Equality Performance Monitoring

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Equality Performance Monitoring Powered By Docstoc

1.   Introduction
2.   Why is it important?
3.   Who should do it and when?
4.   What information should you ask for?
5.   How to ask
6.   Common questions and concerns

7.   Measuring Equality Outcomes
8.   Glossary
1. Introduction
    What is equality performance monitoring?

    All services are increasingly familiar with the idea of performance
    monitoring – measuring how well the service is performing
    against agreed objectives and targets.

    Equality performance monitoring is simply checking whether the
    service is performing equally well for all customers.

    Principles of equality monitoring

    Equality monitoring is often not undertaken because it is
    perceived as being time-consuming, confusing, lacking in purpose
    and intrusive to customers. This policy and guidance has
    therefore been developed with these concerns in mind and as
    such has the following underlying principles behind it:

     Equality monitoring should be as simple and straight forward
      as possible.

     It should as far as possible be embedded in within other
      mainstream systems to monitor service outcomes.

     It should only be undertaken when there is clear purpose to it
      that supports clear equality objectives for the service.

     All staff and customers involved in equality monitoring should
      understand why the data is being collected.

     Once we have the equality data on a customer we should
      remember this information so we do not need to ask the
      customer again.

     All equality monitoring data should be confidential.

    Purpose of this guidance

     To give managers an understanding of why we should equality
      monitor our service performance.

 To advise service managers on the practicalities of equality
  monitoring – when to do it, how to do it and what to ask?

 To help foster consistency in equality monitoring across the
  authority to enable information sharing and comparisons
  between services.

 To improve the equality performance monitoring of our service,
  encouraging equality improvement and community scrutiny
  and challenge.

Equalities Impact Assessment of Guidance

This Guidance does not affect take-up of services by customers‟
directly nor the quality of the service they receive, their
satisfaction with the service or the accessibility of the service.
However it does seek to encourage and support services to
understand how to monitor the take-up, quality, satisfaction and
accessibility of their services by different sections of the
community to ensure equality of service provision.

To measure the effectiveness of this guidance we will therefore
adopt two equality objectives and measures, one for outputs and
one for outcomes.

Outputs           Objective:
                  To increase the number of services that collect
                  data on and report their service outcomes (take-
                  up, quality, satisfaction and accessibility).
                  The number of services that report the equality
                  profile of their service outcomes as part of their
                  service delivery plans.

Outcomes          Objective:
                  To increase the number of services that report
                  increasing equality of service outcomes
                  between different sections of the community.
                  The number of services reporting in their SDP‟s
                  that equality of service outcomes is improving.

The effectiveness of this policy and guidance will reviewed
annually and reported to the Executive Corporate Equality Group.

2. Why is it important?
     Equality monitoring is essential to mainstreaming equalities
      into service delivery planning. It helps us to identify any
      disadvantage associated with race, gender, disability,
      sexuality, religion and age and hence to plan improvements
      accordingly. Without it it„s hard to know what the problems are
      let alone how to resolve them!

     Equality monitoring provides much of the data and evidence
      services need to undertake their equality impact assessments
      effectively and meaningfully. It enables services to embed the
      findings of their Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) into their
      Service Delivery Plans (SDP).

     Equality monitoring allows members of the public to know how
      well we are providing services to different sections of the
      community and so enabling them to challenge us to improve.

     Equality monitoring of the impact of services on different
      groups of customers is required by various aspects of
      equalities legislation (most notably the Race Relations
      (Amendment) Act 2000) whereby Local Authorities are
      required to identify all of their functions and policies which are
      relevant to the duty to promote equality and to carry out an
      impact assessment against these.

     The Equality Standard for Local Government, itself a Best
      Value Performance Indicator, builds on these legal
      requirements and extends the duty across all strands of
      equality – including race, gender, disability, faith, age and
      sexual orientation.

3. Who should do it, and when?
   All services should consider equality performance monitoring their
   service. These questions should help you decide:

          You know what you want to find out from the
         equality monitoring.
          You may have carried out an Equality Impact Assessment
          on your service or a policy / function associated with your
          service. Often these result in services recognising that they
          do not know what the impact of their service is on different
          sections of the community. You may want to start equality
          performance monitoring to find this out.
          Your service has agreed one or more equality objectives or
          targets in its Service Delivery Plan and needs to be able to
          measure whether it is meeting these objectives. Equality
          performance monitoring is often the best way of doing this.
          There are several different ways you could equality
          performance monitor your service. The section on
          “Measuring Equality Outcomes” should help you decide.

