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Equality Analysis Guidance

Introduction

What is Equality Analysis? 

An equality analysis uses evidence and informed judgement to evaluate if a policy, procedure or practice, hereafter referred to as a policy, is likely to have a discriminatory impact on people from protected groups when implemented. UCL has a legal duty to consider equality in policy decision-making to prevent discrimination and to promote diversity and inclusivity for all groups of people. The Equality Act 2010 gives protection on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

The Equality Act 2010 outlaws:
Direct discrimination - treating a person less favourably on the grounds of e.g. age, including treatment relating to perceived age (where the perception may be wrong), or to the person's association with someone from a protected group e.g. the mother of a disabled child;

Indirect discrimination - applying a provision, criterion or practice which is applied equally but disadvantages people from a particular group and cannot be objectively justified e.g. requiring 5 years recent management experience may have an adverse impact on women, as women more commonly take career breaks to care for a child than men, and also younger workers

The Equality Act 2010 requires:
Reasonable adjustments’ to be made for staff and students to enable them to participate fully in work and education e.g. adapt physical features of premises or to work or education

What should be assessed?  

  • A new policy that affects staff, students or service users  
  • Revision or removal of an existing policy that affects staff, students or service users
  • An existing policy which may have a risk of discrimination with no former equality analysis
  • Making key decisions e.g. allocation of major funding, setting budgets and review of services
  • Undertaking organisational change - the Equality Analysis must form part of the business case.

Please see Appendix 1 to check if Equality Analysis is needed for your policy.

When should assessments be done?
At the early stages of policy development/ review so any negative and positive equality issues identified can be addressed in subsequent drafts. The equality impact must also be monitored after policy implementation by reviewing available data. Equality Analysis should be considered alongside other core issues in policy formulation including risk, finances and resources.

Who should conduct assessments? 
Someone who works closely with the policy with a detailed understanding of the area and be in a position to be able to make changes where identified. Additional advice can be sought from the Equalities and Diversity Team.

Completing the Assessment

Although it is not a requirement to use UCL’s recommended Equality Analysis Form; the assessment should use the prompts from the five key areas in the form and guidance below. Essentially the process analyses existing information and feedback from specialist groups to consider whether a decision could have a positive or negative impact on equality.


1. Evidence considered 
Equality Analysis uses evidence and informed judgement to evaluate if a policy is likely to have an adverse or positive impact upon protected groups when implemented.   

Internal information  

  • Diversity profile of staff or students for the policy area
  • Levels of service take up by staff/students and any anticipated changes to levels of participation following the policy changes
  • Excluded staff/students from the policy area or evidence of underrepresentation
  • Results of satisfaction surveys or questionnaires e.g. UCL staff survey, National Student Survey 
  • Enquiries, feedback, comments or complaints on the policy area e.g. from staff, student groups, professional bodies, funding bodies
  • Recommendations of audit reports
  • Comparisons with similar policies in other departments
  • UCL’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy objectives  

For organisational change: HR should consider the diversity profile of the staff affected

Example - An employee support service is being revised. The following information is gathered: number of employees and diversity profile of the people who use the service, satisfaction surveys results and general feedback on the service. The results are analysed to consider the people who do not use the service and reasons for this.

External information
Where there is a lack of internal data, you should consult with relevant stakeholders (section 2). You may also consider anecdotal evidence to help you identify further information or consider external sources:  

2. Consultation 
A policy will not always affect different groups equally. Achieving a more equitable outcome will sometimes require specific steps to address an existing or historical disadvantage, meet different needs or accommodate difference. You may need to consult people affected by your policy to understand their different experiences and needs, particularly where there is a lack of data. The information obtained will help you complete section 3 and 4 and shape policy direction.

Who should you consult? 
It will depend on the policy area and who it affects. Suggested consultation groups include:  

For Organisational Change, consultation should include group/one-to-one meetings.

How to consult

  • Send a draft of your policy to relevant people/groups and ask for comments on how the policy may impact them in a positive or negative way – see Appendix 2
  • Speak to students/staff affected by the policy e.g. through surveys and focus groups
  • Ask former users of the policy for their experiences of how the policy works in practice
  • Refer to recent available consultation
  • Ensure future surveys relating to the policy area ask relevant questions to assist you for future assessments
  • Ensure confidentiality of responses where appropriate, e.g. when individuals share personal experiences

Example - Advertising methods for a degree course are being reviewed where there are very few UK domicile ethnic minority students. The department consult with current and prospective students from schools and colleges to obtain their experiences and feedback on how the course is communicated and suggested ways for future communication and engagement.

3. Promoting Equality 
The assessment should identify ways equality is being promoted by the policy and ways in which it could do more to promote equality. Diversity within as well as between groups should be considered, particularly when a service is targeted at a particular group e.g. a women’s mentoring scheme may need to consider the different experiences of white women and Black and Minority Ethnic women.

Consider the information gathered from sections 1 and 2 in relation to the policy aims and context in which it will operate to ask yourself:

  • Who benefits from the policy? 
  • What aspects of the policy relate to equality?  
  • Does the policy miss potential opportunities to promote equality? Could it help to achieve UCL’s Equality Objectives?
  • Does the policy include lawful positive action or other methods to address inequality?

