1.8 For tax and welfare measures, a screening exercise was undertaken to assess whether the change would have a particular impact on women or men, people of different ethnic origin or people with disabilities. The results of these screening exercises, and the ways in which these could be mitigated, were considered when policy decisions were taken. Full impact assessments will be considered and published by the relevant departments in due course, as the full details of these policies are worked out.
1.11 Spending which directly promotes equality of opportunity, such as that on education, is more significant for future life chances than spending which funds other services, even if these are consumed unevenly across the population.
People with Disabilities
2.15 People with disabilities use some public services more than people without a disability, in particular:
- Health: People with long-term health conditions account for around 70 per cent of the NHS budget. Many within this group will also have a disability
- Social care: people with disabilities are more likely to be users of social care
- Service targeted on people on low incomes: people with disabilities are more likely than average to be in households on low incomes; and
- The Disabled Facilities Grant.
2.17 Measures targeted on people on low incomes, in particular the extension of childcare to disadvantaged two year olds and the Pupil Premium will benefit young people with disabilities, who are over-represented in the target groups for these policies. The confirmed increase in funding for short breaks for disabled children will also help to improve the quality of life for children and young people with disabilities and their families.
2.18 In order to protect these areas, savings have needed to be made in other areas of Government spending. Some people with a disability will be affected by the time limit for contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). However, this will be mitigated for the most severely disabled and those on low incomes as the Support Group in ESA and Income Related ESA will not be subject to the time limit.
Section 2 What is an Equality Impact Assessment?
Carrying out an EIA involves systematically assessing the likely (or actual) effects of policies on people in respect of disability, gender and racial equality, and, where authorities choose, wider equality areas.This includes looking for opportunities to promote equality that have previously been missed or could be better used, as well as negative or adverse impacts that can be removed or mitigated, where possible. If any negative or adverse impacts amount to unlawful discrimination, they must be removed.
An EIA has four possible outcomes (examples can be found in Section 4). More than one may apply to a single policy:
Outcome 1: No major change: the EIA demonstrates the policy is robust and there is no potential for discrimination or adverse impact. All opportunities to promote equality have been taken.
Outcome 2: Adjust the policy: the EIA identifies potential problems or missed opportunities. Adjust the policy to remove barriers or better promote equality.
Outcome 3: Continue the policy: the EIA identifies the potential for adverse impact or missed opportunities to promote equality. Clearly set out the justifications for continuing with it. The justification should be included in the EIA and must be in line with the duty to have due regard. For the most important relevant policies, compelling reasons will be needed.
Outcome 4: Stop and remove the policy: the policy shows actual or potential unlawful discrimination. It must be stopped and removed or changed (the codes of practice and guidance on each of the public sector duties on the Commission’s website provide information about what constitutes unlawful discrimination).
Why impact assess?
The simple answer is that for many it is a legal requirement. But more importantly, it is an effective way of improving policy development and service delivery, making sure that organisations consider the needs of their communities, identify potential steps to promote equality and don’t discriminate. It enables evidence-based policymaking, which is at the core of modern public policy, and can allow efficiency savings through more effective services.