          The employees who will responsible for collecting
         the equality information understand why you are
          doing and how to do it.
          Employees have to feel confident if they are to ask
          customers for information about their gender, disability or
          ethnicity for example. It is therefore essential that
          employees involved with equality performance monitoring
          understand why we asking for the information. It could be
          useful it they are given a couple of examples of how this
          information can help us to improve our services.
          Can you guarantee that the information provided by
          customers will be kept confidential and only used for the
          purposes you have told them about? Which employees will
          have access to the information and how will it be handled?
          Some employees may need training or some other kind of
          support or advice if they are to do this effectively. The
          section on “How to Ask” should help you.

        You know how you will report and use the
       information it provides.
        Be clear in advance what you will do with the equality
        performance information before you collect it. Who will you
        report it to?
        Essentially you should do this in exactly the same way as
        you do any other performance monitoring information
        about your service – and alongside it, nor separate to it.
        Equality performance is as important as any other
        performance data about your service. Hence report it in
        your service plans and reports to your management teams
        just as you would for any other performance information.
        You may in some circumstances also need to report your
        equality performance data in other ways, for example to
        inform an equality impact assessment process or to report
        to a specific community group as part of an involvement
        Often the data be used to help you complete or review an
        Equality Impact Assessment. Remember to involve the
        community in this – they may be able to help you interpret
        what the data is telling you.

4. What information should you ask for?
 The Council has adopted the following equality profile questions and
 categories that should be used whenever we are equality
 performance monitoring our services.

  Are you?
          Male                    Female

  Age                             or
  What is your age?               What is your age?

             years                   0-16                 51-60
                                     16-20                61-70
                                     21-30                71-80
                                     31-40                80+
                                     41-50             

  Are you disabled?
  (A disabled person can be someone with a physical or sensory
  impairment, learning difficulties, mental health problems or a long
  term or progressive medical condition.)
           Yes                    No

  What is your ethnic origin? (please tick one only)
  White              British
                     Irish
                     European                    *
                     Gypsy / Traveller           *
                     Other - Please state:
  Mixed              White & Black Caribbean
                     White and Black African
                     White and Asian
                     Other - Please state:
  Black or         Caribbean
  Black British    African
                   Other - Please state:
  Asian or         Indian

    Asian British    Pakistani
                     Bangladeshi
                     Other - Please state:
    Chinese or       Chinese
    other ethnic
    group            Other - Please state:

                    * Technical Note
                    These two sub-categories are new to the list of
                    “White” groups. They have been added to recognise
                    the relatively large numbers of people from these
                    backgrounds in Barnsley. Previously the only sub-
                    categories were White UK, White Irish and White
                    Other – and so people from these backgrounds would
                    both have had to tick “White Other”.

    Optional Extra Questions

    In some cases services may wish to obtain extra information from
    customers. These are the most common ones. If you are in any
    doubt then please seek advice.

    Language and Disability Access Needs

    Services may wish to monitor the access needs of disabled
    customers. However services should make sure they know how to
    respond to any request made to this question. A suggested question
    they could use is:

    Access Needs
    Do you have any of the following language or disability access
    (Please tick all that apply)
        Information in large print
        Information in Easy Read (simple words and pictures)
        Information in Braille
        Sign language interpretation
        Information other format eg audio tape, electronic etc
          please state:
        Information in another language
          please state:

Faith and Sexual Orientation

These issues can be more sensitive and customers are often more
reluctant to give this information where they cannot be sure their will
be strict confidentiality or anonymity or that it will lead to improved

Customers should only be asked this where both of these can be
guaranteed, for example as part of anonymous customer surveys, or
as part of ongoing confidential customer case records where sexual
orientation or faith may affect the services delivered (eg personal
care, education etc).

Religion and Belief
What is your religion?

      Bhuddist
      Christian
      Hindu
      Jewish
      Muslim
      Rastafarian
      Sikh
      No religion
      Other - Please state:

Sexual Orientation
How would you describe your sexual orientation?

      Heterosexual
      Lesbian
      Gay
      Bisexual
      Other - Please state:

5. How to ask
     We should always explain to customers why we are asking for any
     equality profile information – and if we cannot explain why then
     we shouldn‟t ask.

