The equality duty places a positive duty on us to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic, and those who do not. A positive duty means that we have to go further than simply not discriminating - we must actively promote equality of opportunity and the elimination of discrimination for staff and service users.
All new policies go through an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) so that we can properly consider the impacts they might have on certain groups within our workforce and the community. Where potential negative impact is identified we can take appropriate action to remove or reduce it where possible. If a positive impact is identified, we look at ways to maximise this – for example by sharing the information with other departments within our own organisation or with our partners and other agencies.
Our equality impact assessment process uses a template to guide managers through a step-by-step process which analyses the impacts of our activities on the nine protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010. We also extend our consideration to include additional groups of people within our community who we believe are vulnerable or at increased risk, for example people who have a drug or alcohol dependency or those who are socially/economically excluded.
In January 2014, following a review and a complete overhaul we launched a new improved EIA process. Full information on how the process works can be found in our Equality Impact Assessment Guidance document.