Policing and Community Safety Partnership

PCSP Equality Scheme

Mid and East Antrim
Policing and Community Safety Partnership

Equality Scheme

Drawn up in accordance with Section 75 and Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998

This document is available in a range of formats on request. Please contact us with your requirements.

Approved by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

Foreword

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Act) requires public authorities, in carrying out their functions relating to Northern Ireland, to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and regard to the desirability of promoting good relations across a range of categories outlined in the Act.

In our Equality Scheme we set out how Mid and East Antrim PCSP commits to fulfilling all of its Section 75 statutory duties. MEA PCSP also commits to delivering all aspects of the Equality scheme aligned to the ECNI model equality scheme.

We will commit all resources necessary in terms of people, time and money to make sure that the Section 75 statutory duties are complied with and that the Equality Scheme is implemented effectively, and on time.

We commit to having effective internal arrangements in place for ensuring our effective compliance with the Section 75 statutory duties and for monitoring and reviewing our progress.

We will develop and deliver a programme of communication and training with the aim of ensuring that all our staff and board members are made fully aware of our Equality Scheme and understand the commitments and obligations within it. We will develop a programme of awareness raising for our consultees on the Section 75 statutory duties and our commitments in our Equality Scheme.
We, the Chairperson and Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim PCSP / Borough Council are fully committed to effectively fulfilling our Section 75 statutory duties across all our functions (including service provision, employment and procurement) through the effective implementation of our Equality Scheme.

We realise the important role that the community and voluntary sector and the general public have to play to ensure the Section 75 statutory duties are effectively implemented. Our Equality Scheme demonstrates how determined we are to ensure there are opportunities, for people affected by our work, to positively influence how we carry out our functions in line with our Section 75 statutory duties. It also offers the means whereby persons directly affected by what they consider to be a failure, on our part, to comply with our Equality Scheme, can make complaints.

On behalf of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership and our staff we are pleased to support and endorse this Equality Scheme which has been drawn up in accordance with Section 75 and Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Equality Commission guidelines.

If you would like a hard copy or the Action Plan in an alternative format, please contact:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2826 2459
Email: pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

1 Introduction

Policing and Community Safety Partnerships were established as statutory bodies on the 1st April 2012 as a result of legislation contained in the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. PCSPs aim to make communities safer.

The PCSPs brought together the functions and responsibilities of District Policing Partnerships (DPPs) and Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs). The new PCSPs built on the work that has already been taken forward by the local DPP and CSP. These new partnerships worked in a more joined up way to make communities safer.

The Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Policing Board jointly fund PCSPs.

There are 11 PCSPs, one for each council area. Belfast has one Belfast PCSP and four District Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (DPCSPs) covering the North, South, East and West area commands.

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998

1.1 Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Act) requires Mid and East Antrim PCSP to comply with two statutory duties:

Section 75 (1)
In carrying out our functions relating to Northern Ireland we are required to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity between

  • persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation
  • men and women generally
  • persons with a disability and persons without
  • Persons with dependents and persons without.

Section 75 (2)
In addition, without prejudice to the obligations above, in carrying out our functions in relation to Northern Ireland we are required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.

“Functions” include the “powers and duties” of a public authority. This includes our employment and procurement functions.

Please see below under “Who we are and what we do” for a detailed explanation of our functions.

How we propose to fulfil the Section 75 duties in relation to the relevant functions of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership

1.2 Schedule 9 4. (1) of the Act requires Mid and East Policing and Community Safety Partnership as a designated public authority to set out in an Equality Scheme how it proposes to fulfil the duties imposed by Section 75 in relation to its relevant functions. This Equality Scheme is intended to fulfil that statutory requirement. It is both a statement of our arrangements for fulfilling the Section 75 statutory duties and our plan for their implementation.

1.3 Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership is committed to the discharge of its Section 75 obligations in all parts of our organisation and we will commit the necessary resources in terms of people, time and money to ensure that the Section 75 statutory duties are complied with and that our Equality Scheme can be implemented effectively.

Who we are? What we do?

The Policing and Community Safety Partnership undertakes a wide range of routine activities on an on-going basis. Most of these are statutory in nature but others have come to be expected by Members and citizens alike through custom and practice. On 1 April 2012 – Policing and Community Safety Partnerships PCSPs) were established through the legislation of the Justice Act (NI) 2011. PCSPS were reconstituted in June 2015 following the Reform of Local Government in Northern Ireland.

