based Communities 2012/13 Community
young people and comments made families with young and Places staff. Budget process.
families with young online are taken into people are clear about
children is encouraged account in the how they can take part in
allocation process. the process and are
Ensure guidance enabled to fully
states clearly that participate.
people from age of 10
can fully participate in
Ensure publicity /
clearly that children
are welcome at
facilities subject to
participation of young
people by targeted
promotion via youth
groups and networks
(CYCLe group, Youth
Service, Youth Clubs,
Enable participation by Where project proposals Appropriate interpretation Area based Communities 2012/13 Community
people who are not fluent are aimed at benefiting at all workshops where and Places staff. Budget process.
in English. communities with required.
relatively high prevalence
of non-English speakers,
liaise with project
proposers to ensure
attendance of people
who can effectively
interpret proceedings at
the relevant Community
Ensure participation Ensure workshop venues All workshop venues Area based Communities 2012/13 Community
opportunities for disabled have full disability access have full disability access and Places staff. Budget process.
people. and where possible and any additional
facilities to aid disability needs are met.
participation by disabled
Improving accessibility Ensure venues have People with hearing aids Area based Communities 2012/13 Community
for people with hearing good acoustics or or limited hearing can and Places staff. Budget process.
problems compensate by using fully participate in
Ask specific question re
requiring hearing loop on
Provide for participation Provide refreshments People are not Area based Communities On-going.
of people from all faiths. that are suitable for discouraged from and Places staff.
different faiths and hold participation on religious
workshops in non grounds.
Update and develop Monitor the equalities Maintain up to date Area based Communities 2012/13 Community
service provision as impact of service delivery intelligence on equalities and Places staff. Budget process.
necessary taking account through consultation with impacts.
of equalities impacts communities including
user feedback forms,
web questionnaire and
This monitoring to
monitoring of potentially
1st Authorised Signature (EIA Lead): ……Derk Van Der Wardt…….. Date: ……20th January 2012…………..
2nd Authorised Signature (Member of DMT) Phil Hawkins Date: 07-02-2012………………………………………………......
Once completed, please send a copy of this form to the Departmental Equalities Group for quality assurance. Once
authorised, this Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) Report will need to be published on our website..