1 Department: Brent Customer Service Unit Person Responsible: Service Improvement Team Service Area: School Admissions Timescale for Equality Impact Assessment : September 2012 Date:12/06/2012 Completion date: 12/06/2012 Name of service/policy/procedure/project etc: Promoting the uptake of Online School Admission Applications Is the service/policy/procedure/project etc: New Old Predictive Retrospective Adverse impact t found Found Service/policy/procedure/project etc, amended to stop or reduce adverse impact Is there likely to be a differential impact on any group? Please state below: 1. Grounds of race: Ethnicity, nationality or national origin e.g. people of different ethnic backgrounds including Gypsies and Travellers and Refugees/ 2. Grounds of gender: Sex, marital status, transgendered people and people with caring responsibilities Asylum Seekers 3. Grounds of disability: Physical or sensory impairment, mental disability or learning disability 4. Grounds of faith or belief: Religion/faith including people who do not have a religion 5. Grounds of sexual orientation: Lesbian, Gay and bisexual 6. Grounds of age: Older people, children and young People Consultation conducted Person responsible for arranging the review: Mladen Maric, Service Improvement Officer, Brent Customer Services Person responsible for monitoring: Mladen Maric Signed: Mladen Maric Person responsible for publishing results of Equality Impact Assessment: Mladen Maric Date results due to be published and where: This will be a published document and as such will be published on our Equality Information page Date: 18/05/2012
2 Please note that you must complete this form if you are undertaking a formal Impact Needs/Requirement Assessment. You may also wish to use this form for guidance to undertake an initial assessment, please indicate. 1. What is the service/policy/procedure/project etc to be assessed? To increase the uptake of online school application from 51% to 80%. 2. Briefly describe the aim of the service/policy etc? What needs or duties is it designed to meet? How does it differ from any existing services/ policies etc in this area Currently, envelopes containing the application form and a cover letter explaining how to apply are sent to Brent schools and nurseries for pupils transferring to primary and secondary schools. The covering letter explains that applications can be made both ways. However as customers already receive a paper application form there is a tendency to use paper forms rather than complete the online application form. In the latest intake of school admissions in Brent, 51% percent of applications were received by filling in the online application form. We aim to continuously increase that rate. Online applying for school admissions have a number of benefits for both, applicants and the local authority. It is faster, more efficient, cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to administer school admissions. Options to apply online and a paper form will remain. In order to encourage online applications, we will actively promote online applications and the benefits to customer. We shall stop bulk printing paper application forms but they will be available on request for those residents who are unable to apply online. 3. Are the aims consistent with the council s Comprehensive Equality Policy? This project is consistent with the Council s aim to ensure that the services provided are relevant to the needs of the community. The EIA is carried out to support good decision-making and to encourage the organisation to understand how different people will be affected by the proposed changes to the way residents apply for school places, so that the proposed service offer is appropriate and accessible to all and meets the needs of different people. This EIA complies with the Equality Duty placed on public organisations to have due regard to the need to: Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equalities Act 2010 Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it The project is consistent with the aim of the council s Equality Policy to ensure that: services must be relevant, responsive and sensitive and that the council must be perceived as fair and equitable in its provision of services. The project will ultimately aim to improve the quality of the service offer to our residents. 4. Is there any evidence to suggest that this could affect some groups of people? Is there an adverse impact around race/gender/disability/faith/sexual orientation/health etc? What are the reasons for this adverse impact? We have established that one faith school in Brent uses the following oversubscription criteria: that the applicant does not have access to the internet or television and that a reference from an appropriate religious authority of that particular faith, confirming the forgoing, may be required.