The work of Policing and Community Safety Partnerships is overseen by the Joint Committee. This is a group made up of representatives from Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB)

The functions of PCSPs as laid out in Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 Part 3 and Schedule 1 outlines the functions of a PCSP are as follows:

21 – (1) The functions of a PCSP shall be-

(a) To provide views to a relevant district commander and to the Policing Board on any matter concerning the policing of the District

(b) To monitor the performance of the police in carrying out

The policing plan in relation to the district; and
The local policing plan applying to the district or any part of the district

(c) To make arrangements for obtaining the co-operation of the public with the police in preventing crime and enhancing community safety in the District.

(d) To make arrangements for obtaining the views of the public about matters concerning the policing of the district and enhancing Community safety in the district and to consider fully any views obtained.

(e) To act as a general forum for discussion and consultation on matters affecting the policing of the District and enhancing community safety in the District.

(f) To prepare plans for reducing crime and enhancing community safety in the District

(g) To identify targets or other indicators by reference to which it can assess the extent to which those issues are addressed by action taken in accordance with any such plans.

(h) To provide any such financial or other support as it considers appropriate to persons involved in ventures designed to reduce crime or enhance community safety in the district, and

(i) Such other functions as are conferred on it by any other statutory provision.

(2) The functions of a PCSP mentioned in subsection (1)(a) (b) and (c)

Are referred to in this part as its “restricted functions” and
Must be exercised, on behalf of the PCSP, by the Policing Committee of the PCSP.

(3) References, in this section to enhancing community safety in any district are to make the district one in which it is, and is perceived to be, safer to live and work, in particular by the reduction of actual and perceived levels of crime and other anti-social behaviour.

Employment and Procurement functions

(4) Staff of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership are employed by, and therefore are responsible to, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and benefit from and are subject to all the Council’s employment policies.

(5) Any goods and services required by Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership are subject to a procurement process and all Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s procurement policies.

2 Our arrangements for assessing our compliance with the section 75 duties (Schedule 9 4. (2) (a))

2.1 Some of our arrangements for assessing our compliance with the Section 75 statutory duties are outlined in other relevant parts of this equality scheme. Consultation is in Chapter 3, monitoring arrangements, assessment of impact of policies and publication arrangements in Chapter 4, staff training in Chapter 5, access to information in Chapter 6, the PCSP complaints procedure in Chapter 8, and publication and Review of our Equality Scheme in Chapters 9 and 10.

Consultation 3
Monitoring arrangements
Assessment of impact of policies
Publication arrangements
4
Staff training 5
Access to Information 6
Complaints Procedure 8
Publication and review of Council’s Equality Scheme 10

In addition we have the following arrangements in place for assessing our compliance:

Responsibilities and reporting

2.2 We are committed to the fulfilment of our Section 75 obligations in all parts of our work.

2.3 Responsibility for the effective implementation of our Equality Scheme lies with the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive is accountable to Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership for the development, implementation, maintenance and review of the Equality Scheme in accordance with Section 75 and Schedule 9 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, including any good practice or guidance that has been or may be issued by the Equality Commission.

2.4 If you have any questions or comments regarding our Equality Scheme, please contact in the first instance

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2826 2459
Email: pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

2.5 Objectives and targets relating to the statutory duties will be integrated into our strategic and operational business plans3.

2.6 Employees’ job descriptions and performance plans reflect their contributions to the discharge of the Section 75 statutory duties and implementation of the Equality Scheme, where relevant. The personal performance plans are subject to appraisal in the annual performance review.

2.7 Mid and East Antrim PCSP prepares an annual report on the progress we have made on implementing the arrangements set out in this Equality Scheme to discharge our Section 75 statutory duties (Section 75 annual progress report).

The Section 75 annual progress report will be presented to Mid and East Antrim Council and MEA PCSP before being sent to the Equality Commission by 31 August each year and will follow any guidance on annual reporting issued by the Equality Commission.
Progress on the delivery of Section 75 statutory duties will also be included in our (organisational) annual report.

2.8 The Section 75 annual progress report will be made available on our website This progress report can be obtained from the Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) in alternative formats and it can also be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Or by contacting:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2826 2459
Email: pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

2.9 Mid and East Antrim PCSP liaise closely with the Equality Commission to ensure that progress on the implementation of our Equality Scheme is maintained.

2.10 The PCSP will mainstream Section 75 across all PCSP service areas. All policies, new or revised, will be screened to ensure compliance with this Equality Scheme.

Action plan/action measures

2.11 Mid and East Antrim PCSP will develop an action plan to promote equality of opportunity and good relations. This action plan will be set out in Appendix 6 to this Equality Scheme.

2.12 The action measures that will make up our action plan will be relevant to our functions. They will be developed and prioritised on the basis of an audit of inequalities. The audit of inequalities will gather and analyse information across the Section 75 categories4 to identify the inequalities that exist for our service users and those affected by our policies5.

