What is an Impact Assessment?

An equality impact assessment is a useful way of systematically assessing and often consulting on, the effects that a proposed policy is likely to have on people, depending on characteristics such as ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion.

Why conduct an Impact Assessment?

Impact assessments are conducted to ensure that a policy or service does not discriminate against any social group or have an adverse affect on our communities.  

Although we no longer have a legal duty to conduct impact assessments, they are a useful tool to help shape service improvements and new policies and have many benefits.  Impact assessments:

  • Ensure our policies and services are having the best possible impact on our communities
  • Provide us with evidence to show that our policies and services are not having any adverse impact on our residents and are not discriminating in any way
  • Make sure that the services we provide do not overlook or exclude any groups
  • Set out ways to collect information to give us feedback on services and monitor their impact
  • Help us to understand our customers and how our services can meet their needs. 

What does an Assessment focus on?

Impact assessments consider a range of issues in relation to equality groups. The new Equality Duty focuses on a set of protected characteristics which can be used as a tool to help us understand how our services will impact the community.   

The current Equality Bill includes all seven strands of equalities and introduces a duty to consider socio-ecomonic factors. This means that diversity issues now include the need for Council's to consider and reduce inequality produced by low income. Our impact assessments have been developed with the aim of helping us to consider all the strands of equalities and factors relevant to people's ability to access services. This approach is an important part of the Equality Framework for Local Government.  To carry out our assessments we use an Equality Impact Assessment Form to work through the process. We also consider equality and diversity issues as part of reports that go to Council meetings to help inform the decisions being made, these can be done to summarise assessments that have taken place or provide a summary of the equality issues that should be considered.

Some examples of Equality Impact Assessments include:


Further Information

pdf Diversity Impact Assessment Guidelines (48 KB)

Rob Mace
Strategy & Communications Team
Call: 01386 565436 between 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday
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