Equality Impact Assessment
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Team
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
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
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
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,
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
List Process and Criteria
Essential? Barriers identified and groups
Yes Although County Hall is fully
accessible by all groups, it does not
provide a duty point for face-to-face
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
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
The Customer Service Centre has
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
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.
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.
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
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
Compliments, Complaints System No complaints
complaints and recorded.
Correspondence Requirement for more Ongoing
Members’ Enquiries robust system of
Service Take up SSIS database
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
of whom are aged
over 60) and those on
the deaf or hard of
for review of the
operation of the
Analysis of the data
Data Type Source(s) and/or gaps in When last gathered
Benchmarking With other Proposed service
Counties/other model is not unusual. 2005
Workforce Profile Organisational Currently three
Development/ members of the team
Personnel have a hearing
Team discussions Locally held Feedback and
around service anecdotal evidence
provision from existing staff
group, requiring more
robust system for
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
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
(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
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.
Equality Objective Action Target By when
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
Continue to monitor take up of Improved take up of service. Locality Manager April 2011
service. onwards – review
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
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