Equality impact assessment toolkit

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1 Equality assessment toolkit Guidance and forms January 2012

2 Translations and other formats For information on obtaining this publication in another language or in a largeprint or Braille version please contact the Electoral Commission: Tel: Textphone: We are an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections. 2

3 Contents Page Quick start guidance 1 Flowchart of the equality assessment process 3 Stage 1 EIA screening form 5 Evaluating proportionality and relevance 6 Stage 2 Full EIA form and guidance notes 16 3

4 Quick start guidance The Public Sector Equality Duty. Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, which applies to England, Scotland and Wales, is the Public Sector Equality Duty, also called the general duty. As a publicly funded organization, the general duty means we must have due regard to the need to: eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation advance equality of opportunity between different groups; and foster good relations between different groups Due regard comprises proportionality and relevance. Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 Similar duties apply to our work in Northern Ireland under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, where we must have due regard to promote equality and good relations between different groups. Welsh Language Act 1993 The Commission s Welsh Language Scheme is a requirement under Section 14 of the Welsh Language Act. The scheme sets out our principle to treat Welsh and English on the basis of equality and covers the services we provide in Wales What is an equality assessment? An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool to ensure we don t unwittingly exclude anybody from accessing our services or those that we play a part in delivering. It s also a chance to explore ways to promote equality. EIAs are published to show everyone that we ensure we don t discriminate. Carrying out an EIA involves assessing the likely effects of our policies on people according to their protected characteristics. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. In Northern Ireland persons with dependents and political opinion also need to 1

5 be considered, so we include these groups in all our assessments. We also include language group to comply with the Welsh Language Act Whilst the term policy is usually used, an EIA should also be applied to a strategy, plan, function, project, service, event or review basically any kind of proposal. Why do EIAs? EIAs will help us to: identify any inequalities in the provision of services and in our employment and procurement practices improve the quality of our services and employment minimise risk of exposure to claims of discrimination When should you do an EIA? You should do a stage 1 EIA screening whenever you are formulating new policies and projects, when you are drafting strategies or commissioning work, planning an event or service, or when an existing policy is reviewed or amended. This way, equality considerations help to shape your proposals. Who should do EIAs? The lead officer responsible for putting together the policy should do the EIA. The part where you assess potential s in relation to the nine protected characteristics should be done in a group. This is because a discussion will help you to understand how your policy could affect different people. How to get started For a stage 1 EIA screening you will have to: 1. Define your policy. 2. Consider what information may exist to help evaluate the potential s of putting the policy into practice. 3. The EIA form will help you to work out the coverage, or scope and the of your policy. 4. Consider the proportionality and relevance of the policy and whether you need to move on to a Stage 2 full assessment. 5. If your policy is unlikely to have a negative effect on more than a handful of people, adjust it there and then and minimise the bureaucracy. 6. If you conclude that a stage 2 full assessment is required, the instructions are included in the form in this toolkit. 2

6 Figure1: flowchart of the equality assessment process Stage 1: Preparation: pre-policy development Initial EIA Initial screening: Define the policy, its purpose and relevance Policy not relevant to equality Policy relevant to equality Identify available data to inform your assessment No further Assessment necessary Scoping to identify potential negative s and opportunities Consider Proportionality and options to adjust policy Publish completed EIA stage 1 initial screening form More extensive assessment required to identify s and opportunities Proceed to stage 2 full EIA 3

7 Stage 2: Policy drafting & assessment Full EIA Consider data necessary to inform the assessment Assess likely Consider policy alternatives Measure overall Develop your action plan Consult & involve stakeholders & t ff Decide whether to adopt policy Stage 3 Monitoring &Evaluation Monitoring & evaluating t Stage 4 Sign-off and Publication Sign-off & publish policy Stage 5: Monitor &review action plan 1 Monitor & review policy action plan Examples of EIAs, a detailed explanation of protected characteristics, a glossary of key terms used and further useful information about the Equality Duty can be found at m Detailed Guidance for 4

8 EIA Stage 1 screening form This document may be published for public scrutiny A: Your summary details 1. Directorate: 2. Section/team: 3. Job title of officer carrying out the assessment: 4. Name of policy to be assessed: 5. Is this a new or revised policy? 6. Date policy scheduled for publication/implementation: B: Your policy 1. What is the main purpose of the policy? 2. Are there any other objectives of the policy? If so, what are they? 3. Do written procedures exist to enable delivery of this policy or function? If so, please attach or include link. 4. Who are the main stakeholders of the policy? 5. Is the policy associated with any other Commission policy (ies)? If so, which policy and can they be assessed together? 6. Is the responsibility of the policy or function shared with another organisation? If so, what responsibility and which bodies? C: Preparation Please consider all available information that could help determine whether the policy could have any potential adverse. The information must be set out below or attached to this form. 1. Please list any existing data, such as previous consultations, research or practical guidance that will assist you in completing this EIA 2. What evidence or information do you already have about how this policy might affect equality in any of the areas covered by the nine protected characteristics and/or the equality groups set out in the section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act? 5