     This is true for all such information including age, gender and
     marital status (which we often routinely ask for without really
     thinking about why) not just for what can be perceived as more
     personal information such as ethnicity, disability or faith.

     We should give a commitment only to use the information for the
     purpose stated and to explain that the questions are voluntary
     but the more information given then the more helpful the results
     will be.

     So for example before asking customers on a customer
     satisfaction survey to provide their equality profile information we
     could include a paragraph that reads something like:

           “Please answer the following questions about yourself to
           help us assess whether all sections of the community are
           equally satisfied with our service. We will use this
           information for no other purpose. The questions in this
           section are voluntary but the more information you provide
           then the more we can learn about customers‟ views on our

     Or more generally . . .

           “The Council is committed to ensuring that all its services
           are delivered fairly. We are therefore asking you the
           following questions about yourself and your family, so that
           we can make sure that services are delivered equally to
           everyone. The information you provide will be kept
           confidential, but may be used by the council to check the
           fairness of any other services you receive. You do not have
           to answer these questions, and it will make no difference at
      all the way the council treats you whether you answer them
      or not.”

Experience suggests that most customers will be happy to provide
this information. Some will choose not to answer the questions.
There will be some customers who either want to know more
about why we want the information and what we intend to do with
it – which we should be able to answer accordingly.

A small number of customers however may object to be being
asked. In these cases we should simply reiterate why we are
asking for the information but to explain that the information is
voluntary and then move on.

It can be useful if staff involved with equality performance
monitoring understand why we asking for the information and
maybe have a couple of concrete examples of how this
information can help us to improve our services.

6. Common Questions and Concerns
     There are a number of common concerns that many services
     have about implementing equality performance monitoring. The
     following highlights some of these and suggest some possible

         “We just haven‟t got the time!”

     Collecting equality profile data is not as time-consuming as you
     might think. It doesn‟t take long to add a few questions to a
     survey form or to ask a customer directly. However the time it
     takes (for the customer) does need to be proportional to the type
     of service that is being requested.

     For example it may not be reasonable to expect a customer to
     answer every equality profile question every time they ring the
     council to report a faulty street light or pot hole as these enquiries
     are usually very brief. However contact to request a social care
     service or to apply for a housing is a lengthy process with
     repeated periods of contact and equality monitoring would only
     entail a very small percentage of the overall contact time with the

     Where services consider it is too time-consuming to implement
     equality profiling for all customers they should consider other
     ways of obtaining the data. For example services could sample
     customers (say ask every 10th customer for their equality profile
     information, or ask every customer during one week of the year

     Services do however need to be confident the sample they took
     will not skew the results. Sampling customers who come into the
     office first each day (ie 9am to 9.30am) may mean fewer disabled
     people, single parents or working people will be sampled and so
     would not give a fair reflection of customers‟ diversity. If in doubt
     please seek advice.

        “Customers will object to being

     Some may object but experience tells us that if the exercise is
     approached with care then the vast majority will give the

information requested or politely decline to. A very small minority
of customers may complain about being asked but once they are
assured the information is supplied voluntarily and will be kept
confidential they are usually content with simply declining to
disclose the information.

     “If the data shows there is a
   problem there is nothing we can
          do about it anyway.”

That depends. In one sense it is as true of equality performance
monitoring as it is for any other kind of performance monitoring.
However that is precisely why you should do this only as part of
your service delivery planning and / or equality impact
assessment processes. No one is suggesting that you should do
everything straight away – only that you identify the most
important things to do first and to make a start on those the best
you can. Equality performance monitoring can help you decide
what is most important and where to start making improvements.
For example . . .

      A service did an Equality Impact Assessment as part of its
      service planning process. It suspected that its service was
      not very accessible to people from black and minority
      ethnic communities or to disabled people as the main way
      of finding out about the service was by leaflets or articles in
      newsletters which they may not be able to read. The service
      was worried however that it would not be able to afford to
      have information translated into community languages.

      By equality monitoring service take-up the service the
      realised that black and minority ethnic communities were
      using the service but some disabled people (especially
      those with learning difficulties and visual impairments)
      were not. They could then target their efforts on providing
      information in Easy Read and Large Print.

       Equality monitoring doesn‟t tell us
        what we need to do to improve.

     It is true that the information equality performance monitoring
     can give you is limited. It is usually purely quantitative. It may
     highlight an area of concern but it will rarely give you the answers
     about how to resolve the problem – BUT it will usually tell you
     where to start looking for an answer. For example . . .

