An equality impact assessment (EIA) is a process designed to ensure that a particular policy, practice or project does not discriminate against or disadvantage people.
An equality impact assessment (EIA) will help you analyse your policies and practices to make sure they do not discriminate against or disadvantage people. EIAs provide an effective means of enabling organisations to measure their progress in matching their policies’ actual equality outcomes to their aims. They can also help to ensure that staff and customers are not discriminated against by the way in which an organisation operates, and can help public authorities ensure that their practices and policies work to promote equality and tackle discrimination.
“Equality Impact Assessments go to the heart also of improvement in performance standards and are a very helpful vehicle for identifying and avoiding negative impact, but most importantly also, making sure that opportunities are not missed to promote equality.”
Dianna Yach, Equality and human rights activist
Conducting an Equality Impact Assessment SWOT
A SWOT analysis considers (S)trengths, (W)eaknesses, (O)pportunities, (T)hreats involved in developing a policy, programme or procedure.
Consider the following SWOT elements in equality impact assessment terms:
- Does the proposal address known adverse impacts?
- Does the proposal seek to eliminate existing discrimination?
- Will the proposal have a positive impact on staff & communities?
- Does the proposal comply with statutory obligations on race, disability and gender equality?
- Do staff support groups already actively participate in this policy area?
- Is there a need to strengthen data collection?
- Is there a need to improve how diverse staff/communities are served by this policy?
- Is there a need to deliver more positive outcomes for all staff/communities?
- What are the long and short term options, and what implications will this have for promoting equal opportunity, good community relations & involving disabled people?
- Are the accountability arrangements for this policy clear and effective?
- Mitigate potential adverse impact
- Strengthen the positive impact of this policy and send clearer equality and social cohesion messages.
- Promote equal opportunity for other equality groups e.g. sexual orientation; age; religion, belief and non belief.
- Involve groups in shaping how this policy can meet the needs of their staff, & communities.
- Strengthen good practice by sharing with others.
- Are there any barriers to stakeholder involvement in developing the proposal?
- Are there other strategies that impact upon this proposal?
- Is there a need to enhance stakeholder buy-in?
- Are delivery partners sufficiently engaged in meeting the statutory obligations?
- Are there resource implications that may affect the delivery of this policy?
- Will perceived adverse impact of this policy affect the way it can be delivered?
Working effectively with the Equality Act
The Equality Act legally protects people from harassment, victimization and discrimination in the workplace and in wider society on the grounds of certain ‘protected characteristics’. These are: age, race, disability, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership and sexual orientation.
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