Equality Impact Assessment Deaf and Hard of Hearing Team February 2011 Equality Impact Assessment: Services Title of service being assessed: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Team Adults and Communities Department: Department and Section: Personal Care and Support Names and roles of office completing Service Manager this assessment. Personal Care and Support Contact Telephone Numbers: 0116 2787111 Date assessment completed: February 6th 2011 Defining the service 1. What are the aims, objectives or purpose of the service? Are these reflected in the relevant service plan? This Equality Impact Assessment is being carried out on the proposal to refocus the work of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Team, following the review and options analysis undertaken in respect of the service between April – September 2010. The main aim and purpose of the Equality Impact Assessment is to ensure that the service currently provided by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Team is still available to this group of service users without any adverse impact on them. The Adults and Communities Department is facing a period of significant transformation as it embeds the Personalisation Programme and delivers the efficiencies and service reductions set out in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2010/11 - 2013/14. The MTFS set out a savings target of £33m for the Adults and Communities Department which has subsequently increased to £43m following the coalition government budget. Each service area in the Council is undertaking service reviews and identifying efficiency savings, and although no specific target has been identified for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Team it is expected that savings will be achieved as part of the overall requirement in respect of the new Departmental Care Pathway. Until 2005 the Deaf and Hard of Hearing service had been provided on behalf of the three local authorities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland by Action Deafness, a voluntary sector organisation (formerly the Centre for Deaf People). Management of the service was then transferred to Leicestershire County Council. The property in which the team are situated was owned by Action Deafness until 2010, when the build was sold, meaning that the lease will expire in April 2011 necessitating relocation of the service. Given this, the requirement to achieve efficiency savings and the need to ensure fit between the serviced provided by the team and the new care pathway for the Adults and Communities Department the favoured option identified by the review was disaggregation of the service, and this was agreed by Departmental Management Team in November 2010. Therefore, with effect from April 2011 the work currently undertaken by the team on behalf of the Children and Young Persons Service will be undertaken by the Disabled Children’s Team and Leicester City Council will absorb the work relating to the needs of City residents with a hearing impairment within their existing social care service. Rutland County Council has formally requested that Leicestershire County Council continue to host the service on their behalf and this has been agreed in principle by Departmental Management Team. It is also proposed that the team will relocate to County Hall with effect from 1 April 2011 when the lease agreement in respect of the team’s current base expires.As the refurbishment of County Hall is currently in progress as part of the Office Strategy,office space on the campus is at a premium.It is therefore not possible to accommodate the team at County Hall immediately upon the end of the lease for current accommodation in April 2011.It is therefore intended that interim accommodation will be provided for the team at Romulus Court,Meridian Business Park. The current Deaf and Hard of Hearing team provides a specialist social work rehabilitation and equipment service, including the operation of its own discrete referral/duty system. The proposals for the team reflect the need for integration of the service with the Customer Service Centre and the new Departmental Care Pathway, whilst continuing to retain a specialist function relating to people with a hearing impairment. The team will therefore operate as a ‘hosted’ service in Personal Care and Support, overseen by one of the locality managers, which will enable the retention of staff with appropriate skills and experience and address the specific issues relating to access to Departmental services as they affect people with a hearing impairment. Caseload volumes have decreased over the past year and it is evident that in relation to services other than equipment the team is over resourced relative to other Departmental teams with an assessment and care management function. The proposed structure of the new team therefore comprises of 0.5fte social worker, 0.5fte community support worker, 1.5fte rehabilitation workers, 0.5fte equipment officer and 1fte customer services adviser. The key aims and objectives of the proposed service will be to: Continue to provide a specialist social care service to deaf and hard of hearing people. Implementation of the new self directed support pathway, including the roll out of personal budgets. Integration of the service with the Customer Service Centre. Development of improved advice, information and guidance to all deaf and hard of hearing people, irrespective of their eligibility for services. Delivering of improved preventive and reablement services. 