9 D: The Impact You are about to assess the potential (s) that the policy could have with regard to each of the protected characteristics. The potential s could be positive, neutral or adverse. If you identify an adverse you will need to consider its relevance. Please pull out/ print out this table for reference. There are anecdotal or small amounts of evidence to suggest negative or potential for negative High relevance The policy is Commission wide and/ or public facing There is significant evidence of negative or potential for negative The potential negative has consequences for or affects significant numbers of people The policy has the potential to make a significant contribution to promoting equality Medium relevance The policy is Commission wide but mainly internal There is some evidence to suggest potential for negative The potential negative has consequences for or affects some people The policy has the potential to make a contribution to promoting equality The potential negative has consequences for or affects few people The policy may have the potential to contribute to promoting equality Low relevance The policy operates mainly in one area, directorate or team 6

10 D: The Impact Please assess the potential s that the policy could have with regard to each of the protected characteristics. It is possible to identify both positive and adverse s for each characteristic a) Identify the potential of the policy on different age groups: Age Group (specify, e.g. younger, older ) Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank b) Identify the potential of the policy on disabled people: A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Disability Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank 7

11 c) Identify the potential of the policy on people transitioning from one gender to another Gender re-assignment Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank d) Identify the potential of the policy in relation to marriage/civil partnership status: Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters. Also status can refer to whether single, divorced or separated, married or in a civil partnership Marriage/Civil Partnership Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank e) Identify the potential of the policy on pregnant women/women on maternity leave: Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection is for 26 weeks after birth, and includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. Pregnancy/maternity Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank 8

12 f) Is there potential of the policy on different race groups? The protected characteristic of race refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins. Race Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank If there are potential s on different race groups you may find it useful to complete a more detailed race assessment table (would prefer a link that can be opened to view and closed if not required) 9

13 g) Identify the potential of the policy on different religious/faith groups and/or beliefs: Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition. Religion and/or Belief(specify) Buddhist Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank Christian Hindu Jewish Muslim Sikh Other (please specify) Catholic Protestant 10

14 h) Identify the potential of the policy on men and women: Sex (Gender) Women Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank Men i) Identify the potential of the policy on lesbian, gay men, bisexual or heterosexual people: Sexual orientation means whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes Sexual Orientation Lesbian Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank Gay Men Bisexual Heterosexual 11

15 j) Identify the potential of the policy on people with dependents: Defined as: people with a primary responsibility for: a child; a person with a disability; a dependent elderly person. Persons with dependents Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank k) In compliance with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1988, please identify the potential of the policy on people with a specific political opinion: Political opinion Unionist generally Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank Nationalist generally Republican Loyalist Members/supporters of any political party other 12

16 l) Is there potential of the policy on different language groups? In compliance with the Welsh Language Act 1993, this consideration refers to a group of people defined by the language they speak. In Wales we have a duty to provide services in Welsh and English Language Welsh speaker Positive Negative (specify High, Medium or Low relevance) Neutral Reasons and supporting evidence for s identified Please do not leave Blank British Sign Language (BSL) speaker Other language group (please specify) m) As a result of completing Question 1 a-l, what is the potential NEGATIVE of your policy? High Medium Low If you have assessed the potential as HIGH NEGATIVE you must complete a full STAGE 2 assessment. 2. Could you minimise or remove any negative potential that is of medium or low significance? Explain How: 13

17 a. Age: b. Disability: c. Gender Re-assignment: d. Marriage and Civil Partnership: e. Pregnancy and Maternity: f. Race: g. Religion and belief: h. Sex/Gender: i. Sexual Orientation: j. Persons with dependents k. People with a specific political opinion l. Welsh Language m. Other language group 3. If there is no evidence that the policy promotes equal opportunity could it be adapted so it does? How? Please sign and date this form Signed Signed Entered in Corporate EIA Register? Y/N Policy Lead Manager/Head Published? Y/N Date Date Date Please complete the action plan on the next page 14

18 Action Plan following Initial Screening (to feed into team business plan) Please refer to identified Action already taken or required (please indicate) How outcomes of proposed action will be measured Responsible staff member Review date 15

