"Equality Impact Assessments A Guide (2008)"
Equality Impact Assessments: A Guide (2008) 1. Introduction An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) is a thorough and systematic analysis of a policy, procedure or strategy to estimate the likely equality implications either on implementation or when making changes to an existing policy, function or service. It is a way of ensuring that we give due regard to the effect the actions we take as an organisation could have on customers and staff, in the delivery of services and employment practices. Equality Impact Assessments are intended to: increase participation and inclusion; change the culture of public decision-making; and encourage a more proactive approach to the promotion of equality within public policy development. Equality Impact Assessments challenge the assumption that policies affect all customers and staff in the same way, by detecting and assessing any adverse effect on particular equality strands before policies are introduced. The assessment process allows us to make sure that different equality target groups are equally served by the policy. In order to identify the potential impacts on different groups, customers and staff are segmented by the following equality strands: age disability gender ethnicity religion or belief sexual orientation. This guide is aimed at managers and staff who are responsible or involved in the process for developing strategies, policies or procedures. The framework provides a systematic approach to Equality Impact Assessments that will satisfy the need for consistency and a minimum corporate standard across the whole Council. The process is captured in the standard Equality Impact Assessment form, which provides a practical tool for carrying out an assessment. There is a separate form which Human Resources have developed in conjunction with the Equalities Team for use in respect of staff restructuring proposals. www.haringey.gov.uk 2. Why conduct an Equality Impact Assessment? Legal requirements Equality Impact Assessment is a duty on public bodies which derives from the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and is now a requirement of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and the Equality Act 2006 in respect of the Gender Duty. There currently is no duty on public bodies to carry out impact assessments with regards to age, and sexual orientation. However under the requirements of the Equality Standard for Local Government and as part of our Generic Equality Scheme Haringey have made a commitment to extend the EIA process to include these strands. This means that in Haringey all Equality Impact Assessments now cover all six strands, which are age, disability, gender, ethnicity, religion or belief and sexual orientation. Equality Standard for Local Government The Equality Standard for Local Government is a Best Value performance indicator which is moving to a National Equality framework from April 2009. The Equality Standard has five levels and level 2 requires Local Authorities to carry out Equality Impact Assessments. It is essential therefore that the Council is able to demonstrate how impact assessments have improved the delivery of services and promote equalities for the recipients. Council policy commitment The Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy and the Generic Equality Scheme both commit the Council to carrying out Equality Impact Assessments as a means of ensuring that the Council meets its statutory duties under the various equalities statutes and regulations and also as a matter of good practice, to be able to identify where inequality could be occurring and acting to prevent or mitigate its effects in employment and service delivery. Good practice in policy and strategy development Equality Impact Assessments are recognised as an effective tool for anticipating the effects a policy will have on the diverse groups who live and work in the borough. The process enables us to take steps to prevent or minimise negative effects on any groups and ensure that disadvantaged groups are not further disadvantaged by the policies and strategies we adopt. It also ensures that Members are aware of the potential effects of proposals before they take decisions that will inevitably affect people’s lives. 2 3. Who should carry out an EIA? The Council sees Equality Impact Assessments as an integral part of strategy/policy formulation. For that reason, the responsibility for carrying Equality Impact Assessments is placed on originators and authors of proposals. An assessment team with a lead officer should be identified to carry out the EIA. The lead officer will need to ensure that membership of the team combines the knowledge and skills of those who deliver the service, as well as an impartial person to offer a challenge to the proposal. Where necessary seek support from Equalities Officers in the Corporate Equality Team. When considering the equalities implications of a service/policy/procedure or function you should involve others who may offer a ‘challenge’ to the views you have developed. It is the quality of the ‘challenge’ element that will ultimately add value to the impact assessment process as the focus is on how to improve the current or proposed policy or service. 4. When should the assessment be carried out? An Equality Impact Assessment is carried out: during the review of an existing policy or strategy; as part of the development of a new policy or strategy; during the restructuring of a service, division or department. The EIA must be conducted as part of the development of the strategy or policy, so that any changes that need to be made can be implemented at the earliest stage. 5. What should be Impact Assessed? The Corporate Equality Team will produce a three year cycle of Equality Impact Assessments for 2008 – 2011 outlining which existing policies, services or functions will undergo an EIA and when they will be carried out. During the pre-business planning stage managers will be required to identify additional areas that may need to undergo an EIA during the forthcoming year. Directorate Equality Forums and the Senior Management Team will agree a final list including named officers who will carry out each assessment and the timescales for completion. The Corporate Equality Team will collate these into a Council-wide schedule of EIA programme for the year which is presented to the Chief Executive’s Management Board and the Cabinet for endorsement. An Equality Impact Assessment should be considered where the proposals we are taking forward to decision wholly or partly: have direct service delivery implications; relate to employment within the Council (on grounds that employment is designated high priority by virtue of equalities public duties especially in regards to race, gender and disability equality); relate to employment or pupils’ attainments in schools (on grounds that these are part of Specific Duties in Education); have been identified as a key priority within the Forward Plan; relate to an issue where, in the opinion of the Director, an EIA is necessary. 