2.12aThe audit of equalities will be continually reviewed as a living document and where through consultation or information received MEA PCSP commit to commission new research where gaps have been identified in provision of service. New evidence or data received will be actioned in and implemented in a timely manner.

2.13 Action measures will be specific, measurable, linked to achievable outcomes, realistic and time bound. Action measures will include performance indicators and timescales for their achievement.

2.14 We will develop any action plans for a period of between one and five years in order to align them with our corporate and business planning cycles. Implementation of the action measures will be incorporated into our business planning process.

2.15 We will seek input from our stakeholders and consult on our action plan before we send it to the Equality Commission and thereafter when reviewing the plan as per 2.16 below.

2.16 We will monitor our progress on the delivery of our action measures annually and update the action plan as necessary to ensure that it remains effective and relevant to our functions and work.

2.17 Mid and East Antrim PCSP will inform the Commission of any changes or amendments to our action plan and will also include this information in our Section 75 annual progress report to the Commission. Our Section 75 annual progress report will incorporate information on progress we have made in implementing our action plans/action measures.

2.18 Once finalised the MEA PCSP Action Plan each year 2016 – 2017 and 2017 - 2018 will be available from the Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) in alternative formats.

Pending approval MEA PCSP action plans will be published on their own social media pages as well as the Department of Justice and Northern Ireland Policing Boards websites.

If you would like a hard copy of the Action Plan or to request in an alternative format, please contact:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2826 2459
Email: pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

3 Our arrangements for consulting

(Schedule 9 4. (2) (A)) - on matters to which a duty (S75 (1) or (2)) is likely to be relevant (including details of the persons to be consulted).

(Schedule 9 4. (2) (B)) on the likely impact of policies adopted or proposed to be adopted by us on the promotion of equality of opportunity.

3.1 We recognise the importance of consultation in all aspects of the implementation of our statutory equality duties. We will consult on our equality scheme, action measures, equality impact assessments and other matters relevant to the Section 75 statutory duties.

3.2 We are committed to carrying out consultation in accordance with the following principles (as contained in the Equality Commission’s guidance ‘Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 – A Guide for Public Authorities (April 2010)’):

3.2.1 All consultations will seek the views of those directly affected by the matter/policy, the Equality Commission, representative groups of Section 75 categories, other public authorities, voluntary and community groups, our staff and their trade unions and such other groups who have a legitimate interest in the matter, whether or not they have a direct economic or personal interest.

Initially all consultees (see Appendix 3), as a matter of course, will be notified (by email or post) of the matter/policy being consulted upon to ensure they are aware of all consultations. Thereafter, to ensure the most effective use of our and our consultees ‘resources, we will take a targeted approach to consultation for those consultees that may have a particular interest in the matter/policy being consulted upon and to whom the matter/policy is of particular relevance. This may include for example regional or local consultations, sectoral or thematic consultation etc.

3.2.2 Consultation with all stakeholders will begin as early as possible. We will engage with affected individuals and representative groups to identify how best to consult or engage with them. We will ask our consultees what their preferred consultation methods are and will give consideration to these. Methods of consultation could include:

Face-to-face meetings
Focus groups
Written documents with the opportunity to comment in writing
Questionnaires
Internet • Internet discussions
Telephone consultations.
Information/notification by email with an opportunity to opt in/opt out of the consultation

This list is not exhaustive and we may develop other additional methods of consultation more appropriate to key stakeholders and the matter being consulted upon.

3.2.3 We will consider the accessibility and format of every method of consultation we use in order to remove barriers to the consultation process. Specific consideration will be given as to how best to communicate with children and young people, people with disabilities (in particular people with learning disabilities) and minority ethnic communities. We take account of existing and developing good practice, including the Equality Commission’s guidance Let’s Talk Let’s Listen – Guidance for public authorities on consulting and involving children and young people (2008).

Information will be made available, on request, in alternative formats in a timely manner usually within a seven day period. We will ensure that such consultees have equal time to respond.

3.2.4 Specific training is provided to those facilitating consultations to ensure that they have the necessary skills to communicate effectively with consultees.

3.2.5 To ensure effective consultation with consultees6 on Section 75 matters, we will develop a programme of awareness raising on the Section 75 statutory duties and the commitments in our Equality Scheme by undertaking the following:

  • Inform all consultees of how to access a copy of the final Equality Scheme and Action Plan within one month of approval by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland in a manner suitable to each consultees’ needs;
  • Ensure our consultation is clear, concise and widely accessible;
  • Convene a meeting of the Director, Head of Service and PCSP Manager within the Council at least once annually to review progress of the Action Plan and plan for 12 months ahead. Pre-consultation will be an ongoing process for the PCSP who are committed to liaising and providing the forums for discussion on issues directly relating to the plan

3.2.6 Formal consultation periods last for a minimum of twelve weeks to allow adequate time for groups to consult amongst themselves as part of the process of forming a view. However, in exceptional circumstances when this timescale is not feasible (for example implementing EU Directives or UK wide legislation, meeting Health and Safety requirements, addressing urgent public health matters or complying with Court judgements), we may shorten timescales to eight weeks or less before the policy is implemented. We may continue consultation thereafter and will review the policy as part of our monitoring commitments.