‘Positive Action’ i.e. proactively encouraging people is allowed under the Equality Act where members of protected groups are underrepresented within the workforce or student body. These are lawful measures, such as encouraging job applications from different groups and engaging in outreach work, designed to redress imbalances, counteract the effects of past discrimination and to ensure that people from previously excluded groups can compete on equal terms.

Example - An Engineering department reviews their undergraduate profile, which is mainly comprised of male students. The department analyses the entry requirements and determines that requiring Physics A Level prevents women and girls and people from other backgrounds from applying because they are much less likely to take Physics A level. The department decides that the requirement is not necessary and take a significant step in changing the Physics requirement to ‘preferable’. They experience a significant increase in female students.

4. Identifying the adverse impact of new policies 
Identifying issues which may adversely affect protected groups may be easier to do for existing policies due to existing data and policy feedback. However a prediction can be made about the impact of new policies by using the information gathered for sections 1 and 2 to ask yourself:

  • Is there evidence of higher or lower participation or uptake by different groups? If so, is that consistent with the policy aims? Consider unintended consequences or barriers that might prevent participation for some groups.
  • Is the policy likely to affect relations between groups - is it seen as favouring a particular group or denying another?
  • Could part of the policy disadvantage or unlawfully discriminate against any particular group including failures to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people?
  • Could the policy have a negative impact on achieving UCL’s equality objectives?

A department is going to purchase new software to support student assessment. This affects both students as users and administrative staff as processers of the information. Adopting a system which may not accommodate different needs could disadvantage disabled people and the department have a specific duty to consider reasonable adjustments for disabled staff. The department survey student and staff needs at the planning stages and learn that the students can access the software in different formats. However a dyslexic member of administrative staff could not read information in the format presented. The department request modifications to the software to ensure it is accessible to both students and staff.

Justification 
Explain if the issue which has negative impact on equality can be justified for business or academic reasons. If there will be a greater impact on one group, is that appropriate and consistent with the policy objective? For example, holding meetings outside core hours may impact more women than men due to caring commitments, but this could be justified in a clinical environment where staff are required to work in clinics during core hours to meet the needs of patients.

Proposed Action 
No Action Required 
The policy may not require action where the Equality Analysis demonstrates:

  • the policy is robust and there does not seem to be potential for any adverse impact on different equality groups or opportunities to promote equality
  • potential for adverse impact on equality groups but these can be justified for business or academic reasons

Action Required
Action to adjust the policy must be taken where the Equality Analysis shows:

  • potential discrimination or negative impact upon protected group(s) and this cannot be justified for business or academic reasons
  • the policy could do more to promote equality  

Action to be taken:

  • Adjust the aspect of the policy which creates the unwanted impact or could better promote equality
  • Introduce additional measures to reduce or mitigate the potential negative impact.
  • Remove the policy if the Equality Analysis shows evidence of discrimination, creates or enables unlawful discrimination and the policy cannot be changed to remove these barriers.

Example 
A centrally funded leadership training programme has to be removed due to budget cuts. Training records show that more women utilise this training and therefore this could have a significant impact on the equality objective to increase women in grades 9 and 10. To reduce and mitigate the negative impact, other full day training programmes are modified to incorporate leadership modules. These are promoted amongst women in grade 8 positions in departments which are underrepresented by women at senior levels. Faculties are also provided support to start local mentoring programmes to encourage and develop women into senior grades.

5. Monitoring 
It is important to monitor the effect of the policy on protected groups because this will identify if the policy has the impact anticipated and that the mitigating actions previously identified in the assessment have been effective. You need to identify:

  • The data required to monitor the effects of the changes e.g. level of service take up, levels of satisfaction and outcomes of different groups 
  • How the data will be evaluated and who this will be reported to. Do trends continue year on year? For existing policies, have the actions been implemented from any previous assessments? Has there been any positive or negative impact on equality groups?
  • How often the data will be monitored; you should consider any new routinely available information which may show a different equality impact e.g. policy feedback or complaints

Appendix 1 - Deciding if Equality Analysis is needed

Most policies will require an Equality Analysis; however this may not be required where the policy has no relevance to equality. High relevance policies will have significant impact on people e.g. student admissions policies, employment policies and estates policies.  Low relevance policies include technical policies.

Equality Analysis Flowchart

Appendix 2 – Consultation questions

Section 2 of the guidance asks you to consult people affected by your policy to understand their needs and to help you complete sections 3 and 4. It may be helpful to send the following prompt questions with your policy:

Identifying positive impacts of the policy

  • Who benefits from the policy? 
  • What aspects of the policy relate to equality? 
  • Does the policy miss potential opportunities to promote equality? Could it help to achieve UCL’s Equality Objectives?
  • Does the policy include lawful positive action or other methods to address inequality?

Identifying adverse impacts of the policy 

  • Is there evidence of higher or lower participation or uptake by different groups? Consider unintended consequences or barriers that might prevent participation for some groups.
  • Is the policy likely to affect relations between groups - is it seen as favouring a particular group or denying another?
  • Could part of the policy disadvantage or unlawfully discriminate against any particular group including failures to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people?
  • Could the policy have a negative impact on achieving UCL’s Equality Objectives?

HR Policy and Planning
March 2013