3 6. Key Stages in conducting an Equality Impact Assessment The form for carrying out an Equality Impact Assessment is available from the Equalities Section on Harinet. The key stages are summarised as follows. Step 1 - Identify the aims of the policy, service or function Set out the overall aims and objectives of the policy, service or function, including: the effects the proposal is intended to achieve and its desired outcomes who it is intended to benefit how this policy service or function impacts on any other strategies, policies or objectives. Step 2 - Consideration of available data, research and information Gather all the quantitative and qualitative data that will enable you to understand the impact of the policy or service in terms of promoting equality. The purpose is to establish whether there is any evidence of unequal service outcomes, and what factors may be causing this to happen. Supporting evidence may come from a number of sources, including: Data from equalities monitoring of existing service users which can be compared to the local population (as shown in the 2001 Census). This quantitative data may indicate disproportionate representation for different equality groups. Results of relevant recent consultations, surveys etc. about the impact of the existing policy. In order to make an assessment it is important that the views of equalities target groups form part of the evidence base. Outcome data and experiences from elsewhere, preferably from authorities with similar characteristics as Haringey, and where a similar policy has been operated. Relevant national research and statistics. Please Note: In some cases there may be a lack of evidence to demonstrate the impacts in terms of the six equality strands. Any gaps in data should be noted and steps taken to gather more evidence should form part of the EIA action plan. 4 Step 3 - Assessment of Impact Using the information which has been gathered, assess whether there is likely to be differential impact, whether direct or indirect, upon particular equality target groups or communities. A differential impact is where a policy, proposal, service or function has different, often less beneficial outcomes for one or more community, customer or employee group when compared to another. It could mean that a universal approach to the delivery of a service or function means that some people are unable to access the service, for example, because of the way the service is designed and delivered. An example may be where a service is culturally inappropriate or where it fails to acknowledge the different needs of the communities served. In particular, try and establish if your proposal is likely to: create barriers to access for certain groups and thereby impact adversely on them; reduce barriers facing certain groups and thereby impact positively on them; or have no differential impact therefore the proposal will produce no added benefit or disadvantage to any group. In making your assessment you will need to consider whether any differential or adverse impact can be justified and if not, whether it amounts to unlawful discrimination. If you find this, then you are duty bound to act and ensure that the Council acts lawfully – by changing the policy or procedure in question. If it is not unlawful, but there is evidence that groups or communities are treated less favourably, you will need to consider whether: the policy, proposal, service or function is intended to address the specific needs of a particular group or community and it is necessary to promote equality of opportunity for this group over others; or if this is not the case, consider whether there are alternative measures that could be taken to help other people to benefit too. Positive Action Positive Action measures can be introduced in order to promote equal opportunities for groups who face particular barriers and can include (among other things) outreach to specific communities, altering the way we communicate, providing specialist or adapted services. 5 Step 4 - Consult on the proposal Consultation is an essential part of an Equality Impact Assessment and will be carried out at distinct stages of the process as well as being on-going throughout the impact assessment process. If there has been recent consultation which has highlighted the issues you have identified in steps 2 and 3, use it to inform your assessment. If there has been no consultation relating to the issues, then you may have to carry out consultation to assist your assessment. The following questions may be of assistance in guiding consultation: Have all the relevant equalities groups affected by the policy, strategy or function been involved in consultation? How is information about the consultation communicated? What steps can be taken to minimise barriers and ensure fair access to consultation for particular groups e.g. young people, disabled people, people who speak limited English? Did any previous consultation identify the views of people from equality target groups? For example, have people from particular ethnic groups expressed different views on how the policy, service or function is being delivered? Are consultation meetings held in accessible venues where equality target groups will be likely to attend? Make sure you reach all those who are likely to be affected by the proposal, ensuring that you cover the six equalities strands. Record the concerns from the consultation and amend your proposal in light of the concerns where necessary. Give feedback to the people you have consulted, stating how you have responded to the issues and concerns they have raised. Ideally, the response should be reflected in amendments you may have made to the proposals as a result of the consultation. Note: Under the Council’s Consultation Strategy, consultation is not considered to be fully carried out until all the three elements above have been completed, i.e. consult, address the concerns and the issues raised and give feedback to the people you consulted. Step 5 - Addressing Training Some of the issues you may have identified in the assessment and during consultation may be new to you and your staff. It is important that these are flagged up and disseminated among the staff who will be involved in implementing the proposal after it has been adopted. You may wish to consider training on those issues if this is required. The idea is to ensure that those issues are built into the awareness of staff and they are able to take them into account when implementing any change resulting from the proposal. 