HELPING YOU GET A HANDLE ON THE EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT TOOLKIT
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WHO ARE WE TALKING TO?
As part of the developing Equality and Diversity Approach (Fair for All - The Wider Challenge) the Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment Toolkit has been designed to assist managers* within the Scottish Executive Health Department (SEHD) and Scotland's NHS Boards scrutinise and, if necessary, modernise their policies and functions in order to reflect the spirit of the current legislative framework. It cannot be completed by one person and it is essential that the process as outlined is followed to ensure that a clear understanding of the specific issues/barriers/discrimination faced by one or more equality groups is developed.
* Or those members of staff normally involved in policy development.
WHOSE RIGHTS ARE WE PROTECTING?
In order to work within the current policy and legislative requirements it is essential that all policy and service developments and implementation within SEHD and NHSScotland do not disadvantage people from the following equality groups:
* Black and Minority Ethnic Communities (including Gypsy/Travellers, Refugees and Asylum Seekers)
- Children and Young People
- Disabled People
- Older People
- Religious/Faith Groups
- The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community
- Women and Men
The following cross-cutting issues are also of relevance:
- Involvement in the Criminal Justice System
- Language or Social Origin
- Marital Status
- Mental Health
The Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment Toolkit (the Toolkit) will be launched on 11th February 2005. But the first thing to say is, when it lands on your desk or you first access it on the web, please don't regard it as yet another weight on your shoulders. Yes, it's quite a substantial document but it's extremely important in that it reflects the thrust of current legislation and indeed contains issues that are already bound by law.
The good news is - this is a highly practical and user-friendly tool that will really help you carry out your corporate responsibilities with regards ensuring that equality and diversity impacts are properly assessed and acted upon. Its bulk is deceptive - at least two-thirds of it is taken up with tips, tools and an easy-to-complete form (the Impact Assessment form). We've done everything we can to give you step-by-step guidance and effective tools as well as to highlight how it fits into the wider legislative framework. It's designed to minimise the burden. We hope you find it of significant use.
WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT?
The Toolkit is a strategic document for SEHD and NHSScotland. It's intended to assist the consideration of equality and diversity issues when our policies and services are being designed, developed or delivered.
It looks at the legislative and policy framework and highlights how Equality and Diversity form part of our wider agenda for cultural change.
Its purpose is to improve the way we develop our policies and functions by making sure there is no discrimination involved and that, wherever possible, equality is promoted and diversity celebrated.
It's designed to help protect the rights of any group or community that could, for whatever reason, be disadvantaged or discriminated against. You will find a summary of who this includes on the inside cover of this leaflet.
The Toolkit is relevant to:
- New and reviewed policies and strategies
- Existing policies and services
- Service plans
- Best value reviews and service re-design processes.
The Toolkit derives from the move to place the patient at the centre of our work and the attendant requirement to be aware of, and responsive to, everyone's needs. Thus the need to consider the impact of equality and diversity on all our policy-making and how outcomes may affect different groups in different ways. The Toolkit is designed to assess both negative and positive impacts.
As you familiarise yourself with the reach of the Toolkit you will appreciate that it must be applied early in any policy development process and continued throughout.
The Toolkit is designed to assist you make a thorough and relevant assessment and it might be helpful to view completing the Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment form as similar to undertaking a risk assessment.
REASONS TO USE IT
THE BUSINESS CASE. NHSScotland aims to provide an exemplary service and is already ahead of the field both within the Scottish and UK context. Implementation of the Toolkit is essential to maintain this lead - it will also help boost morale by enhancing the quality of life for all the workforce. It is essential in respect of delivering a genuine patient-focused service.
THE ETHICAL CASE. The Toolkit addresses key issues that lie at the heart of ensuring our society is progressive and truly inclusive. Our place is central within society's infrastructure. Implementation is essential to our ongoing social responsibility as well as to our being in line with the directives of the wider cultural change within SEHD and NHSScotland.
THE LEGAL CASE. In addition to the requirements set out in the NHS Reform (Scotland) Act 2004, there is other legislation which must be adhered to. The Toolkit covers six key strands of equality and diversity, these are: age, disability, gender, race/ethnicity, religious faith/beliefs and sexual orientation or any combination thereof. The majority of these have legislative backing to some degree and all will have by the end of 2006.
The impact assessment requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 have been used as the benchmark for the other strands because of the disparity in the requirements of existing equality legislation and the fact it is unlikely there will be an integrated equality act for the foreseeable future.
The Toolkit helps you to assess which circumstances are relevant and what to do if in doubt.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TOOLKIT CONTENTS
The Toolkit leads with a four-page Executive Summary and is then divided into four sections.
Section 1 looks at the background and provides:
- Legislative and Policy Framework
- An Introduction
- Tips and General Guidance
Section 2 introduces the 10 Stages of effective Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment - see page opposite. It then expands on these by giving tips and answers to the following questions:
- How does the policy, function, service development or change fit in to our wider aims?
- Will we have to examine available data and research, and collect other information?
- How to complete a Rapid Impact Checklist (RIC).
- How do we assess the likely impact of the proposed policy?
- Will we need to commission further research before making our decision?
- How and who do we consult about the proposed policy?
- How do we decide whether to introduce the policy?
- How do we ensure effective monitoring of the proposed policy?
- How should we publish the results of assessments and consultations?
Section 3 is the one with the tools:
- The Rapid Impact Checklist
- The Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment Tool (the actual form itself)
Section 4 provides useful supplementary information and resources:
- Impact Assessments in Action
- Useful Links and Further Reading
JUST ONE EXAMPLE
Here is an extract from the Toolkit. It shows how straightforward, in essence, the process is. This is followed by a step-by-step guidance (see bullets above under Section 2) that seeks to answer any questions you may have.
The 10 Stages of effective Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment
Identify the aims of your policy or function.
Consider the data/research available to assess likely impact on equality strands.
Complete the Rapid Impact Checklist and decide whether further assessment is necessary.
Assess the likely impact of your policy or function on equality strands. Is it discriminatory? Is it unlawful? Is it justifiable in law? Does it advance or restrict equality?
Consider alternative ways of delivering your policy or function in order to minimise negative impact or eliminate unlawful discrimination.
Assess whether any further research or consultation is needed to investigate the impact of your proposal on diverse groups.
Consult relevant stakeholders.
Make a decision.
Make arrangements to monitor and review the impact. Include other adverse impacts.
Provide feedback by publishing results of the Impact Assessment.
TWO HANDY DEFINITIONS
Equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. It is mostly backed by legislation designed to address unfair discrimination based on membership of a particular group.
Diversity is about recognising and valuing difference in its broadest sense. It is about creating a culture and practices that recognise, respect, value and harness difference for the benefit of the patients, carers, members of the public and members of staff. We may need to change our existing processes and systems to accommodate diversity.
Equality and Diversity are interdependent. There is no equality of opportunity if difference is not recognised and valued.
For more information about your role as an employer contact:
Equality & Diversity Branch - Ground Floor Rear: 0131 244 3262.
For more information about your role as a service provider; for copies of the toolkit or for other general enquiries contact:
Patient/Public Focus and Quality Branch - Ground Floor East Rear: 0131 244 2454.
If you wish to write to us for more information then please use the branch name above with the address provided below:
Scottish Executive Health Department
St Andrew's House
Edinburgh EH1 3DG
Text Phone Number: 0131 244 1829
Electronic copies of the following documents are available at the links below:
Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment Toolkit
Helping you get a handle on the Equality and Diversity Impact Assesment Toolkit
Alternative formats can be made available.