We have considerable experience working within the equalities field, helping our clients to deliver better outcomes for all end-users through equality analysis, impact assessments, accessibility advice and project delivery support. Our objective is to assist our clients in meeting their statutory requirements, identifying ways in which they can maximise benefits for communities and best meet the needs of potentially vulnerable groups.
Aside from meeting legal responsibilities, conducting equality analysis can have significant benefits for all public and private sector bodies, it forms an important part of programme and project risk management. Prior to the delivery phase, it can help to avoid potential pitfalls that typically occur later on in the development process. We work in a variety of sectors with a range of clients and help them to build equality seamlessly into their activities by helping them to:
- Ensure that services are delivered in a fair and equal way and do not impact negatively upon different communities, especially those who typically experience social exclusion or socio-economic disadvantage.
- Carefully study proposals through different perspectives and, where possible, refine them to eliminate or minimise any adverse effects and maximise the equality of outcomes.
- Identify and quantify any positive impacts, thereby helping to promote the project, policy or programme.
- Win support and secure buy-in for and ownership of the proposals by involving and consulting with local people and stakeholders from the outset.
- Reduce the potential for challenge by communities, their representatives or public sector bodies, minimising commercial and reputation risks and preventing timetable delays.
IncludE, the Inclusion Diversity and Equality tool
Designed by our equality specialists and developed using accepted best practice, IncluDE considers actual or likely positive and negative impacts of policies and projects on equality, diversity and social inclusion. It focuses particularly on people with characteristics protected under the 2010 Equality Act. A flexible and robust tool, it approaches equality considerations systematically to help decision makers evidence the ways in which equality issues have been considered in project development.
- Equality policy, research and analysis
- Geographical information systems, mapping the distribution of equality groups
- In-depth consultation with key equality stakeholders and representatives
- Focus groups with members of equality and other vulnerable groups
- Action planning and policy advice
Our track record
Access to the Strategic Road Network – We undertook a long-term project to assist Highways England with ensuring its existing infrastructure was compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act. This involved a national programme of strategic consultation with disability organisations to identify their priorities for short-and long-term improvement to the highways network. We also wrote a publication on behalf of Highways England to communicate accessibility improvements and undertook an EqIA to ensure that the programme could also realise benefits for vulnerable groups.
Equality assessments of the 2014-2020 European Territorial Cohesion Fund Programmes for England and Wales – We were commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in England to undertake the equality assessment of the £6bn European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme. In Wales we delivered the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) a full package of Equality Impact Assessments for the ERDF, European Social Fund (ESF), Rural Development Programme (RDP), and Ireland-Wales Territorial Co-operation (INTERREG) programmes. Using IncluDE, we assessed the programmes and developed a number of detailed recommendations for their implementation to maximise opportunities to enhance equality within each one.
Investigating the gender impacts of infrastructure development – We evaluated the impacts of major infrastructure projects for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on gender equality in developing countries around the world across six sectors: health, power, transport, water and waste, agriculture and industry. The project incorporated extensive sector-by-sector, cross cutting research and analysis, through which we have developed an impact forecasting tool to help the client group quantify the likely number of female beneficiaries of large scale infrastructure developments.
Equality Statements for the ‘Shaping a healthier future’ programme – We developed and delivered equality statements for seven hospitals in North West London (NWL) to support their outline business cases as they moved forward with NWL’s ‘Shaping a healthier future’ reconfiguration proposals. By understanding those groups most likely to be affected and developing appropriate recommendations with input from the hospital trusts, we were able to support them on addressing the needs of equality groups now and in the future.
An equality, diversity and inclusion sifting tool (EDIT) – We designed and developed a tool to help Highways England target resources at projects most likely to deliver equality, diversity and inclusion benefits to road users. EDIT includes an equality ‘hotspot’ mapping tool which allows users to identify where equality challenges are most likely to arise, make evidence-based and informed decisions about their scheme and support the consideration of equality issues.
Integrated impact assessment (IIA) of the future of acute services – We were asked by the three NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Worcestershire, UK, to conduct an IIA of NHS Worcestershire’s proposals to reconfigure the way in which they deliver accident and emergency, maternity and planned care services across the county. Our work was delivered according to our tailored methodology, focused specifically on acute care reconfigurations. The assessment incorporated demographic and patient activity analysis; primary research through patient surveys, stakeholder consultation and GIS analysis. This enabled us to assess potential impacts on health consultation, travel and access and patient experience for each protected characteristic group.