Where, under these exceptional circumstances, we must implement a policy immediately, as it is beyond our authority’s control, we may consult after implementation of the policy, in order to ensure that any impacts of the policy are considered.

3.2.7 If a consultation exercise is to take place over a period when consultees are less able to respond for example over the summer or Christmas break or if the policy under consideration is particularly complex we will give consideration to the feasibility of allowing a longer period for the consultation.

3.2.8 We are conscious of the fact that affected individuals and representative groups may have different needs. We will take appropriate measures to ensure full participation in any meetings that are held. We will consider for example the time of day, the appropriateness of the venue, in particular whether it can be accessed by those with disabilities, how the meeting is to be conducted, the use of appropriate language, whether a signer and/or interpreter is necessary, and whether the provision of childcare and support for other carers is required.

3.2.9 We make all relevant information available to consultees in appropriate formats to ensure meaningful consultation. This includes detailed information on the policy proposal being consulted upon and any relevant quantitative and qualitative data.

3.2.10 In making any decision with respect to a policy adopted or proposed to be adopted, we take into account any assessment and consultation carried out in relation to the policy.

3.2.11 We provide feedback to consultees in a timely manner. A feedback report is prepared which includes summary information on the policy consulted upon, a summary of consultees’ comments and a summary of our consideration of and response to consultees’ input. The feedback is provided in formats suitable to consultees. (Please see also 6.3)

3.3 A list of our consultees is included in this Equality Scheme at Appendix 3.

3.4 Our consultation list is not exhaustive and is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure it remains relevant to our functions and policies.

We welcome enquiries from any person/s or organisations wishing to be added to the list of consultees.

To provide your contact details and have your areas of interest noted or have your name/details removed or amended please contact:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2826 2459
Email: pscp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Please also inform us at this stage if you would like information sent to you in a particular format or language. It can also be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

4 Our arrangements for assessing, monitoring and publishing the impact of policies

(Schedule 9 4. (2) (b); Schedule 9 4. (2) (c); Schedule 9 4. (2) (d); Schedule 9 9. (1); Schedule 9 9.(2))

Our arrangements for assessing the likely impact of policies adopted or proposed to be adopted on the promotion of equality of opportunity (Schedule 9 4. (2) (b))

4.1 In the context of Section 75, ‘policy’ is very broadly defined and it covers all the ways in which we carry out or propose to carry out our functions in relation to Northern Ireland. In respect of this equality scheme, the term policy is used for any (proposed/amended/existing) strategy, policy initiative or practice and/or decision, whether written or unwritten and irrespective of the label given to it, eg, ‘draft’, ‘pilot’, ‘high level’ or ‘sectoral’.

4.2 In making any decision with respect to a policy adopted or proposed to be adopted, we take into account any assessment and consultation carried out in relation to the policy, as required by Schedule 9.9. (2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
The policies adopted by Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership are policies which have been developed by; Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Department of Justice.
However, the Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership will use the tools of screening and equality impact assessment as detailed below. Mid and East Antrim PCSP are committed to reviewing all policies relating to this and if necessary carry out an impact assessment of all policies regardless of the source of their policy.

4.3 Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership will use the tools of screening and equality impact assessment to assess the likely impact of a policy on the promotion of equality of opportunity and good relations. In carrying out these assessments we will relate them to the intended outcomes of the policy in question and will also follow Equality Commission guidance:
‘The guidance on screening, including the screening template, as detailed in the Commission’s guidance ‘Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 – A Guide for Public Authorities (April 2010)’ and 19

Screening

4.4 The purpose of screening is to identify those policies that are likely to have an impact on equality of opportunity and/or good relations.

4.5 Screening will be completed at the earliest opportunity in the policy development/review process. Policies which we propose to adopt will be subject to screening prior to implementation. For more detailed strategies or policies that are to be put in place through a series of stages, we will screen at various stages during implementation.

4.6 The lead role in the screening of a policy will be taken by the policy decision maker who has the authority to make changes to that policy. However, screening will also involve other relevant team members, for example, equality specialists, those who implement the policy and staff members from other relevant work areas. Where possible we will include key stakeholders in the screening process.

