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Helen Stevens/Bethan Wadeson
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Public sector authorities are set to benefit from a more streamlined Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) process following the launch of an online resource and management tool.
Impact Equality, the new online application from Black Radley, will automate the process of assessing whether local authorities are meeting the particular needs of citizens regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, disability, religion or sexual orientation.
Recent research conducted by Black Radley amongst local authorities highlighted that 75 per cent of respondents said their organisation’s support for mainstreaming of equalities was not good. 60 per cent said their EIA process failed to support legislative compliance and 70 per cent said their EIA approach was neither cost nor time efficient.
Iain Wilkinson, managing director at Black Radley, believes that local authorities currently lack the resources and skills to conduct Equalities Impact Assessments in an efficient and effective way.
He explains, “Mounting paperwork, overstretched managers and bureaucracy are all reasons why local authorities are failing to conduct EIAs. If they are not completed effectively, as our research suggests, they risk failing in what they are supposed to do, namely ensure the delivery of high quality services to meet the full range of customer needs. Impact Equality provides the tool to tackle this problem and make the whole process more streamlined, reducing human error and improving performance. It even provides a full audit trail.”
Impact Equality has successfully completed thorough tests with several public sector bodies and is now being made available across the country.
Mashuq Ally, Head of Equality and Diversity at Birmingham City Council, was closely involved in the design of the tool. He says, “Ensuring that we serve each and every citizen equally is at the very heart of what we do. Using standard approaches, the processes which need to be followed to ensure an effective EIA are complex and time consuming, but fundamental to good service performance. Impact Equality gives us the ability to make the process more effective, efficient and consistent, freeing up time and resources across the organisation.”
Public authorities are required by law to ensure that no person receives an unfair service by virtue of their ethnicity, gender, disability (and, increasingly, their religion, sexual orientation and age). It requires that all public service activities – that is, functions and policies, whether existing or proposed – go through an equalities impact assessment. The EIA should identify the extent to which an activity might have a positive or negative impact on individual members of specific groups. As a result, action can be planned to correct any deficiencies in the service or promote its positive aspects.
Notes to editors
Black Radley was founded in 1999 as a private limited company serving a range of public sector customers, and organisations in the private or voluntary sector with public sector connections. The consultancy delivers sustainable partnerships and project management from offices in London, the West Midlands and Yorkshire.
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