           A service that monitors customer satisfaction finds that
           disabled customers are less happy with the service than
           non-disabled customers (55% satisfied compared with 78%
           satisfied). This highlights the problem to the service
           manager who includes an action in the service delivery plan
           to investigate this issue further by speaking to disabled
           customers directly. The following financial year the service
           speaks to disabled customers as planned and finds that
           they are generally happy with the service but find the need
           to sign applications forms in person means they have to
           travel to the office which can cause them problems. They
           suggest being able to do this by post or home visit would

           “We can‟t rely on the data
          because not enough people
           answered the questions”.

     Some services find that maybe only 20 or 30 per cent of
     customers answer the equality profile question. It is a common
     assumption that this means the data this gives you is of no use.
     However whilst the level of response is important (and can
     usually be improved by planning better for asking the question
     next time round) it is not conclusive. Any information you receive
     from this question is more than you had when you didn‟t ask
     anything at all! For example . . .

A service monitors the equality profile of people attending a
consultation event. Of the 50 people who attended only 12
people completed the ethnicity profile question. This does
not mean that the service has to ignore what they were told
by these 12 people (or indeed the other 38). Unless there is
a reason to assume that the people who did complete the
information were in some way a biased sample (ie more
likely to be black than white etc) then you can probably
fairly say that the 3 people who ticked a BME category and
the 9 people who ticked „white‟ are roughly representative
of the group as a whole. The feedback given by these 3
BME people is still valid – it is just important not to assume
they speak for all BME people. It would be wrong to say that
if 1 BME person was unhappy with the service that 33% of
all BME people are unhappy with the service.

7. Measuring Equality Outcomes
     Equality monitoring only makes any sense if it leads to real
     improvements in services outcomes for people in Barnsley. That
     is why our equality performance monitoring must focus on those
     service outcomes.

     The guidance, as with the initial Equality Impact Assessment
     guidance, identifies four main types of service outcomes of which
     every service should be able to identify at least one relevant to
     their service and in most cases all of them will be.

     Services should try to identify which of these service outcomes
     they performance monitor already and make sure they can
     equality profile the results.

     a. Service take-up

     All services should have some idea of who their target customers

     For many services this will be the whole borough or at least every
     household in the Borough – for example refuse collection or
     Council Tax.

     For others this may be people in the area with specific needs (for
     example social care services, homelessness services), with
     specific characteristics (for example people who live in a
     particular area of the Borough or are a particular age), or have a
     specific service demand (eg planning application, to register a
     birth etc).

     For some services, different functions or aspects of the service
     may have different target customers.

     Service should ask themselves three related questions:
            I. Of those people for whom our service is designed, how
               many are from different equality groups (eg men,
               women, white, BME, disabled etc)?
           II. Of those who use our service how many are from these
               different equality groups?
          III. Are there any significant differences in between the two
               sets of figures? If there are what can you do about it?

Most services will monitor the quantity of their service that is
provided – for example the number of planning applications
received and processed, the number of bins emptied, the number
of children of school age, the number of people who told us they
were homeless and were found accommodation etc.

Essentially equality monitoring of service take-up is no more than
an extension of this – to ask about disability, ethnicity and in
some circumstances faith and sexual orientation – and then to
compare this with the equality profile of who from the local
population we would expect to be using our service.

Information about the diversity of the local population is held by a
variety of services. Some key demographic information about
Barnsley is available from the Equalities Officer (email

b. Service quality

Services will hopefully have a good idea already of what are the
most important aspects of quality for their services. For many
services this will be the length of time it takes to respond to an
enquiry, whether an application for a service is accepted (eg
benefit application), whether the problem / enquiry is resolved
(eg report of problem with street lighting), the amount or type of
service that is provided (eg social care).

The purpose of equality monitoring service quality is to assess
whether the same quality of service is provided to all customers
regardless of their background. Most services will have a policy
that says that they will treat all customers equally – the question
here is „are they treated equally‟ in practice?

To know this, services will have to monitor who uses their services
(see service take-up above) and then monitor the quality of
service provided to these customers.

In some circumstances the data this provide may show that some
groups of customers receive more services or better services than
another group of customers. This does not necessarily mean that
your service is providing discriminatory services – only that you
should find out why a different quality of service is being
provided. Sometimes there may be very good reasons for the
difference in service quality provided to different groups but

     sometimes the difference could indicate a need to take further
     action. For example . . .