4.7 The following questions will be applied to all our policies as part of the screening process:

What is the likely impact on equality of opportunity for those affected by this policy, for each of the Section 75 equality categories? (Minor/major/none)

Are there opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity for people within the Section 75 equality categories?

To what extent is the policy likely to impact on good relations between people of a different religious belief, political opinion or racial group? (Minor/major/none)

Are there opportunities to better promote good relations between people of a different religious belief, political opinion or racial group?
on undertaking an equality impact assessment as detailed in the Commission’s guidance ‘Practical guidance on equality impact assessment (February 2005)’.

4.8 In order to answer the screening questions, we will gather all relevant information and data, both qualitative and quantitative. In taking this evidence into account we will consider the different needs, experiences and priorities for each of the Section 75 equality categories. Any screening decision will be informed by this evidence.

4.9 Completion of screening, taking into account our consideration of the answers to all four screening questions set out in 4.7 above, will lead to one of the following three outcomes:
1. The policy has been ‘screened in’ for equality impact assessment
2. The policy has been ‘screened out’ with mitigation9 or an alternative policy proposed to be adopted
3. The policy has been ‘screened out’ without mitigation or an alternative policy proposed to be adopted.

Mitigation – Where an assessment (screening in this case) reveals that a particular policy has an adverse impact on equality of opportunity and / or good relations, a public authority must consider ways of delivering the policy outcomes which have a less adverse effect on the relevant Section 75 categories.

4.10 If our screening concludes that the likely impact of a policy is ‘minor’ in respect of one, or more, of the equality of opportunity and/or good relations categories, we may on occasion decide to proceed with an equality impact assessment, depending on the policy. If an EQIA is not to be conducted we will nonetheless consider measures that might mitigate the policy impact as well as alternative policies that might better achieve the promotion of equality of opportunity and/or good relations.
Where we mitigate we will outline in our screening template the reasons to support this decision together with the proposed changes, amendments or alternative policy.
This screening decision will be ‘signed off’ by the Safer Borough Manager.

4.11 If our screening concludes that the likely impact of a policy is ‘major’ in respect of one, or more, of the equality of opportunity and/or good relations categories, we will normally subject the policy to an equality impact assessment. This screening decision will be ‘signed off’ by the appropriate policy lead within Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

4.12 If our screening concludes that the likely impact of a policy is ‘none’, in respect of all of the equality of opportunity and/or good relations categories, we may decide to screen the policy out. If a policy is ‘screened out’ as having no relevance to equality of opportunity or good relations, we will give details of the reasons for the decision taken. This screening decision will be ‘signed off’ by the appropriate policy lead within Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

4.13 As soon as possible following the completion of the screening process, the screening template, signed off and approved by the senior manager responsible for the policy, will be made available on our website, Consultees will be informed of any screening results as soon as is practicable on request from:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-, 9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2826 2459
Email: pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

A sample screening template is available at Appendix 5.

4.14 If a consultee, including the Equality Commission, raises a concern about a screening decision based on supporting evidence, we will review the screening decision. PCSP commit to involving section 75 groups and affected individuals in the screening process as early as is practicable.

4.15 Our screening reports are published quarterly [see below at 4.20 - 4.22 and 4.23 for details].

Equality impact assessment

4.16 An equality impact assessment (EQIA) is a thorough and systematic analysis of a policy, whether that policy is formal or informal, and irrespective of the scope of that policy. The primary function of an EQIA is to determine the extent of any impact of a policy upon the Section 75 categories and to determine if the impact is an adverse one. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate the likely positive outcomes of a policy and to seek ways to more effectively promote equality of opportunity and good relations.

4.17 Once a policy is screened and screening has identified that an equality impact assessment is necessary, we will carry out the EQIA in accordance with Equality Commission guidance. The equality impact assessment will be carried out as part of the policy development process, before the policy is implemented.

4.18 The PCSP will be advised where an EQIA is assessed as necessary prior to commencement of the process.

4.19 Any equality impact assessment will be subject to consultation at the appropriate stage(s). (For details see above Chapter 3 “Our Arrangements for Consulting”).

Our arrangements for publishing the results of the assessments of the likely impact of policies we have adopted or propose to adopt on the promotion of equality of opportunity (Schedule 9 4. (2) (d); Schedule 9 9. (1))

4.20 We make publicly available the results of our assessments (screening and EQIA) of the likely impact of our policies on the promotion of equality of opportunity and good relations.

