Equality Impact Assessment Guidance Notes and Template
The Council has recently updated its guidance and template on Equality Impact Assessment to bring them in line with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) which came into force on 5 April 2011. The changes are also intended to ensure that Equality Impact Assessment forms an integral part of decision making (including reports to Overview and Scrutiny) and:
- Is carried out as early as possible in the decision making process
- Is based on appropriate consultation where possible
- Informs decisions
- Sets out an appropriate level of analysis in proportion to the potential impact of the decision
The revised guidance is designed to be as practical and easy to use as possible to encourage wide usage and improve decision-making & fairness, whilst helping to avoid the risk of legal challenges.
All public authorities have a duty to ensure they have ‘due regard’ for the aims of equality. EIA is the widely accepted way of ensuring this ‘due regard’ is carried out and recorded.
Initial and Detailed Equality Impact Assessments
The initial EIA is a simple and quick method of assessing the effect of a policy, function, procedure, decision including financial cuts on one or more of the protected characteristics.
The Service Manager responsible for the relevant new or revised policies, functions, procedures and financial decisions presented to the Executive and Scrutiny committees for approval must undertake, at least, an initial EIA and where relevant a detailed Equality Impact Assessment (appendix 2); EIA must be attached as background paper with reports to Executive and Scrutiny .
It is acknowledged that there will be circumstances where there is insufficient time to take the EIA to the Departmental Equality and Diversity Group for approval; in these cases an Initial EIA only is undertaken.
Although the Public Sector Equality Duty does not lay down any record keeping requirements, the Council will document, as comprehensively as possible, its considerations of the Duty so that it can demonstrate compliance if decisions are challenged in the future.
Equality Impact Assessment is just one method used to keep an adequate record showing that the equality duties have been actually ‘consciously’ considered.