           The refuse collection service may find that older people are
           more likely to have their applications for help taking their
           bins out agreed than other people do. This may be
           expected because older people are more likely to be
           disabled and therefore eligible for the service. However if
           the equality monitoring showed that BME people were less
           likely to have their application for assistance with their bins
           accepted this may indicate there is a problem and the
           service should find out why this is the case.

     c. Customer satisfaction

     Many services will already have ways of testing customer
     satisfaction with their services, either through customer
     satisfaction surveys, focus groups, service user consultative
     panels, or by analysing complaints, compliments and other
     customer feedback.

     When testing customer feedback there are two important
     questions to ask yourself:

      Are we hearing the views of all customers sufficiently,
       including those from the equality target groups? For example
       does your method of seeking customer views reach BME and
       disabled customers effectively?

      Are the views expressed about your service largely the same
       regardless of background, or are some customers more or less
       satisfied with particular aspects of the service? For example
       maybe older customers are less satisfied with recent service
       changes than younger customers.

     These two questions can only be answered by equality-profiling
     those who are taking part in the customer feedback. Services will
     then know the proportion of responses from men, women,
     disabled people, BME people etc and therefore whether their
     views are fairly represented in the findings of the customer
     feedback. The results can also be analysed by reference to each
equality group to see if there are significant differences in the
views expressed to any particular questions or issues raised.

d. Customer access

Customer access is harder to assess at a service level for a
number of reasons:

 The accessibility of a service varies greatly between people
  with different impairments and language needs, and even
  amongst people with the same impairment.

 Understanding the access barriers for a service can be quite
  difficult for people who don‟t experience them on a daily basis.

 Services are rarely provided from a single building through a
  single point of contact – and the accessibility for each will vary.

 Many services‟ main point of contact with the public will
  increasingly be through the Barnsley Connects Service for
  which the service does not have direct responsibility for.

This means that services should not expect to have a single
measure of their accessibility as the issue is far too complex to be
reduced to a single performance indicator. Nonetheless these are
not insurmountable problems and services can seek to improve
their service accessibility and monitor their progress in doing so.

Examples of service accessibility measures include:

    The percentage of publicly available leaflets about the
     service that are readily available in accessible formats and
     community languages.

    The number of requests for information in accessible
     formats received by the service.

    The number of service users for whom the service knows
     and routinely meets their access needs.

    The percentage of customers who rate different aspects of
     the service as fully and/or partially accessible.

    The accessibility of the services as rated by a respected
     disability access audit process.
8. Glossary

     Equality groups

     These are the groups of people protected by equalities legislation
     who due to a particular characteristic or background may experience
     discrimination or disadvantage:
     Gender equality       –    both women and men
     Race equality         –    people from all ethnic groups
     Disability equality   –    disabled people, with all types of
     Age equality          –    both young and older people.
     Faith groups          –    people from all religious groups and
                                those with no religion.
     Sexuality             –    people with all kinds of sexual

     Service outcomes

     These are what a services achieve for customers. This guidance
     refers to 4 main kinds of service outcomes:
     Service take-up      -      the number of people who use the
     Service quality      -      how „good‟ is the service as the customer
                                 would perceive it.
     Customer satisfaction -     how satisfied customers are with the
     Customer access      -      how accessible the service is to your

     Equality impact assessments

     This is a process where services consider whether a service has an
     equal impact in terms of their service outcomes on all equality
     groups. It should lead to clearly defined actions that should be
     embedded within service delivery plans.

     Equality profile

This is a way of describing and understanding the diversity of your
customers: the number of men and women, the number of people
from each ethnic group, the number of disabled people and non-
disabled people etc.

Comprehensive Equality Scheme (CES)

This document describes what the council is trying to achieve on
equality, how it thinks it will achieve it and the benefits this will bring
for people in Barnsley. It incorporates the council‟s Gender, race and
Disability Equality Schemes as well as addressing equality issues
relating to age, faith and sexual orientation.

Key Equality Priority

The Comprehensive Equality Scheme lists the key equality priorities
for the authority. These are the issues that the council believes are
the most important ones if we are to challenge discrimination and
disadvantage and to promote equality. There are priorities for all six
equality strands. Each of the key equality priorities explain why the
issue is important, what we want to achieve, what action we will take
and how we will measure our progress.