As an authority with democratically elected Councillors we have a range of reporting systems but ultimate responsibility for decision making lies with elected Councillors.
Council officers may have delegated powers, or powers delivered by legislative mandate, but these are generally derived from the elected Members of the Council.
In order to meet our equality obligations to pay due regard to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- advance equality of opportunity
- foster good relations.
We think about, and where possible evidence, the impact that our decisions will have against the protected characteristics; age, disability, gender, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, race, sexual orientation and transgender.
When considering our impacts we pay reference to the Brown Principles. These principles layout how due regard is considered and demonstrated to the courts.
Another important element of when a need for analysis has been identified is that it is relevant, proportionate, appropriate and timely. In many cases they will lend themselves to business cases, strategies, plans, policies or reports to Cabinet, Council, senior management and a number of partnership boards.
In practice this means that where a decision has little relevance to equality or the aims, such as a change to environmental measurement systems, a note of the potential impacts may be made and included in the report rather than a full blown information and consultation exercise. However, we recognise that sometimes we need a more formal recording process, for this we makes use of impact analysis templates.
There may be a decision under consideration that we suspect will have some impact but it is not clear if it is significant, or there may be specific actions that we would like to be monitored separately from the main decision for evaluation purposes. In this circumstance, we make use of an initial impact analysis with guidance which will be included with the documents. Depending on the findings, this may be escalated to a full community impact analysis.
Where a decision has an obvious significant impact on different groups and we consider the need to document the equality impacts separately to the decision-making function we may use a community impact analysis and guidance. For example we might conduct a full impact analysis when changing our services or provision.
An example of analysis in practice is our known as Service and Financial Planning 2016/17 - 2017/18 known as our Budget Strategy . The strategy show all elements of proportionate analysis and integration including analysis of the overall strategy and individual saving proposals.
In all circumstance on-going monitoring and evaluation is key to delivering positive outcomes and often management teams will integrate the actions from these analysis into their service plans.
We offer customised training and guidance to officers on how to complete impact analysis - sample training package. The session is a practical workshop designed to install the principles of good analysis and develop the participants understanding of their ethical and statutory obligation to comply with the General Equality Duty.
This approach lends itself to a mainstreamed and efficient use of resources based on need and impact. We are always looking for improvements and welcome any feedback.
Last updated: 1.19pm on Tuesday 24 April 2018