Terms of Reference:
Operating as any panel, The Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel does not need to be politically balanced or made up of only Cabinet members. The Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel has no formal decision-making powers and may include any member of the Council (such as Deputy Cabinet Members or Champions), officers, stakeholders, etc.
Meetings of the Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel will be held in private in order to enable early collective discussions on a wide range of options and issues (within the identified scope of responsibilities).
Equality impact assessments and other reports presented to the Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel will be published. Further, and accordingly, the provisions of the Access to Information Procedure Rules and of the Cabinet Procedure Rules (Part 3 of the Council’s Constitution) shall not apply unless expressly indicated to the contrary.
The Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel operates within the council’s wider corporate governance framework. It formally reports to the Chief Executive who is empowered to refer issues to either the Cabinet (all policies except staffing ones) or Corporate Committee (staffing policies only) as appropriate. This power may, in turn, be delegated to a Strategic Director or Director.
Strategic Directors oversee delivery of actions and recommendations from the Panel.
The Equality Act places a statutory requirement on public authorities to adhere to the three aims of the equality duty:
i. eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act;
ii. advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and,
iii. foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
The protected characteristics covered by the Equality Duty are:
iii. gender reassignment;
iv. marriage and civil partnership (but only in respect of eliminating unlawful discrimination);
v. pregnancy and maternity;
vi. race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality;
vii. religion or belief – this includes lack of belief;
viii. sex; and,
ix. sexual orientation.
Although not covered in law, the Council has committed to also consider socio-economic issues as a further equality strand.
Within this context, the Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel will manage and steer the equality impact assessment process across the Council by:
a. undertaking independent reviews of the equality impact assessments carried out in relation to key council policies and changes in policy;
b. providing advice and recommendations on equality issues relating to the effectiveness of policies and changes in policy arising out of the individual review;
c. reviewing general and specific arrangements for equality impact assessments across the council;
d. reviewing annual service and financial plans to help minimise risk and maximise opportunities to strengthen work to promote equality; and,
e. monitoring key mitigating actions agreed to address any identified potential negative or positive impact of proposed and reviewed policies.
The Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel will be chaired by the Cabinet Member with responsibility for equality and/or cohesion. The core Panel members will be a mixture of elected members, partnership representatives, voluntary sector and community representatives and Council officers. The panel member composition is as follows:
Experts with specialist skills or knowledge will be invited to attend panel meetings as and when a specific need is identified.
The Panel will meet at least 10 times during the financial year, April to March. The Forward Plan of meetings will be agreed and published in April. Panel meetings will be serviced by the Policy and Communications Division (Strategy and Equalities).
At each meeting the Panel will review three to four policies or Equality Impact Assessments. The selection criteria are based upon the scale and scope of the impact the policies might have on equalities groups, socio economic factors and human rights. These will be policies that have been identified as having a high or medium relevance to promote equality and community cohesion, and eliminate discrimination. All proposals going on to Cabinet for decision will need to have been subject to an Equality Impact Assessment and considered by the Corporate EIA panel.
The outcome of the review meeting and recommendations will be recorded and submitted to the responsible Strategic Director and lead officer for action. An update period will be agreed to consider progress of any agreed actions.
All papers relating to the EIA process will be retained in line with the Council’s record management policy and statutory equality requirements.
Full details of the Council’s equality impact assessment process can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
All members of the Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel must attend equality impact assessment training. A programme of regular training sessions will be provided with the aim of ensuring that no member of the Corporate Equality Impact Assessment Panel attends the meeting without having had the benefit of appropriate training.
 This includes all business activities such as strategies, functions, procedures, practices, decisions, procurement, commissioning, workforce change, and projects.