What is an Equality Impact Assessment?
An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) is a tool that helps us put equality, diversity, and inclusion at the heart of everything we do. It ensures our policies, procedures, practices, and organisational change projects (referred to collectively as a 'policy') do what they are intended to do and are inclusive for staff, students, and visitors.
Why do we need it?
An EIA is an established and credible tool for demonstrating compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which is required by law. The PSED requires us to ensure both our current and proposed policies consider the needs of diverse groups. It aims to eliminate discrimination, advance the quality of opportunity and access, and help foster good relations between the different groups within our community.
Carrying out an EIA helps support good decision making and assesses what the likely (or actual) effects our activities might have on people. It considers the nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
The EIA can help identify any opportunities to promote equality that may have previously been missed or could be better used. It also looks for negative or adverse impacts that can be removed or mitigated, where possible. (If any negative or adverse impacts amount to unlawful discrimination, they must be removed.)
The difference between negative and positive impact:
Negative or adverse impact − when the outcome of a decision, policy or practice creates disadvantage to or unequal treatment of a person with a protected characteristic.
Positive impact − when the outcome of a decision supports the advancement of equality groups, providing opportunities for people with protected characteristics and/or promoting good relations between them.
You can download the EIA form and FAQs document here.
When should an EIA be carried out?
An EIA should be carried out when there are any proposed changes to a policy. Within the EIA, any reference to 'policy' covers the full range of functions, activities and decisions for which the University is responsible – essentially everything we do. It includes both current policies and those under development, as well as organisational change. In our FAQs document, you’ll find a section dedicated to helping you decide whether an EIA needs to be carried out.
If an EIA is required, we recommend you complete it during the initial stages of policy development, so you can implement proactive solutions early on. This will allow sufficient time for the policy to be adjusted to mitigate any equality-related impacts.