What is an Equality Impact Assessment?
Our day-to-day decisions, overarching policies and associated processes affect individual students, members of staff and visitors, often profoundly.
A policy, process or decision that may seem fair and apply equally to everyone may, on closer inspection, adversely impact on a particular group of people. Equality Analysis (EA) is a way of considering the effect of what we decide to do on different groups of individuals who have legal protection. It makes an assessment of impact which is why it is sometimes referred to as Equality Impact Assessment (EIA).
EA protects the University from unwittingly discriminating against an individual or group, either directly or indirectly. It also allows us to take more positive action to improve the experiences and satisfaction of all students and staff in line with our mission and values.
Equality Analysis should be an integral part of policy development and decision-making at the University. It applies to policies, practices, activities and decisions: essentially everything we do, whether it is formally written down or whether it is informal custom and practice. This includes our existing policies and any new policies under development.
An EIA should be carried out for:
- Major changes, which usually require executive sign off, with significant potential equality impact across the University: an EIA should be included as part of the proposal
- Policy changes or decisions within Faculty/Service with minor potential equality impact:
- Decision made by a working group: Keep records of equality considerations, eg minutes, notes, e-mails, (but it is not usually necessary to publish full Equality Analysis)
- Decisions made made by an individual: Question the impact on equality at the time of the decision but no records need to be kept and no publication necessary. These decisions are made within a framework of guidelines or as part of established procedures. If challenged, managers will still need to justify individual decisions made.
The first stage of an EIA is to consider the potential impact of a decision on equality, and decide whether an EIA is needed. If you decide that a policy is not relevant to equality, you will need to document the reasons for this and the information that you used to make this decision. A simple statement of no relevance to equality without any supporting information will not be sufficient, nor will a statement that no information is available.
You can find more information about what to consider when determining if an EIA is needed in the Guidance Document below.
To carry out an EIA you must complete the EIA Proforma which guides you through the stages of an EIA. There are seven simple stages to an Equality Analysis. Full guidance and a checklist is available below.
- Consider any potential impact on people with protected characteristics
- Collect any relevant data so that you have enough information to make an informed decision
- Analyse the evidence to assess if there is any adverse impact on particular groups with protected characteristics
- Eliminate or reduce any adverse impact, where possible
- Decide - make a decision and communicate as appropriate
- Publish the Equality Analysis and keep evidence
- Monitor actual impact and review policies