What is an Equality Assessment?
Equality Assessment is a way of considering the effect on different groups protected from discrimination by the Equality Act (link to Government Home Office site). It involves using equality information, and the results of engagement with protected groups and others, to understand the actual effect or the potential effect of functions, policies or decisions. It can help to identify practical steps to tackle any negative effects or discrimination, to advance equality and to foster good relations.
The protected groups are: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The duty also covers marriage and civil partnerships.
What should be Assessed?
All policies, practices, activities and decisions (whether formally written down or whether it is informal custom and practice) are assessed, (both existing policies and any new policies under development) and give consideration to equality. The Equality Assessment starts prior to policy development or at the early stages of a review. It is not a one-off exercise, it is ongoing and cyclical and it enables equality considerations to be taken into account before a decision is made.
The Equality Assessment has four possible outcomes - more than one may apply to a single policy
- No major change – Analysis demonstrates that the policy is robust and the evidence shows no potential for discrimination and that you have taken all appropriate opportunities to advance equality and foster good relations between groups.
- Adjust the policy – This involves taking steps to remove barriers or to better advance equality. It can mean introducing measures to mitigate the potential effect.
- Continue the policy – This means adopting proposals, despite any adverse effect or missed opportunities to advance equality, provided you have satisfied yourself that it does not unlawfully discriminate. It is important to record what the objective justification is for continuing the policy, and how any decision was reached.
- Stop and remove the policy – If there are adverse effects that are not justified and cannot be mitigated, consideration should be made to stopping the policy altogether. If a policy shows unlawful discrimination it must be removed or changed.
The Equality Assessment process focuses on 6 Steps of activity:
- Responsible Officer
- Establishing relevance
- Scoping the Analysis
- Assessing the Equality information
- Monitoring and review
- Decision making and Publication
To support the Equality Assessment process the City Council will be using the revised form and guidance information materials below inline with the requirements provided by the Government's Equality Office.
To view each Directorate Equality Assessments and their Information for Publishing, click on the Equality Information link below.
Equality Assessment Form & Guidance Information