What we publish

4.21 Screening reports

These are published quarterly. Screening reports detail:
All policies screened by Mid and East Antrim PCSP over the three month period
A statement of the aim(s) of the policy/policies to which the assessment relates
Consideration given to measures which might mitigate any adverse impact
Consideration given to alternative policies which might better achieve the promotion of equality of opportunity;
Screening decisions, i.e.:
Whether the policy has been ‘screened in’ for equality impact assessment.
Whether the policy has been ‘screened out’ with mitigation or an alternative policy proposed to be adopted.
Whether the policy has been ‘screened out’ without mitigation or an alternative policy proposed to be adopted.
Where applicable, a timetable for conducting equality impact assessments
A link to the completed screening template(s) on our website

4.22 Equality impact assessments
EQIA reports are published once the impact assessment has been completed. These reports include:

A statement of the aim of the policy assessed

  • Information and data collected
  • Details of the assessment of impact(s)
  • Consideration given to measures which might mitigate any adverse impact
  • Consideration given to alternative policies which might better achieve the promotion of equality of opportunity
  • Consultation responses
  • The decision taken
  • Future monitoring plans.

How we publish the information

4.23 All information we publish is accessible and can be made available in alternative formats on request. Please see 6.3 below.

Where we publish the information

4.24 The results of our assessments (screening reports and completed templates, the results of equality impact assessments) are available on our website and by contacting:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2827 2313
Email: pscp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

4.25 In addition to the above, screening reports (electronic link or hard copy on request if more suitable for recipients) which include all policies screened over a 3 month period are also sent directly to all consultees on a quarterly basis.

4.26 We will inform the general public about the availability of this material through communications such as press releases and our social media outlets as and where appropriate. PCSP commit to engaging with all specialised media and internal resources made available to them from our section 75 partners in order to effectively communicate with members.

Our arrangements for monitoring any adverse impact of policies we have adopted on equality of opportunity (Schedule 9 4. (2) (c))

4.27 Monitoring can assist us to deliver better public services and continuous improvements. Monitoring Section 75 information involves the processing of sensitive personal data (data relating to the racial or ethnic origin of individuals, sexual orientation, political opinion, religious belief, etc). In order to carry out monitoring in a confidential and effective manner, Mid and East Antrim PCSP follows guidance from the Office of the Information Commissioner and the Equality Commission.

4.28 We monitor any adverse impact on the promotion of equality of opportunity of policies we have adopted. We are also committed to monitoring more broadly to identify opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity and good relations in line with Equality Commission guidance.

4.29 The systems we have established to monitor the impact of policies and identify opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity and good relations are:

  • The collection, collation and analysis of existing relevant primary quantitative and qualitative data across all nine equality categories on an ongoing basis
  • The collection, collation and analysis of existing relevant secondary sources of quantitative and qualitative data across all nine equality categories on an ongoing basis
  • An audit of existing information systems within one year of approval of this Equality Scheme, to identify the extent of current monitoring and take action to address any gaps in order to have the necessary information on which to base decisions
  • Undertaking or commissioning new data if necessary.

4.30 If over a two year period monitoring and evaluation show that a policy results in greater adverse impact than predicted, or if opportunities arise which would allow for greater equality of opportunity to be promoted, we will ensure that the policy is revised to achieve better outcomes for relevant equality groups.
PCSP will continually monitor any changes to its obligations under the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and Un convention of the rights of the child

4.31 We review our EQIA monitoring information on an annual basis. Other monitoring information is also reviewed annually. The equality scheme will be monitored quarterly by MEA PCSP members with any amendment’s made or required forwarded to Equality Commission for consideration. MEA PCSP will also consult with all community, voluntary and statutory partners across the borough on the contents of MEA PCSP equality scheme.

Our arrangements for publishing the results of our monitoring (Schedule 9 4. (2) (d))

4.32 Schedule 9 4. (2) (d) requires us to publish the results of the monitoring of adverse impacts of policies we have adopted. However, we are committed to monitoring more broadly and the results of our policy monitoring are published.

4.33 EQIA monitoring information is published as part of our Section 75 annual progress report [see 2.7]. Monitoring of MEA PCSP equality scheme will be published on MEA Facebook page and citizens will be made aware at public meetings. Monitoring will also be published on MEA Borough Councils website.

4.34 All information published is accessible and can be made available in alternative formats on request.

Please contact:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-, 9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2827 2313
Email: pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

5 Training and Borough Building

(Schedule 9 4.(2) (e))

Commitment to training and Borough building

5.1 We recognise that awareness raising and training play a crucial role in the effective implementation of our Section 75 duties.

