Equality Impact Assessment



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Equality Impact Assessment




Title of service or policy

Nationality Checking


Name of directorate and service





Legal and Democratic Services/Register Office


Name and role of officers completing the EIA


Cindy Aze Deputy Superintendent Registrar

Date of assessment





January 2010

An Equality Impact Assessment is a process of systematically analysing a new or existing policy or service to identify what impact or likely impact it will have on different groups within the community.  The primary concern is to identify any discriminatory or negative consequences for a particular group or sector of the community.  Equality impact Assessments (EIAs) can be carried out in relation to service delivery as well as employment policies and strategies.

This toolkit has been developed to use as a framework when conducting an Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) on a policy, service or function. It is intended that this is used as a working document throughout the EIA process, with a final version including the action plan section being published on the Council’s and NHS Bath and North East Somerset’s websites.


1.


Identify the aims of the policy or service and how it is implemented.





Key questions

Answers / Notes

1.1

Briefly describe purpose of the service/policy including

  • How the service/policy is delivered and by whom

  • If responsibility for its implementation is shared with other departments or organisations

  • Intended outcomes

The Nationality Checking Service is a partnership between Nationality group and Local Authorities in England and Wales. It is designed to increase the proportion of correctly completed applications submitted to Nationality Group.

While Local Authorities are responsible for carrying out the Citizenship Ceremonies it is the Home office who considers applications for Citizenship and grants Citizenship.

NCS is aimed at people wishing to apply for British Citizenship and is intended to increase the proportion of applications received by the UK border agency, which may be completed without further enquiry. The NCS scheme is available for all people eligible for citizenship regardless of Gender, Race, Sexuality and ethnicity, Faith or Age.

The service is delivered every day except Fridays 9 am to 4 pm. Each appointment can take up to an hour. We have 3 full time members of staff and 4 part time staff who are qualified to deal with NCS.



1.2

Provide brief details of the scope of the policy or service being reviewed, for example:

  • Is it a new service/policy or review of an existing one?

  • Is it a national requirement?).

  • How much room for review is there?

This is a new policy and a new service that has recently been introduced to the register Office. As stated previously, it is designed to assist Nationality group with the checking of documentation.

There is no room for review as all processes are governed by the Home Office.



Any person who provides immigration advice or services in the UK has to be regulated by the OISC, except where an exemption applies. All advisers are required to display their certificates of registration or exemption. However, each Local Authority sets its own fees for NCS appointments to cover the cost of administration.


1.3

Do the aims of this policy link to or conflict with any other policies of the Council?

Offering a Nationality Checking Service reinforces the Council’s commitment to equalities by offering a first class checking service to those people in the community who have a limited understanding of the English Language. It aims to forge relationships as most clients who are involved in NCS will then return for their Citizenship Ceremony.


2. Consideration of available data, research and information



Monitoring data and other information can help you analyse whether you are delivering a fair and equal service. Please consider the availability of the following as potential evidence:


  • Demographic data and other statistics, including census findings

  • Recent research findings

  • Results from recent consultation or surveys

  • Service user monitoring data (including ethnicity, gender, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation and age)

  • Information from relevant groups or agencies, for example trade unions and voluntary and community organisations

  • Analysis of records of enquiries about your service, or complaints or compliments about them

  • Recommendations of external inspections or audit reports








Key questions



Data, research and information that you can refer to

2.1

What is the equalities profile of the team delivering the service/policy?

The Register Office is a front line service delivering high standards of Birth Death and Marriage registrations for the community. We also provide Citizenship Ceremonies and a Nationality Checking Service for those who are applying for British Citizenship. The team comprises of 5 full time members of staff 11 part time members of staff and 17 casual members of staff. We have 3 male members of staff. There are no ethnic minorities in our team at present. The Register Office will come into contact with the majority of the BANES community through a life event. It is to this end that we ensure that we deliver a high class service to all of its residents and guests regardless of Gender, Age, Religion, Disability or Sexual Orientation.

2.2

What equalities training have staff received?

The office of the Immigration services Commissioner (OISC) is responsible for regulating immigration advisers. Local Authorities participating in the NCS scheme are deemed to be immigration advisers by the OISC and must register for that purpose. They may not offer the service until the registration process is complete and the application approved. Any person who provides immigration advice or services in the UK has to be regulated by the OISC, except where an exemption applies. All advisors are required to display their certificates of registration for exemption. Most of the team have undergone the initial corporate induction. We also have a member of staff who has recently undergone the disability awareness course and is in charge of training staff on the hearing loop system.

2.3

What is the equalities profile of people using the service?

The Register Office deal with all six strands. However, in terms of this EIA, it is predominantly dealing with issues of Race and Religion.