19 Stage 2 Full Equality Impact Assessment Form Please use the information from the Stage 1 initial screening to inform this stage 2 full EIA. The level of detail should be proportionate to the relevance of the policy. The guidance on page 9 will help you determine the relevance of your policy. This EIA is to show that we are committed to ensuring that we don t discriminate and that we take our duty to promote equality seriously. To see some examples of Commission EIAs, please go to: Introduction This EIA analyses the potential of the Electoral Commission s (Insert name of Policy ) on the advancement of equality of opportunity, the fostering of good relations and the elimination of discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Equality Act 2010 and section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act It is designed to ensure that the Commission has proper regard to these aims in accordance with its duties. Step 1 Scope of this EIA In this introductory section we set out the main aims of the policy and discuss how these fit with the wider objectives of the Commission. We go on to explore the main activities of the policy and identify who is likely to benefit from these activities. This section concludes by considering the relevance of the policy in relation to equality of opportunity and proposes the main issues that need to be considered. 16

20 1:1 Name of the policy 1:2 The main aims of the policy and how it fits in with the wider aims of the Commission 1:3 The main activities involved and who is likely to benefit from the policy (key stakeholders) 1:4 What we already know about the relevance of the policy in relation to equality of opportunity. The main issues we need to consider What issues did you identify in your initial screening of this policy and what conclusions did you arrive at? What aspects do you need to explore in further detail? Could you see any scope in your policy to use it to promote equality in any way? 1:5 Additional data or information needed to carry out this assessment What kinds of information could help improve your understanding of how this policy would work out in practice? For example, statistics, best practice, staff surveys? Detailed social research? Your answers to these questions will support you later in this assessment, when you start to support your policy decisions with evidence. 17

21 Step 2 - Consultation In this section we present the consultation which informs this EIA Protected characteristics Consultation to inform this policy Include an outline of the responses or feedback and any resulting actions. Please attach any relevant documents or include links (whilst noting that this is a public document) Age This refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 32 year olds) or range of ages (e.g year olds). Disability A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and longterm adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Gender reassignment The process of transitioning from one gender to another Marital status and civil partnership Marriage is defined as a 'union between a man and a woman'. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognized as 'civil partnerships'. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters. 18

22 Pregnancy/maternity Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after birth, and includes unfavourable treatment because of breastfeeding. Race Refers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins Religion or belief Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition. In compliance with S.75 of the Northern Ireland Act, a distinction is made between Catholic and Protestant. Sex A man or woman Sexual orientation Whether a person s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes 19

23 People with dependants People with a primary responsibility for: a child; a person with a disability; a dependent elderly person. Political opinion Defined under S75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1988 as: Unionist generally; Nationalist generally; Republican; Loyalist; members/supporters of any political party; other Welsh language: In compliance with the Welsh Language Act 1993, this consideration refers to our duty to treat Welsh and English on an equal basis in Wales Language Group: this consideration refers to a group of people defined by the language they speak 20

24 Step 3 Data and evidence In step 3 we describe the data and evidence which informs this EIA and what this tells us about how the policy might affect equality in all the areas that apply to the nine protected characteristics set out in section 4 of the Equality Act We also consider additional information to fill any gaps in our understanding of the potential effects of the function. 3:1 Data that has informed us in developing this policy You may want to include information already identified in section C1 of the initial screening. Then add to this with anything further that may exist and that is relevant in that it will help you to understand potential outcomes of the policy for different people. This could include population statistics, if your policy extends to voters. You may find our Evidence to support EIAs useful: July%202012%20Evidence%20to%20support%20EIAs.docx. If it is an internal policy there is data held about staff. A trawl of the internet can be very useful for finding out about best practice in different policy fields and the Commission also carries out research, which can be found on Skynet. 3:2 Evidence relating to groups having different needs, experiences or attitudes in relation to this policy Consider the protected characteristics in the previous section. Can you gauge any adverse or positive s on a particular group? 3:3 What this evidence tells us about the potential take-up of any resulting activities or services Please outline how you think this evidence will affect specific groups if this policy is implemented. Will they be able to take up the service or benefit from the policy? 3:4 Additional information required to fill gaps in our understanding of the potential or known effects of the policy. Have you considered undertaking further research? 21

25 Step 4 Assessing and strengthening the policy In this section we identify the potential s of the policy and how the resulting activities will affect different groups and people vulnerable to discrimination in multiple areas of equality, the potential for direct and indirect discrimination and the reasons for this. We do this by asking: What is the potential for adverse or positive s of the policy? How can the policy be improved? Is there any chance of adjusting the policy so that it helps to promote understanding and foster good relations between groups? We outline the changes that we believe will help reduce adverse s on particular groups and measures that could be incorporated to promote equality and challenge existing patterns of discrimination. We go on to consider whether any actions to address any negative effects on one area of equality may affect other areas, and what can be done to improve access to and take up of the policy. It s very important to do this part of the assessment with a group of people like a brainstorming session. This is because we need to evaluate the way the policy pans out in practice and it is best to consider and discuss all the possibilities in detail with others who have an interest in the policy. A representative group of stakeholders is ideal because they can give us feedback on how the policy could affect them and how we might mitigate negative s. 22

