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Equality and Human Rights Commission

Equality and Human Rights Commission. Equality Impact Assessments with effective outcomes 12 th November 2010 . Benefits of assessing equality impact. Ensure that proposals to save money are evidenced-based - accountability

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Equality and Human Rights Commission

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  1. Equality and Human Rights Commission Equality Impact Assessments with effective outcomes 12th November 2010

  2. Benefits of assessing equality impact • Ensure that proposals to save money are evidenced-based - accountability • Consider the potential disproportionate impact they might have on staff and service users from different equality groups and consider mitigating actions - fairness • Ensure staff and service users’ views have been taken into account – transparency • In sum it is not only about complying with the law, it is also about Good Government

  3. Benefits of using an EIA approach • We recommend for public authorities to use the Equality Impact Assessment approach for 2 main reasons: • Systematic approach to ensure accountability, transparency and fairness in decision-making process • Written record of equality considerations

  4. What do robust EIAs look like? • What is the proposal about and why is it needed? • Is there sufficient data/evidence to assess the impact the proposal might have? • Has baseline been established? • Clarity of users? • What are the gaps? • Did consultation/involvement take place and did this inform the proposal? • Has consultation taken place? • How has this been reflected?

  5. What do robust EIAs look like? • Does it demonstrate the actual/likely impact the proposal might have? • Whole workforce approach • Whole services approach

  6. What do robust assessments look like? • Does it address the impact? • 4 possible outcomes • Outcome 1: No major change • Outcome 2: Adjust the policy • Outcome 3: Continue the policy despite potential for adverse impact or missed opportunities to promote equality been identified • Outcome 4: Stop and remove the policy: the policy shows actual or potential unlawful discrimination. • Does the assessment clearly identify the option(s) chosen and document the reasons for this?

  7. What do robust EIAs look like? • Has an action plan been developed? • Are arrangements in place to monitor and review the actual impact? • Is there a plan to publish the assessments?

  8. Relevant Case Law • Cuts to welfare rights and advice services/DED/GED/RED • Meany & Ors, R (on the application of) v Harlow District Council [2009] EWHC 559 (Admin) (09 March 2009

  9. Relevant Case Law • R (Chavda and others) v London Borough of Harrow [2007] EWHC 3064 (Admin) – the importance of taking Public Sector Equality Duties into account • R (Kaur) v London Borough of Ealing [2008] EWHC 2062 (Admin) – the need to impact assess before making a decision. Southall Black Sisters (SBS) provides specialist services to Asian and Black Caribbean women, particularly in relation to domestic violence issues.

  10. Best practice example Restructuring a University students support services – ‘Doing more for less’ • Evidence-based – data analysis and survey – data analysis on services used by which category of students • Consultation with students to assess satisfaction level and get their views on the proposal for restructuring • Potential impact on students assessed – whole service approach • Potential negative impact addressed • Action planning & arrangements for monitoring and reviewing actual impact and mitigating actions

  11. Equality duties • General duties: eliminate discrimination and harassment and promote race, gender (incl gender reassignment) and disability equality • ‘Due regard’ & assessing the equality impact of policies, procedures and practices as legal requirements • By law an assessment must: • contain sufficient information to enable the local authority to show "due regard" to the equality duties in its decision – making • Identify methods for mitigating any adverse impact. • Recommend that Public authorities should consider the potential impact their decisions could have on human rights. • Equality Act 2010 & the new public sector duty

  12. New public sector  Equality Duty • The new Equality Duty comes into force from April 2011 • The duty covers seven equality groups, which are defined as protected characteristics under the Act.  These are: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.  The duty also covers marriage or civil partnership status with regard to unlawful discrimination

  13. New public sector  Equality Duty (cont.) • General duty: Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act. Advance equality of opportunity between people from different groups. Foster good relations between different groups • The Government is currently consulting on the specific duties (Consultation period is until 10th  November 2010)

  14. New public sector  Equality Duty (cont.) • Under the specific duties, you are required to include assessments of the impact of your policies on equality within your published equality data. You need to do this to be able to demonstrate that you have complied with the general equality duty. 

  15. Proposed guidance from the Commission on the equality duty, available January 2011: • Essential guide to the public sector Equality Duty • Collecting and usingdata for the public sector Equality Duty • Engagement with protected groups for the public sector Equality Duty • Assessing impact on equality for the public sector Equality Duty • Setting objectivesfor the public sector Equality Duty

  16. Equality Act Codes of Practice • In line with our statutory powers, we are producing Codes of Practice on employment; services, public functions and associations; and equal pay. • The purpose of these Codes of Practice is to explain the new statutory provisions of the Equality Act • The Codes set out clearly and precisely what the legislation means. They draw on precedent and case law and explain the implications of every clause in technical terms.

  17. Equality Act Codes of Practice • The Codes have been prepared in consultation with stakeholders and were laid before Parliament on 12 October 2010. • The codes remain in draft form until such time as they have laid before Parliament for forty days without objection and the Government makes the Order bringing them into force.

  18. Background to the Spending Review • Spending Review will have major implications on the public sector and on particular groups amongst the public • Government committed to ensure cuts are made in a fair, transparent and accountable way • The Equality duties offer public bodies from all sectors the tools to make such a commitment reality. 

  19. Commission guidance to help officials make fair financial decisions • The legislation requires that government departments and local authorities have what's called  'due regard'  to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality with regard to race, disability and gender as well as promote good relations, in particular tackle prejudice and promote understanding. 

  20. Commission guidance to help officials make fair financial decisions (cont.) • When this is applied in practice, it means that they must assess the equality impact of proposed changes to policies, procedures or practices, such as decisions which  result from a desire to make savings. • This could include decisions such  as reorganisations and relocations, redundancies and service reductions programmes.

  21. Commission work in this area • Communicating with Equality Ministers, Secretaries of State and Permanent Secretaries of all Departments • Delivering workshops with GEO in July targeted at DG-level Finance Directors in Gov Dpts • Publishing guidance targeted at practitioners as well as decision-makers • Launching a interactive platform to support stakeholders with relevant information [FAQs, relevant case law and best practice examples] http://equalityhumanrights.com/financialdecisions • Participating in events to disseminate information on how to use the duties to make fair financial decisions

  22. How fair Is Britain?, the most comprehensive compilation of evidence on discrimination and disadvantage ever compiled in Britain. How fair is Britain? http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/key-projects/triennial-review/video-overview/

  23. ‘Building a society built on fairness and respect where people are confident in all aspects of their diversity.’

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