2.4

What other data do you have in terms of service users or staff? (e.g. results of customer satisfaction surveys, results of previous consultations)

Nothing available at present with regards to NCS. Customer comments cards are available for our clients to comment on the level of Service that they have received. Our Citizenship ceremonies have increased in BANES since the introduction of the NCS scheme. We received 581 applications for NCS since February 2009, to this EIA in January 2010. In 2008, we had 86 people have their Citizenship Ceremony in Bath and in 2009 this rose to 201 people.

2.5

Are there any gaps in the data, research or information that is available?

Nothing Identified

2.6

If you are planning to undertake any consultation in the future regarding this service or policy, how will you include equalities considerations within this?

Our main issue with regards to NCS is the language barrier that is faced on booking appointments. The booking of an appointment can take as long as twenty five minutes which can cause a drain on staff resources when dealing with other areas within the Register Office. There is an on line booking facility which can be set up, but due to the importance of having all of the relevant documentation to carry out the interview and the fee involved, the booking must be made over the telephone with a member of staff. This situation is consistently reviewed and the staff are supported where necessary.

3. Assessment of impact





Based upon any data you have analysed, or the results of consultation or research, use the spaces below to list how the service or policy:

  • Meets any particular needs of each of the six equalities groups or helps promote equality in some way.

  • Could have a negative or adverse impact for each of the six equalities groups








Examples of what the service has done to promote equality


Examples of potential negative or adverse impact and what steps have been or could be taken to address this

3.1

Gender – identify the impact/potential impact of the policy on women, men and transgender people

We are progressing towards developing a relationship with the Muslim women’s group at Baths Islamic Society which will, in time help us to identify any areas within registration which will assist this user group.



There is a policy in place with the Citizenship EIA where a female wants to keep her burka on. This situation has not yet happened.



3.2

Disability - identify the impact/potential impact of the policy on disabled people (ensure consideration of a range of impairments including both physical and mental impairments)



Hearing Loop System is on hand should we receive an applicant who cannot hear. There is disabled access into the Guildhall with the doorways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.

Noting identified

3.3

Age – identify the impact/potential impact of the policy on different age groups


Nothing Identified

Nothing Identified

3.4

Race – identify the impact/potential impact on different black and minority ethnic groups


Nationality Checking Service assists the registration Office in the pronunciation of names and socio – cultural sensitivities which may need to be highlighted for Citizenship ceremonies.

Staff have difficulty in understanding broken English on the telephone when clients are making appointments. This drains staff resources as a telephone call has the potential to take up to 25 minutes at a time.

3.5

Sexual orientation - identify the impact/potential impact of the policy on

lesbians, gay, bisexual & heterosexual people





Nothing Identified

Nothing Identified








Examples of what the service has done to promote equality


Examples of potential negative or adverse impact and what steps have been or could be taken to address this

3.6

Religion/belief – identify the impact/potential impact of the policy on people of different religious/faith groups and also upon those with no religion.


Muslim women have the option to remain covered if they wish

Policy is in place if this situation occurs during a Citizenship Ceremony but has yet to occur.

3.7

Socio-economically disadvantaged – identify the impact on people who are disadvantaged due to factors like family background, educational attainment, neighbourhood, employment status can influence life chances


Nothing Identified

Nothing Identified

3.8

Rural communities – identify the impact / potential impact on people living in rural communities


Nothing Identified

Nothing Identified


4. Bath and North East Somerset Council & NHS B&NES

Equality Impact Assessment Improvement Plan
Please list actions that you plan to take as a result of this assessment. These actions should be based upon the analysis of data, any gaps in the data you have identified, and any steps you will be taking to address any negative impacts or remove barriers. The actions need to be built into your service planning framework. Actions/targets should be measurable, achievable, realistic and time framed.


Issues identified

Actions required

Progress milestones

Officer responsible

By when

Female Muslims women may want to wear their headgear during appointments. As we need to check the identity of the person against their passport we may have to see them individually to check their identity before the interview takes place.



This has not been highlighted on our website at present.

Have the option of wearing female headgear put on our website under Nationality Checking and Citizenship Ceremonies.




C Aze

August 2010

Staff have difficulty in understanding broken English on the telephone when clients are making appointments. This drains staff resources as a telephone call has the potential to take up to 25 minutes at a time.



Further support for staff when needed and reinforcement of prioritization of work load.




C Aze

No date needed. Continually assessed.





























5. Sign off and publishing
Once you have completed this form, it needs to be ‘approved’ by your Divisional Director or their nominated officer. Following this sign off, send a copy to the Equalities Team (equality@bathnes.gov.uk), who will publish it on the Council’s and/or NHS B&NES’ website. Keep a copy for your own records.
Signed off by: Vernon Hitchman (Divisional Director or nominated senior officer)

Date: 14th April 2010


Page of Bath and North East Somerset Council and NHS B&NES: Equality Impact Assessment Toolkit


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