5.2 Our Chief Executive wishes to positively communicate the commitment of Mid and East Antrim PCSP to the Section 75 statutory duties, both internally and externally.
To this end we will introduce an effective communication and training programme for all staff and will ensure that our commitment to the Section 75 statutory duties is made clear in all relevant publications.
MEA PCSP commit to engaging directly with relevant section 75 group when developing any training programmes or resources that are to be made available to the public

Training objectives

5.3 Mid and East Antrim PCSP will draw up a detailed training plan for its PCSP Members and staff which will aim to raise awareness of the provisions of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, our Equality Scheme commitments and the particular issues likely to affect people across the range of Section 75 categories, to ensure that our Elected Members and staff fully understand their role in implementing the scheme; and will aim to achieve the following objectives:

  • to provide those staff involved in the assessment of policies (screening and EQIA) with the necessary skills and knowledge to do this work effectively
  • to provide those staff who deal with complaints in relation to compliance with our Equality Scheme with the necessary skills and knowledge to investigate and monitor complaints effectively
  • to provide those staff involved in consultation processes with the necessary skills and knowledge to do this work effectively
  • to provide those staff involved in the implementation and monitoring of the effective implementation of the Mid and East Antrim PCSP Equality Scheme with the necessary skills and knowledge to do this work effectively.

Awareness raising and training arrangements

5.4 The following arrangements are in place to ensure all our staff and Elected Members are aware of and understand our equality obligations.

  • We will develop a summary of this Equality Scheme and make it available to all staff.
  • We will provide access to copies of the full Equality Scheme for all staff; ensure that any queries or questions of clarification from staff are addressed effectively.
  • Staff in Mid and East Antrim PCSP will receive a briefing on this Equality Scheme within three months. Members and staff of MEA PCSP will also receive focused workshops and training on the scheme in conjunction with MEA Borough Council procedure
  • The Section 75 statutory duties form part of induction training for new staff.
  • Training in Section 75 statutory duties and related issues may be developed and provided by the following; NI Policing Board, Department of Justice and/or the Council’s Equality Officer (arranged through the Human Resources Section). Mid and East Antrim PCSP staff can avail of this training. Where appropriate, training will be provided to ensure staff are aware of the issues experienced by the range of Section 75 groups.
  • When appropriate and on an ongoing basis, arrangements will be made to ensure staff are kept up to date with Section 75 developments and that all resources and information provided is up to date and in line with current thinking and policy in consultation with section 75 partners

5.5 Training and awareness raising programmes will, where relevant, be developed in association with the appropriate Section 75 groups and our staff. Equality proofing of all training will be carried out by Human resources and PCSP staff in consultation with all the relevant section 75 partner agencies.

Where PCSP staff or its members identify the lack of representation in a body charged with delivering training all commit to bringing this to the attention of the relevant authority to ensure inclusion.

In order to share resources and expertise, Mid and East Antrim PCSP will, work closely with other bodies and agencies in the development and delivery of training.

Monitoring and evaluation

5.6 Our training programme is subject to the following monitoring and evaluation arrangements:

  • We evaluate the extent to which all participants in this training programme have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve each of the above objectives.
  • The extent to which training objectives have been met will be reported on as part of the Section 75 annual progress report, which will be sent to the Equality Commission.
  • A record of the number of employees and PCSP members trained during the year.

6 Our arrangements for ensuring and assessing public access to information and services we provide

(Schedule 9 4. (2) (f))

6.1 Mid and East Antrim PCSP is committed to ensuring that the information we disseminate and the services we provide are fully accessible to all parts of the community in Northern Ireland. We keep our arrangements under review to ensure that this remains the case. MEA PCSP work directly with the locally based Inter Ethnic Forum to ensure all services are available to our minority communities. MEA PCSP also link directly with NEELB, NDACT,NHSCT and local schools to ensure that the entire demographic residing in the Borough receive details of services available from MEA PCSP.

6.2 We are aware that some groups will not have the same access to information as others.

In particular:

  • People with sensory, learning, communication and mobility disabilities may require printed information in other formats.
  • Members of ethnic minority groups, whose first language is not English, may have difficulties with information provided only in English.
  • Children and young people may not be able to fully access or understand information.

Access to information

6.3 To ensure equality of opportunity in accessing information, we provide information in alternative formats on request, where reasonably practicable. Where the exact request cannot be met we will ensure a reasonable alternative is provided.

Alternative formats may include Easy Read, Braille, audio formats (CD, mp3 or DAISY), large print or minority languages to meet the needs of those for whom English is not their first language.

Mid and East Antrim PCSP liaises with representatives of young people and disability and minority ethnic organisations and takes account of existing and developing good practice.

We will respond to requests for information in alternative formats in a timely manner, usually within 15 working days.

