10 Good Practice Building Blocks for Assessing Impact on Equality and Human Rights

Making outcomes real through evidence based decision making

The 10 Good Practice Building Blocks set out here are designed to assist public authorities and those carrying out public functions in Scotland to undertake equality and human rights impact assessments (EQHRIAs) that will lead to better outcomes for the individuals and communities they serve.

“I think across the full range of services that we provide we need to address human rights and equalities thoroughly, early and in a meaningful way so we avoid unintended consequences, comply with the law and, importantly, we just provide better outcomes for people." David Martin, Chief Executive, Renfrewshire Council.

The building blocks were developed by experts who have undertaken and advised on EQHRIAs in a wide range of policy areas all over the world. They were then tested and revised as a result of the pilot studies that took place in Fife and Renfrewshire. For more details of the pilot see the reports and click here for specific examples of the human rights issues identified.

The building blocks are designed for use by a wide range of organisations and are key to ensuring that organisations undertake robust and meaningful impact assessments that have a positive effect on policy outcomes. The building blocks do not provide a methodology for assessing impact, which is the responsibility of each organisation to develop, taking into account their own individual policy context. But any organisation that is developing or revising its EQHRIA methodology may wish to take into account the building blocks set out below alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission non-statutory guidance for public authorities in Scotland on Assessing Impact and the public sector equality duty.

The building blocks are divided into organisational and process elements.

Organisational building blocks - These are the key steps that need to be taken by senior management in any organisation to create an environment which will encourage and facilitate EQHRIAs that have a positive impact on policy outcomes.

Process building blocks - These relate to the EQHRIA process itself and are the core elements that need to be undertaken in any individual EQHRIA. The process elements can be organised and understood according to the Scottish Human Rights Commission’s FAIR Framework which can assist in bringing a rights based approach to decision making.

Organisational building blocks

1- Senior Level Commitment and Engagement

2- Timing and Capacity to Influence Decisions

3- Staff, Training and Resources

Process building blocks

4- Understanding the legal basis of EQHRIA

5- Deciding What to Assess and the Scope of the Assessment Process

6- Evidence to Support Assessments

7- Involvement of Communities

8- Assessing Combined Impacts

9- Conclusions and Recommendations

10- Transparency and Review