2. What outcomes does the service want to achieve and for whom? How have these been determined? Please also list any relevant performance indicators. The outcomes for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are consistent with those for the Adults and Communities Department as a whole, as set out in the White Paper ‘Our Health, Our Care, Our Say’. Implementation of the Self Directed Support pathway within the service will ensure that people with a hearing impairment have access to personal budgets, thereby benefiting from the greater choice and control over the way their services are delivered this brings. Integration of the team within the new Care Pathway will raise awareness of the needs of people with a hearing impairment within the wider Department. Disaggregation of the service and relocation of the team will facilitate a greater focus on Leicestershire residents with a hearing impairment. The overall outcome is to have efficient and targeted services delivered within a reduced budget. Whilst no specific performance indicators have been formally set for the proposed new service, those that apply to the wider Department will apply namely: Numbers of people receiving self direct support Carers receiving a service or advice and information and those to be developed in line with the proposals set out in ‘Transparency in Outcomes’. Consultation with deaf and hard of hearing people was undertaken as part of the review of the service undertaken in 2010. While most people rated the service they received as very good or good a number suggested improvements relating to: Advice and information The provision of equipment Location (specifically around more locality based services) Individual support. 3. Who is responsible for delivering the service? Are any other organisations involved? If other organisations are involved are they fully compliant with the Council’s Equality Policy? The Leicestershire County Council Adults and Communities Department are responsible for delivering the service to all residents of Leicestershire. The team will be located in Personal Care and Support, with the only change in this respect related to the line management arrangements for the team. There are several voluntary organisations which also provide services, advice and information to deaf and hard of hearing people in Leicestershire. The only one of these which Leicestershire County Council directly commission from is Action Deafness, which has its own Equality Policy. Services to people with a dual sensory impairment are provided by Vista which also has its own Equality Policy. 4. Consider the answers given in questions 1, 2 and 3 and assess whether your service results, or could result in adverse impact on or discrimination against different groups of people. If you consider that there is adverse impact or discrimination, or the potential for either, please outline below and state whether is it justifiable or legitimate and give your reasons for this. (See examples in Section 6) The intention is that the reconfigured service will continue to support the existing service user group and hence there is no expectation of any adverse impact. The services currently provided already demonstrate an explicit commitment to equal opportunities ensuring service users are not discriminated against because of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion/belief or disability. Whilst it is not envisaged that the reduction in the establishment of the team (see Section 1) will have an impact on service users, consultation with the current staff group has highlighted concerns that the re-routing of referrals via the Customer Service Centre and the re-location of the team initially to Romulus Court,and ultimately to County Hall may impact on peoples’ ability to access the service. This concern relates particularly to deaf people whose primary means of communication is by British Sign Language (BSL) and who are therefore unable to communicate via telephone. It should be noted that many hard of hearing people will be able to utilise telephone communication through existing technology such as minicoms, but BSL users require face-to- face contact. For people who have current casework input the impact of this is mitigated by the fact that team members will visit people in their own homes and communities or communicate via text, but in cases which are not currently active or in emergency situations the lack of a readily physically accessible duty point may have an adverse impact on a small number of people. The relocation of the team is driven by the requirement to vacate their current base and relocation to Romulus Court and then County Hall has been determined by the availability of other accommodation, in line with the Office Accommodation Strategy. It is also the case that Leicestershire County Council policy has determined the requirement for all initial contacts with the Department to take place through the Customer Service Centre rather than locality offices. However, the current location within the City of Leicester means that City residents benefit more from the facility for office calls than County residents.Analysis of the number office callers who are resident in the County and whose first language is BSL average three per week. Analysis of service provision by locality for County residents suggests a pattern consistent with other service user groups, indicating that service take up for hearing impaired people is not significantly affected by their address, and that relocation from a City Centre base to Romulus Court or ultimately County Hall is unlikely to impact greatly on this (see Appendix 1). 5. (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. This arises out of the duty to promote good relations between people of different groups and is in keeping with the Council’s approach to social cohesion. (An example of this could be Positive Action measures which target specific members of staff). Whilst the reconfiguration of the service has taken into account the need to retain the specialist skills necessary to meet the communication needs of deaf people and disaggregation of the service and assimilation into the new Care Pathway Service will mean both a greater focus on the needs of Leicestershire residents with a hearing impairment, plus the benefits of the Personalisation Programme if there is a risk that access to the service could be more difficult for a small number of people. A number of mitigating actions are therefore set out in the equality improvement plan. Ensure that these actions are listed in the attached equality improvement