An Equality Impact Assessment is a detailed and systematic analysis of the potential or actual effects of a policy or practice, provision or criterion to ascertain whether it has a differential impact on identifiable groups of people or equality strands that are central to the equality agenda.

Equality Impact assessment (EIA) is the term given to a review of an institution's policies, procedures, practices/activities, provision, criterion and services to ensure that the institution is not discriminating unlawfully – and that it is making a positive contribution to equality. It is the process of assessing the impact of existing or proposed policies and practices in relation to their consequences for equality.

An Equality Impact Assessment is an anticipatory process that allows institutions to predict possible barriers faced by equality groups. A judgement of adverse impact is made if the impact of a policy disadvantages one or more equality target groups. Steps then have to be taken to mitigate this adverse or negative impact. The concepts of proportionality and relevance are essential for carrying out an impact assessment.

Institutional approach

As equality impact assessments are required for disability, gender and race, the University has agreed to take an integrated approach to the process. As a result, each impact assessment will simultaneously consider implications for disability, gender and race. The University is still considering whether or not to include implications for age, sexual orientation and religion in anticipation of further tightening of the legislation in these areas.

Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) guidance

The University has developed guidance to enable departments to steer through the processes of:

  • Conducting screenings of relevant functions
  • Identifying whether EIAs should be conducted
  • Conducting EIAs
  • Who should be involved in EIAs
  • Recording and publishing EIAs
  • Acting upon the results

Heads of Department were sent a memorandum about the requirements.