Building block 9: Conclusions and Recommendations

Assessments should include clear conclusions, recommendations for action and identification of the person or persons responsible for taking that action.


  • Why is applying the results of assessments important?

The business case

 Clear conclusions and recommendations for action are vital if EQHRIAs are to lead to better policy outcomes.

Reflections on recommendations for action in impact assessment from pilot:

“The impact assessment on the review of advice services certainly did identify potential impacts for equalities and human rights. And our impact assessment team went onto identify, I suppose you could call them, recommendations for action so that we could mitigate potential or actual impacts.”

“I think applying the results of impact assessment is important especially for advice services. Advice services are about making sure that people are aware of their rights and responsibilities. Ultimately it’s about raising the quality of life for vulnerable people, groups and communities. So the equality and human rights ethos sits well with the advice services’ ethos.”

“Our impact assessment day brought together a range of services with a different set of perspectives……It was good to bring together a range of perspectives because you could tease out what those impacts might be and what you might be able to do for it.”

“Reflections would be that you embed equality and human rights in your project work so whether that’s about a service or a policy, you take it alongside developing that service or policy so that when you have some recommendations the actions are there to be taken forward.”

Pamela Rennie, Senior Policy Officer, Renfrewshire Council


The legal case

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 requires listed authorities, where and to the extent necessary to fulfil the equality duty, to assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.

Authorities are required to take account of the results of an assessment in the development of a new or revised policy or practice and where an assessment has been made and the policy implemented, the results of any assessment are required to be published 'within a reasonable period'.

  • What are the practical considerations?

There are five types of conclusions and recommendations that can be reached:

  1. No negative human rights or equality impact found (or a positive impact identified) and therefore no recommendations required;

  2. A negative human rights and/or equality impact has been found and a recommendation is made to change the policy or bring in additional measures to remove or mitigate the negative impact or to better advance equality or to foster good relations;

  3. A negative human rights and/or equality impact has been found and a recommendation is made to stop/remove the policy;

  4. A negative human rights and/or equality impact has been found but there is no recommendation to change the policy as a result. Where negative human rights and/or equality impacts are identified then failure to recommend any action as a result should be fully explained and justified;

  5. It has been impossible to ascertain (some of) the impacts of the policy in question because of insufficient evidence. Where this is the case, a precise plan should be provided for how and over what timescale this evidence will be collected to allow conclusions and recommendations to be made. 


The following points are particularly important for ensuring that conclusions and recommendations are acted upon:

  • The conclusions of the impact assessment, including the (potential) severity of the human rights and/or equality impact should be clearly stated.  

  • Where action is required, the person or persons who will implement the recommendations should be identified, as well as the fact that they have been notified of the need for the change and the timescale within which this change will occur.

  • Where recommendations can only be acted upon if they are approved by another decision-maker or decision-making body (e.g. a finance committee, elected members of a local authority etc.), then recommendations should clearly set out the process by which that will occur (in accordance with Building Block 2 above).

Recommendations should also be made for any further monitoring that is required to assess the on going impacts of the policy in question (see Building Block 10 for further details on monitoring and review). 

Pilot practice examples

Example recommendations for action in the practice pilot included the following:

  • In the Fife Council practice pilot on welfare reform and lone parents evidence was presented relating to lone parents living in inadequate and sub-standard accommodation which cannot be maintained or heated due to lack of resources and literacy levels, privacy issues and inadequate childcare provision acting as barriers to people being able to complete job and benefit applications. This led to recommendations around better information sharing for frontline staff to improve support for affected lone parents as well as local support to help people complete information online and in private, with support to access affordable childcare.

  • In the Renfrewshire Council practice pilot on the delivery of advice service proposals evidence was presented relating to the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, as it was recognised that advice services regularly deal with individuals who are vulnerable and may be struggling to cope and contemplating suicide or pose a risk to others. As a result it was identified that good practice regarding the protection of vulnerable adults must be maintained in changes to advice service provision.  It was recommended that specific requirements are incorporated into service specifications in commissioning and procurement of services, and that provision is monitored so as not to lose good practice/delivery already in place. It was further identified that training, support and capacity building of service users and third sector delivery partners should be monitored. 

For full reports of the practice pilots and recommendations made see here and the Added Value of Human Rights for a summary of human rights impacts and recommendations.