Acas (the UK advisory, conciliation and arbitration service) describes an equality impact assessment (EIA) as “a practical tool to identify discrimination.” Its managers’ guide to EIAs describes how carrying out an EIA can identify and reduce unintended discrimination and promote equality by removing barriers and improving participation.
Yet all too often an equality impact assessment ends up being a bureaucratic, box-ticking exercise that doesn’t lead to any change. A quick google search just took me to newspaper articles decrying the waste of tax payers’ money on bureaucratic nonsense and box ticking along with government briefing papers and Local Authority guidance documents which aim to ensure that EIAs are not just about ticking boxes.
So the danger that carrying out an equality impact assessment won’t actually lead to improved services and reduced inequalities is well recognised but, in my experience at least, support to actually do EIAs better is a bit thin on the ground.
That’s why we’ve just produced a briefing paper on how thinking about an equality impact assessment as a process of gathering together what we know to:
- Describe an inequality
- Understand why the inequality has happened
- Prescribe action to tackle that inequality.
The briefing paper shows how our Evidence and Ethnicity in Commissioning knowledge mobilisation tools can help to generate knowledge not only to describe an inequality but also to understand it and to identify effective interventions. They can also help to ensure an appropriate range of stakeholders are involved.
Do have a look at the briefing paper and if you’re interested in discussing anything in it and in learning with me about how to better move knowledge about ethnicity and health to action, please join my new Community-of-Practice