DBC Equality Impact Assessment Form

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1 DBC Equality Impact Assessment Form Directorate: Finance and Resources Service: Revenues & Benefits, Corporate Anti Fraud Policy / function / activity being reviewed: Revenues & Benefits, Benefit Fraud, Corporate Anti Fraud Supporting Directorate Support Officer: Alison Chaterjee Date completed and by whom: February 2010 Louise Freeth Revenues & Benefits Kirsten Quinn Corporate Anti-Fraud Review date: March 2011 STEP 1 - IDENTIFYING THE PURPOSE / AIMS 1. What type of policy, service, activity or function is this? Existing New/ proposed Changing/ updated 2. What is the aim and purpose of the policy, activity, service or function? The services manage: Council Tax collection Business Rate collection Sundry Debtor collection Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims Benefit fraud investigations Corporate fraud investigations 3. Please outline any proposals being considered. Revenues & Benefits is a statutory service Benefit fraud prevention is a statutory requirement Corporate fraud investigations are statutory and regulatory in nature

2 4. Who is the policy, activity, service or function intended to help/ benefit/ serve? The billing, collection and enforcement of Council Tax, Business Rates and Sundry Debtor accounts in respect of taxpayers and service users. The payment of Housing and Council Tax Benefits to claimants. The investigation of Benefit fraud arising from Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims. The prevention of loss arising from corporate fraud. 5. Does the policy, activity, service or function have any specific aims / objectives in relation to equality, social inclusion or community cohesion? Yes The activities have the potential to involve all members of the community. STEP 2 - CONSIDERING EXISTING INFORMATION AND WHAT THIS TELLS YOU 6. Please summarise any data/ research or performance management information about the policy, function or activity that is available. This could include equalities monitoring information; surveys; complaints or grievances Data / information Legal responsibilities The services are carried out in accordance with the Local Government Finance Acts 1988 and 1992, the Social Security Act 1988 and other enactments. Services are also provided in accordance with contracts. Performance indicators The service maintains performance indicators in respect of its functional areas. Department for Work and Pensions The DWP maintain national statistics on the take up of all types of benefits. 7. Is there any evidence of negative differential impact on any of the following? (Some equality categories may be more relevant than others may)

3 Race or ethnicity No Council Tax All residents are liable for Council Tax Business Rates All ratepayers are liable for Business Rates Sundry Debtors (Customer accounts, miscellaneous income) Some charges arise from legal agreements such as leases and licences whereby such arrangements are entered into at the discretion of the individual. Discretionary services are provided as demanded. The process of collecting sundry debts flows from the service provision. Revenues & Benefits are not involved in the provision of services to members of the public: the function is to recover monies that are owed. Aspects relating to service provision are the responsibility of the originating service department. Housing and Council Tax Benefit All tenants are eligible to claim benefits and all claims that are received are determined in accordance with law. Benefit Fraud Benefit claimants that commit fraud are investigated in accordance with legal and regulatory conventions. Corporate Anti Fraud Fraud against the Council is investigated in accordance with legal and regulatory conventions. Gender and transgender Age Council Tax All residents are liable for Council Tax from 18 years of age Disability Religion or belief/ faith communities

4 Lesbian, gay, bisexual people STEP 3 - ASSESSING THE IMPACT 8. Is there any evidence of higher or lower take-up of the service, facility or opportunity by any group /community and if so, is there an explanation for this? Council Tax and Business Rates The persons that are liable for Council Tax and Business Rates are prescribed by law. Sundry Debtors There is no statistical evidence available that indicates that there is any adverse impact on service provision. Housing and Council Tax Benefit There is no statistical evidence available that indicates that there is any adverse impact on service provision. Benefit Fraud Investigations are undertaken in accordance with law and regulatory conventions. Corporate Anti Fraud Investigations are undertaken in accordance with law and regulatory conventions. 9. Could any of the associated rules, requirements or regulations of the function, activity or policy affect the accessibility of the service/ activity to any groups or communities? Council Tax, Business Rates, Housing and Council Tax Benefit, Benefit Fraud and Corporate Anti-Fraud These are statutory schemes and any new primary or secondary legislation that is introduced generally has an equalities impact assessment carried out by the sponsoring government department. Sundry Debtors Revenues & Benefits are not involved in the provision of services to members of the public: the function is to recover monies that are owed. Aspects relating to service provision are the responsibility of the originating service department.

5 10. If the impact or effects are adverse for any community or group, can they be defended i.e. in order to provide equality for another community under legislation or policy? Yes No Please give details below. STEP 4 - DEALING WITH ADVERSE OR UNLAWFUL IMPACT 11. What can be done to improve the policy, service, function or any proposals in order to reduce or remove any adverse impact or effects identified? Current activity Equalities training This is a core module of the training programme for all Council employees. Translation and interpretion The Council has arranged a corporate contract with Herts Interpreting and Translations to provide translating and interpreting services as they are required. This contract is managed by the Communications Team. Staff with multiple language skills There are a number of Council employees who have multiple language skills. These skills are used as the need arises in order to assist customers. Additional activity Equalities monitoring information The benefit claim form contains some equalities monitoring questions which can be entered into the Northgate Benefits system. 12. What would be needed to be able to do this? Are the resources likely to be available? Current activity Equalities training Already in place corporate budget Translation and interpretion Already in place departmental budget

6 Staff with multiple language skills Already in place Customer Services and Communications manage this. Additional activity Equalities Monitoring Information. The Northgate Benefits system will be used to record equalities information that is set out on the claim form. This information is now recorded, when supplied by customers. STEP 5 CONSULTATION AND FEEDBACK 13. Please outline your proposals to consult with those affected on proposed changes. STEP 6 THE DECISION 14. What needs to be done? STEP 7 MONITORING, REVIEW AND EVALUATION 15. What monitoring and review mechanisms are in place or will be developed? As required by law DWP monitoring arrangements as prescribed by circulars STEP 8 THE SERVICE PLAN 16. What needs to be included in the Service Development Plan?

7 Step 9 Publishing the Results The EqIA will be published on the Council s website; therefore as the author of the document it is your responsibility to ensure that it is written in an understandable way, free from Council jargon. In order for the EqIA form to be published it must be reviewed and signed off by the relevant Head of Service. It is the service manager s responsibility to ensure that this is done. Once the form this has been completed an electronic copy should be sent to Anne Stunell / Emma Harvey Human Resources, ext / 2258

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