26 4:1 How the policy and resulting activities might affect different groups Try to focus on one characteristic at a time to start with 4:2 How the policy might affect people vulnerable to discrimination in multiple areas of equality This would be a combination of protected characteristics, including age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, political opinion, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation, and for people with dependants and specific language groups. 4:3 Consideration of whether the policy is likely to have an adverse, including direct or indirect discrimination, and the reasons for this Direct discrimination occurs when a protected characteristic is used as an explicit reason for discriminating. Indirect discrimination occurs when there are provisions, criteria or practices operating, which have the effect of discriminating against certain groups of people, by putting them at a disadvantage compared with others, and which cannot be justified as proportionate. 4:4 Comparable policy examples that could help to identify ways of mitigating any of the adverse s For example, when was the last time a policy was introduced where the same groups of people benefitted from the policy? Were similar problems encountered? Is there an EIA for the policy that could give you useful information for this EIA? 23

27 4:5 Changes to the policy that will help reduce adverse on particular groups For example, changes in communication methods, collecting data, revising programmes or physical changes. Also, make sure any changes you make do not produce adverse s in other areas. 4:7 Measures which could be included in the policy to promote equality of opportunity Measures which could be included in the policy to challenge existing patterns of discrimination Does the policy already include measures to promote equality? Can any positive measures be included in the policy to address disadvantage and reach specific groups? For example, changes in communication methods, collecting data, revising programmes or physical changes 4:8 The potential of this policy to promote good relations between different groups Please describe how this policy could be used to promote good relations and improve understanding between people with different protected characteristics 4:9 How we will improve access to and take-up of services, and ensure awareness of the policy Please consider how the policy will be delivered and any opportunities this may present to promote equality by improving understanding of the policy. This might include increasing awareness of the policy or collecting feedback from serviceusers 4:6 Risks Will changing the policy lead to other negative s? If you have amended the policy you may need to return to step 4 to check again for s 24

28 Step 5 Procurement partnerships Consideration of external contractor obligations and partnership working If contractors will be involved in delivering this policy or project the Commission s procurement procedure must be followed Our procurement function EIA sets out what steps we have taken to build into all stages of the procurement process the requirement to consider the public sector equality duty and the equality duty under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, to make sure that any organisation we engage complies with equality legislation. This policy involves/does not involve working in partnership with another organisation (delete as appropriate) Steps we have taken to ensure that partner organisations comply with equality legislation Please outline what measures have been taken 25

29 Step 6 Making a decision This section presents our decisions and we summarize our findings with an overview of whether the policy will meet our obligations in relation to equality. Our recommendations for remedies to reduce, justify or remove any adverse negative s are also laid out in this section. 6:1 Summary of findings Please summarise your findings and give an overview of whether the policy will meet our legal obligations in relation to equality. 6:2 Actions to address negative s of the policy What practical actions do you recommend to reduce, justify or remove any adverse/negative? Please note that these should be reflected in the action plan (see Step 8). 26

30 Step 7 monitoring, evaluating and reviewing This section covers our proposals for monitoring, evaluation and review. We consider how the recommendations of this EIA will fit into the Commission s wider planning and review process and how we will monitor the and effectiveness of the measures proposed in the previous section (step 6). 7:1 How the recommendations of this assessment will be built into wider planning and review processes This may include policy reviews, annual plans and use of performance management systems 7:2 How we will monitor the and effectiveness of the new policy This could include adaptations or extensions to current monitoring systems, relevant timeframes and a commitment to carry out an EIA review once the policy has been in place for a specified period 27

31 Step 8 Action Plan This plan takes into consideration our findings outlined in Steps 1-7 and describes our actions to progress and review the outcomes of this assessment Area of activity Actions How action will be measured Time frame Responsible post holder (job title)/ Directorate Monitoring post holder and Directorate Involvement and consultation Data collection and evidence Assessment and analysis Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing Procurement and partnership working 28

32 Your feedback Please give us your feedback about this toolkit. Was the guidance section at the beginning clear? YES NO If not, please tell us more: Was there enough information in the toolkit to support you to carry out your assessment? YES NO Were any sections of the forms unclear? YES NO If yes, please help us by including further information: Do any of the following statements gauge your experience of carrying out an EIA using this toolkit? If so, please tick one or more that most closely apply: o I found the EIA toolkit useful o I was able to complete my EIA without too much difficulty o I found doing the EIA time-consuming and difficult o I thought the EIA was a waste of time o I found the EIA toolkit very difficult to follow and I would like further guidance Please use this space to include any further comments: Please return this feedback form to 29

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