plan. If you do not have the authority to take the action required, you will need to alert the relevant service manager of your findings. Identifying and Removing Barriers to Equal Access 6. (a) Identify the ways people can find out about and use the services you provide. Consider any processes they need to go through or criteria that we apply to determine eligibility for receiving the service. List your answers in box (a) below. (b) Review those processes and criteria and consider whether any of them are essential (i.e. are they a legal requirement?) and mark accordingly in box (b). You are aiming to maintain only those processes or criteria that are critical to delivering the service. (c) Review those processes and criterion that you have decided are critical against the access needs that various equality groups of people have. Are there any groups of people who would not be able to find out about or use the service? What are the barriers that are preventing them? List your answers in box (c) Consider issues such as: How can people who are deaf/disabled or visually impaired find out about your service? What about people whose first language is not English. Is information readily available in a variety of formats e.g. other languages, large print, audio tape, easy read for people with learning difficulties? If people need to come to council offices, are these fully accessible? How easy is it for a person to make their communication needs understood? Is there good and accessible transport links to the offices? Is there parking for disabled people? How do you ensure that an individual’s preferred method of communication is known about and adhered to? Is there a quiet area for interviewing people who are deaf/disabled? Is sufficient time allocated? Are the needs of young children accompanying a service user accommodated? Can an officer attend a user’s home if, for example, a person finds it difficult or impossible to come to the offices? Have staff received sufficient and appropriate customer care and equalities awareness training to be able to deal confidently with a variety of potential access needs? (a) (b) (c) List Process and Criteria Essential? Barriers identified and groups Yes/No affected Yes Although County Hall is fully Access accessible by all groups, it does not provide a duty point for face-to-face contact. Transport links to County Hall may be a barrier to some users accessing the service, although this would potentially be a greater problem for some people if the service were to be located elsewhere. On an interim basis,Romulus Court could provide full access for all groups with very limited modifications.Immediate access to the team at Romulus Court would be available (cf. access via reception at County Hall). Transport links to Romulus Court are equivalent in impact to County Hall. The Customer Service Centre has Customer Service Yes no facility for face-to-face contact. Staff skills may present barriers to people with a hearing impairment through lack of awareness of needs, and appropriate communication skills. 6. (d)Based on your answers for (a),(b) and (c) consider what barriers you can remove, what reasonable adjustment may be necessary to ensure the service is accessible (this could include providing the service elsewhere). Consider what actions you will need to take to address any unmet needs that you have identified. For disabled people, as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act, this could mean treating them more favourably to ensure that there is equality of outcome. When you are deciding priorities for action you will need to consider whether the barriers result in an adverse impact or discrimination that is illegal. These will constitute your top priority. The other priorities will be dependent on such issues as whether a group is particularly excluded or connected to the core business of the service, whether there are adjustments that would mean several groups benefit. Access Email and letter contact can be made at all times. Text contact, which is often the favoured method of communication for people with a hearing impairment can be made at all times. The possibility of developing a referral process via Text talk/web cam/skype will be explored with the library service. A home visit service will be available for people unable to visit Romulus Court/County Hall. Outreach/appointment facilities will be established in locality offices around the County. Customer Service Deaf Awareness training will be made available to Customer Service Centre and County Hall reception staff.Team members will be able to meet any visitors to Romulus Court during the interim period. A discrete text number at the Customer Service Centre can be made available. The current team support worker will be attached to Tier 2 of the Customer Service Centre to provide specialist input regarding the needs of people with a hearing impairment. Ensure that the actions you identify are put into the attached equality improvement plan. If you do not have the authority to take the action required, you will need to alert the relevant service manager of your findings. Ensuring Continuous Equality Improvement 7. The council is committed to mainstreaming equality, ensuring that it is integrated into our performance management frameworks and subject to continuous improvement through performance monitoring. Essentially, if you are not monitoring, you do not know what impact your service is having or whether you are meeting people’s needs. The table below shows examples of several types and sources of performance information that we collect as a council, some is collected corporately and some will be collected within individual services. Review what data you have and consider the following questions: (a) What does analysis of the data tell you about how well your service is meeting the needs of the various equality groups? Are there any unmet needs or concerns that need to be addressed? How up to date is the information? (b) Which groups of people are you hearing from? Are there groups of people that you are not