Tool 1: Introduction to EIAs

What are Equality Impact Assessments?
Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) are methods of ‘self-assessment or auditing’ providing a detailed indicator in line with laws relating to employment and service provision.
Which laws require the University to conduct EIAs?
The Public Sector Equality Duty (2011) requires the University to:
ü  Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
ü  Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
ü  Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
These legislative duties result from previous legal duties on Disability; Gender; and Race, in addition to the Single Equality Act (2010) – also refer to Fairness = Funding.

The ‘Equality Act (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012’ (as stated below) also requires institutions, such as Scottish universities, which receive public funds, to conduct robust impact assessments. This requirement is endorsed by the Scottish Government and by the SFC:  

Regulation 5 requires a listed authority to assess, where and to the extent necessary to fulfil the equality duty, the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the needs mentioned in section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010.  

Any consideration as to whether or not it is necessary to assess the impact of a policy or practice for these purposes is not to be treated as an assessment of impact. Paragraphs (2) to (4) do not therefore apply in relation to, for example, an initial screening exercise to establish whether or not an assessment is required.  

Where an assessment is made and the authority decides to apply the policy or practice to which it relates, the authority must publish the results of that assessment within a reasonable period.

A listed authority must also make arrangements to review any policy or practice that it applies to ensure that, in exercising its functions, it complies with the equality duty. 

What are we required to conduct an EIA on?
EIAs should take into account impacts during the creation, changing and withdrawing of: 

  • Policies
  • Practices
  • Procedures
  • Services