3 The Principal of the school explained that their religious policy is to discourage domestic use of Internet but to permit the business use. The school also uses electronic communication media in their day to day business. The principal further stated that it is a subjective view, weather using internet to apply for a school place is a domestic use of the internet or business use of the internet. However the school has confirmed that they would prefer that their applicants do not use online applying option. In order to ensure that the religious ethos of the school is not affected and the parents are not disadvantaged, we will provide the school with an electronic version of the application form, which can be printed and completed as a paper form. The school and the parents will be able to decide if they would prefer to use the paper form of the application or use the online form. We have not established any other grounds on which the project to promote online applying for school places would disadvantage any groups or individuals. The aim is simply to promote and encourage online applications. Any applicant, who is unable to apply online for any reason, related to protected characteristics or not, will be offered assistance with applying whether they choose to do it online or by using the paper application form. 5. Please describe the evidence you have used to make your judgement. What existing data for example (qualitative or quantitive) have you used to form your judgement? Please supply us with the evidence you used to make you judgement separately (by race, gender and disability etc). Specifically for this purpose, our GIS Team has conducted analysis using Mosaic software. Their analysis was based on the data collated in the latest school admissions intake. According to their report (attached) around 75% of applicants should have access to the Internet and a rate of over 80% of online applications is achievable. Given that the paper application form will be available on request for those who cannot do it online, no applicant should suffer any detriment. 6. Are there any unmet needs/requirements that can be identified that affect specific groups? (Please refer to provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act and the regulations on sexual orientation and faith, Age regulations/legislation if applicable). 7. Have you consulted externally as part of your assessment? Who have you consulted with? What methods did you use? What have you done with the results i.e. how do you intend to use the information gathered as part of the consultation?. I have contacted 3 London Boroughs who achieved higher online applications uptake: Barnet (88%), Ealing (76%) and Camden (71%). I have spoken to their school admissions teams, looked at their websites and was ed their prospectuses, covering letters and promotional material they used in encouraging online applications. All 3 boroughs did not bulk print paper application forms and issued paper forms on request, for applicants unable or unwilling to do it online. The experience of these boroughs will be presented in an inter-departmental workshop, to be held next month. The aim of the workshop will be to share ideas regarding increasing online applications uptake and ensuring that applicants receive the best possible service when applying for schools. One of the activities we are carrying out is a survey to identify from our customers who completed a paper form why they chose that option, were there any barriers to complete an online form and what support we as a local authority can provide to our customers. The results of this survey will be analysed and report presented to the workshop.
4 8. Have you published the results of the consultation, if so where? N/A. 9. Is there a public concern (in the media etc) that this function or policy is being operated in a discriminatory manner?. 10. If in your judgement, the proposed service/policy etc does have an adverse impact, can that impact be justified? You need to think about whether the proposed service/policy etc will have a positive or negative effect on the promotion of equality of opportunity, if it will help eliminate discrimination in any way, or encourage or hinder community relations. The drive to increase the uptake of online school applications should not have an impact on the promotion of equality of opportunity. 11. If the impact cannot be justified, how do you intend to deal with it? N/A 12. What can be done to improve access to/take up of services? We have already achieved 51% uptake of online application forms. The current support arrangements that we offer to customers via the school admissions team, information on our website etc will continue. We are carrying out a survey to identify from our customers who completed a paper form why they chose that option, were there any barriers to complete an online form and what support we as a local authority can provide to our customers. The results of this survey will be analysed and a report presented to the workshop which will take place in June 2012 and consider the feedback from our customers. 13. What is the justification for taking these measures? Efficient and effective way to deliver services to our customers. 14. Please provide us with separate evidence of how you intend to monitor in the future. Please give the name of the person who will be responsible for this on the front page.
5 Analysis of reports on the uptake of online application forms, feedback from customers on their experience whilst using the online application forms, complaints. The Service Improvement Team within Brent Customer Services Unit and the Service Area. 15. What are your recommendations based on the conclusions and comments of this assessment? Carry out a publicity campaign to increase the uptake of the online application form. Paper forms to be issued on request and where appropriate. Should you: 1. Take any immediate action? 2. Develop equality objectives and targets based on the conclusions? 3. Carry out further research? Depending on results of the online uptake in the next school admissions round. 16. If equality objectives and targets need to be developed, please list them here. N/A 17. What will your resource allocation for action comprise of? N/A If you need more space for any of your answers please continue on a separate sheet Signed by the manager undertaking the assessment: Rehana Ramesh Full name (in capitals please): REHANA RAMESH Date: 23/05/2012 Service Area and position in the council: BRENT CUSTOMER SERVICES, SERVICE IMPROVEMENT TEAM MANAGER Details of others involved in the assessment - auditing team/peer review: Once you have completed this form, please take a copy and send it to: The Corporate Diversity Team, Room 5 Brent Town Hall, Forty Lane, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 9HD
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