hearing from? What can you do to ensure that people are able to provide feedback on the service? Is there information on service user needs held by other services that would be appropriate for your services? Note your answers to these questions in the 3rd and 4th column below. Analysis of the data Data Type Source(s) and/or gaps in When last gathered information Compliments, Complaints System No complaints complaints and recorded. comments Correspondence Requirement for more Ongoing Members’ Enquiries robust system of analysing information. Service Take up SSIS database No information available regarding sexual orientation. Take up of services for people of Asian Ongoing origin lower than might be expected (see Appendix 1) Demographic Data Census, population, There is a significant deprivation and other difference between social statistics. the numbers of Joint Strategic Needs people estimated to Assessment. have a hearing loss in 2009 Leicestershire (most of whom are aged over 60) and those on the deaf or hard of hearing register.Requirement for review of the operation of the register. Analysis of the data Data Type Source(s) and/or gaps in When last gathered information Benchmarking With other Proposed service Counties/other model is not unusual. 2005 authorities/partners Workforce Profile Organisational Currently three Development/ members of the team Personnel have a hearing Ongoing impairment. Team discussions Locally held Feedback and around service anecdotal evidence provision from existing staff Ongoing group, requiring more robust system for capturing data. Results of any local Service Users Generally satisfaction July consultation and/or consulted via review with current service 2010 satisfaction surveys process with a range of suggestions for improvement. OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOCIAL COHESION OR PROMOTING GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN DIFFERENT GROUPS OF PEOPLE 8. Social cohesion is a priority for Councils. Progress made towards building more cohesive, empowered and active communities is now being measured through national Performance Indicators. Essentially social cohesion is about promoting a sense of connection, trust and belonging both within and across communities and groups. Review all the actions and targets that you have identified as a result of this equality impact assessment to what social cohesion issues could arise, for example: these should include: (a) Are there ways in which your service could bring different groups of people together, for example to develop future provision? (b) Are there ways in which existing groups could interact with the service, for example, as part of ongoing monitoring of service provision? (c) Could the way you provide the service bring different groups of people together to use the service? (d) Does the way in which your service is provided have the potential to lead to resentment between different groups of people? How can you compensate for perceptions of preferential or differential treatment? (e) If the improvement plan identifies addressing a gap in the service for a particular group of people, has this also addressed the potential for perceptions of preferential treatment for the group? (For example, if you give priority treatment to disabled people, how will you manage the negative attitudes that non-disabled people may develop as a result.) (f) How can your service explicitly demonstrate the council’s commitment to promote equality across race, gender, disability, age, religion/belief and the LGBT communities? List your answers below. Ensure that the actions you identify are put into the attached equality improvement plan. It is not envisaged that the proposed service will lead to a reduction in social cohesion. It will ensure that people will be empowered and enabled to fully access their rights and freedoms as a member of society. The personalisation of service provision will ensure that people with a hearing impairment have access to advice, information and services that will give them greater choice and control and afford better access to community facilities. The continued focus on the specialist nature of this service will help to facilitate links with, and support to the deaf community. 9. 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. Officer Equality Objective Action Target By when responsible To ensure that the proposed Implementation of Self Directed All new and existing service Locality Manager 2012 service enables service users Support Pathway. users, where eligible, receive a with a hearing impairment to personal budget. receive personalised services. All deaf and hard of hearing Provision of appropriate training Facilitate access by all hearing Service Manager June 2011 residents of the County will and support to Customer impaired residents of / CSC have access to appropriate Service Centre/County Hall and Leicestershire. advice, information and where locality office reception staff. eligible service provision that meets their needs. Development of outreach Service Manager April 2011 service in localities. Development of new Service April 2011 technologies to facilitate Manager/CSC onwards – review access. Sep 2011 To ensure that all groups have Develop outreach service to Improved take up of service. Locality Manager Sept 2011 access to the service. Asian people with a hearing impairment. Continue to monitor take up of Improved take up of service. Locality Manager April 2011 service. onwards – review Sep 2011 Further consultation on Establish views of users, carers Service Manager April 2011 proposed service model. and other organisations onwards- review regarding effectiveness of Sep 2011 service provision/development. 1st Authorised signature (EIA Lead) ……………..……………………… Date: ……………………………………………………….. 2nd Authorised signature (Member of DMT) …………………………………………. Date: ………………………………………… Once completed and authorised, please send a copy of this form to the Equality and Diversity Team in the Chief Executives Department.
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