6 Step 6 - Monitoring Arrangements It is important to make arrangements for monitoring and review of the policy and its impact once it has been decided upon. Having adopted the policy, arrangements need to be put in place to monitor the policy regularly either as part of existing monitoring arrangements or as a separate timetabled exercise. It may be that issues arise in the implementation of the policy that could not have been foreseen during the development process and it will only be when the policy is fully implemented with appropriate monitoring arrangements, that the real impact of the policy can be assessed. Thus monitoring is not an end in itself but provides the data for the next cycle of policy review. Think about the following when considering arrangements for equalities monitoring: Who will be responsible for monitoring? What monitoring techniques and tools will be the most effective in measuring access to services, quality of service received and outcomes for different groups? Are there monitoring procedures already in place which will generate this information or which could be adapted to do so? Will arrangements need to be put into place for others to collect monitoring and evaluation information (for example where Haringey is not responsible for the implementation of the policy/service/function)? Based on your assessment identify which equality target groups are likely to be affected by the proposals you are making (by way of both benefits and detriments) and ensure that they are covered by your monitoring arrangements. The Council has agreed an equalities classification which includes all six equality strands covered by various equalities legislation and Regulations. The full Haringey classifications for equalities monitoring include age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation. The full equalities monitoring form with the categories broken down to their components are available on Harinet. For guidance on equalities monitoring, see the relevant section of the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy document or the Equalities Public Duties Scheme, both of which are also available on Harinet. Step 7 - Summarise impacts identified By this stage, you would have completed the impact assessment. What you now need to do is summarise the potential positive and adverse effects the proposal would have on each of the groups covered in the assessment. This will help to work out what actions will be needed to address those effects that are adverse. 7 Step 8 - Summarise the actions to be implemented Summarise the actions that are recommended against each of the risks/ potential adverse effects on each of the groups covered in the assessment. This should be used to develop an action plan to implement the improvements needed to address the adverse effects that have been identified. Step 9 - Publication and sign off Equality Impact Assessments are public documents which will be made available on Haringey’s website. The template for completing Impact Assessments has a summary sheet which must be completed by the Lead Officer; this summary will be published on Haringey’s website and should be used as the Equalities commentary for reports going to Corporate Management Board or Cabinet. In addition to publishing the summary we must ensure that the full completed assessment is also available on request by the public. Lead Officers may also decide to make their EIA available to key stakeholders, partners or local community organisations e.g. Haringey Racial Equality Council, Haringey Age Concern, Haringey Women’s Forum, HAVCO, Haringey LGBT Network etc. Evidence of publication must be provided when requested for audit and there should be provision for requests for translations to be made in order to reach people who may require it in other formats or languages. All Equality Impact Assessments should be sent to the appropriate Directorate lead Equality Officers in the Corporate Equality Team to be quality checked before they are signed off by the Directorate Senior Management Team. The final copy must be sent to the appropriate Corporate Equality Officer, as outlined below: Directorate Lead Equality Officer Chief Executive Service Inno Amadi Corporate Resources Inno Amadi Adults, Culture and Community Services Eve Featherstone Urban Environment Christine Joseph Children and Young Peoples Services Arleen Brown and Bethan Williams Progress Monitoring On an annual basis the Corporate Equality Team will produce a report for Chief Executive’s Management Board outlining: An update on the Equality Impact Assessments that were carried out in the previous year with details of the outcomes and progress on the actions taken; A schedule of Equality Impact Assessment for the forthcoming year, as identified by the Directorate Equality Forums and Directorate Management Teams. The EIA schedule, agreed at the start of each financial year will form the basis for the Corporate Equalities Team to monitor the progress of Equalities Impact Assessments throughout the year. 8 Equality Impact Assessment Process 1. Identify the aims and objectives of the policy, strategy or function 2. Consideration of available qualitative and quantitative data on how the service is being delivered. 3. Assessment of Impacts on grounds of age, disability, gender, ethnicity / race, religion or belief, sexual orientation 4. Consult on the proposal 5. Address Training Needs 6. Monitoring Arrangements 7. Summarise Impacts Identified 8. Summarise Actions to be taken 9. Publication and Sign - off 9 7. Further Information Equal Opportunities Policy http://harinet.haringey.gov.uk/index/council/how_the_council_works/equalities/equa loppsstatement.htm Equalities Public Duties Scheme http://harinet.haringey.gov.uk/index/council/how_the_council_works/equalities/equa lities_scheme.htm Haringey Census Information http://harinet.haringey.gov.uk/index/news_and_events/fact_file/statistic s/census_statistics.htm Haringey Borough Profile http://harinet.haringey.gov.uk/index/news_and_events/fact_file/boroughprofile.htm 10