Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA)

What is an Equality Impact Assessment?

An Equality Impact Assessment is an analysis of a proposed change to assess whether it has a disproportionate impact on persons who share a protected characteristic. The council undertakes Equality Impact Assessments on significant changes to policy or services that could have a disproportionate impact on individuals or groups that share a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.

Why do we undertake Equality Impact Assessments?

The Equality Act 2010 introduced the Public Sector Equality Duty. This requires all public bodies, including local authorities, to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 are as followed:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Religion or belief
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy and maternity

It may also be appropriate to consider the impact of the proposal on other groups not ‘protected ‘under the Equality Act including parents/carers and/or socio-economic groups.

1. It helps the council meet our Public Sector Equality Duty by: 

  • Identifying any equality impacts on people who share a protected characteristic
  • Identifying any differences in impact between different groups
  • Identifying opportunities to advance equality within the council
  • Encouraging officers to consider equality issues within their service.

2. It helps the council put its Equality Policy into practice by:

  • Advancing equality of opportunity by undertaking equality analysis to assess the impact of our decisions on our community.

3. It helps inform the decision making process by:

  • Identifying alternative approaches, which may mitigate any negative impacts and help promote greater equality of services.

How do we undertake Equality Impact Assessments?

In Tower Hamlets we undertake Equality Impact Assessments by working through a number of questions in templated forms:

  • The first set of questions is called the Equality Impact Screening Tool and is designed to help council officers decide if a full Equality Impact Assessment needs to be carried out.
  • If the decision is taken that a full Equality Impact Assessment is required then you will use the Equality Impact Assessment.

What evidence do we use?

It is important to use up to date data when drafting Equality Impact Assessments.  Data used should be both quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative data refers to numbers and can include demographic, income and attainment data. The Intelligence and Performance Team have collated a set of Borough statistics available here which you should use in the development of your Equality Impact Assessment.

Qualitative data refers to the experience of the individuals from their perspective.  This type of data is most commonly collected through consultations, focus groups, review of complaints made, user feedback and interviews.

Service data in also a valuable evidence source when carrying out an Equality Impact Assessment and will work to provide an insight into the users who utilise the service impacted by the proposal and their views.

Service data can include but is not limited to the following:

  • service users equality monitoring data (more information on this is available here)
  • information about stakeholders
  • performance data
  • survey results and feedback from service users. 

Who is responsible for completing Equality Impact Assessments?

All council officers have some degree of responsibility for ensuring that Equality Impact Assessments are undertaken. The Tower Hamlets Equality policy provides an outline of these roles and responsibilities.

The ‘completing officer’ is the owner of the Equality Impact Assessment, but will at times rely on other teams and officers within the council to provide evidence and information where required.

The service the proposal relates to will lead on the Equality Impact Assessment but Strategy, Policy and Performance officers within directorates are responsible for offering support and guidance to colleagues in completing these. 

Do we publish Equality Impact Assessments?

Equality Impacts Assessments should be attached to each report where there is a public decision. A list of meetings including agendas, reports and minutes are available on our council and democracy page

Equality Impact Assessment 2018/19

Savings proposals 2018-19

Our commitment to tackling inequality has informed our financial and strategic planning processes. In developing individual saving proposals to deliver a balanced budget for the period 2012-13 to 2014-15, we have assessed the potential for proposals to affect equality between people, both residents and staff, through:

  • completing an initial screening assessment of all savings proposals to identify those which are likely to have a direct impact on services received by residents or on the number or grade of staff in a specific service
  • undertaking an equality analysis of those savings proposals which the screening suggested could have an impact on residents or staff to identify the impact of the proposed changes on equality between people from different backgrounds.

The steps outlined above fulfil the council’s obligations under the Equality Act 2010 to show due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.

You can find Equality Analyses in all reports of the Council’s Committees. A summary of the Analysis is set out in the ‘One Tower Hamlets considerations’ section of these reports.

Budget proposals 2018-19 (the screening assessments and equality analyses for all savings proposals contained in the General Fund Capital and Revenue Budgets and Medium Term Financial Plan 2018-2019).

The Equality Act (2010) places a legal duty on all public sector organisations to pay due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality with regard to race, disability and gender.  For those decisions identified as having a high relevance to equality, an assessment must be made of the potential for them to affect equality between different groups.

High quality information about the equality impact of savings proposals is necessary to enable budget decisions to be taken in an informed, fair and transparent way. At a time of significant financial pressure this is essential to maintaining the council’s commitment to tackling inequality and disadvantage, as well as fulfilling the authority’s legal duties.