6.4 In disseminating information through the media we will seek to advertise in the press where appropriate. MEA PCSP commit to making available all information dependant on the needs of the person requesting. Those members of the public who may be disabled, older or of a low income can avail of the documentation in whichever format they prefer. PCSP staff will liaise with them to ensure that the format of delivery is suited to their needs and put in place all arrangements to facilitate the delivery in whichever format is required

Access to services

6.6 Mid and East Antrim PCSP is committed to ensuring that all of our services are fully accessible to everyone in the community across the Section 75 categories. MEA PCSP advertise its services on its own dedicated Facebook Page, NIPB media streams, and utilises all social media and local media available to them. MEA PCSP have also created a Text alert system to ensure that all citizens regardless of age or demographic are aware of services available.

6.7 The Council also adheres to the relevant provisions of current anti-discrimination legislation.

Assessing public access to information and services

6.8 We monitor annually across all our functions, in relation to access to information and services, to ensure equality of opportunity and good relations are promoted. MEA PCSP advertise its services on its own dedicated Facebook Page and utilises all social media and local media available to them. MEA PCSP have also created a Text alert system to ensure that all citizens regardless of age or demographic are aware of services available.
MEA PCSP also hold regular public meetings throughout the year in order that members of the public have direct contact with members ensuring they are kept up to date with services and work carried out by the partnership.

7 Timetable for measures we propose in this Equality Scheme

(Schedule 9 4. (3) (b))

7.1 Appendix 4 outlines our timetable for all measures proposed within this Equality Scheme. The measures outlined in this timetable will be incorporated into our business planning processes.

7.2 This timetable is different from and in addition to our commitment to developing action plans/action measures to specifically address inequalities and further promote equality of opportunity and good relations. We have included in our Equality Scheme a commitment to develop an action plan. Accordingly, this commitment it is listed in the timetable of measures at Appendix 4. For information on these action measures please see above at 2.11 – 2.18.

8 Our complaints procedure

(Schedule 9 10.)

8.1 Mid and East Antrim PCSP is responsive to the views of members of the public. We will endeavour to resolve all complaints made to us. The PCSP will support any individual where there is no conflict of interest in effectively delivering their complaint. This may include specialist services dependant on the complaint and the level of need of the complainant.

Where the complainant has a specific disability or need the PCSP will pro-actively assist in ensuring the complaint is received in an appropriate and professional manner.

A full copy of the Mid and East Antrim Councils complaints procedure which also relates to PCSP is available on the Council's Complaints page or in many other formats by contacting the PCSP Manager:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-, 9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ
Tel: 028 2827 2313
Email: pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

8.2 Schedule 9 paragraph 10 of the Act refers to complaints. A person can make a complaint to a public authority if the complainant believes he or she may have been directly affected by an alleged failure of the authority to comply with its approved Equality Scheme.

If the complaint has not been resolved within a reasonable timescale, the complaint can be brought to the Equality Commission.

8.3 A person wishing to make a complaint that Mid and East Antrim PCSP has failed to comply with its approved Equality Scheme should contact:

Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive
Mid and East Antrim Council
The Braid
1-29 Bridge Street
Ballymena
BT43 5EJ

8.4 We will in the first instance acknowledge receipt of each complaint within five working days.

8.5 The Policy Officer (or another officer designated by Chief Executive) will carry out an internal investigation of the complaint and will respond substantively to the complainant within one (1) month of the date of receiving the letter of complaint. Under certain circumstances, if the complexity of the matter requires a longer period, the period for response to the complainant may be extended to two (2) months. In those circumstances, the complainant will be advised of the extended period within one month of making the complaint.

8.6 During this process the complainant will be kept fully informed of the progress of the investigation into the complaint and of any outcomes.

8.7 In any subsequent investigation by the Equality Commission, Mid and East Antrim PCSP will co-operate fully, providing access in a timely manner to any relevant documentation that the Equality Commission may require.

Similarly, Mid and East Antrim PCSP will co-operate fully with any investigation by the Equality Commission under sub-paragraph 11 (1) (b) of Schedule 9 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

8.8 The PCSP will make all efforts to implement promptly and in full any recommendations arising out of any Commission investigation.

9 Publication of our Equality Scheme

(Schedule 9 4. (3) (c))

9.1 Mid and East Antrim Borough PCSP’s Equality Scheme and list of consultees is available free of charge in print form and alternative formats from:

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-, 9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ

pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

9.2 Our Equality Scheme is also available to download at the bottom of this page.

9.3 The following arrangements are in place for the publication in a timely manner of our Equality Scheme to ensure equality of access:

  • We will make every effort to communicate widely the existence and content of our Equality Scheme. This may include press releases, prominent advertisements in the press, the internet and direct mail shots to groups representing the various categories in Section 75. This includes distribution via our Facebook page to ensure that it is communicated with young people. We also distribute to Education Authority members to ensure that all educational establishments including those who deal specifically with those with educational special needs and disabilities have details of the scheme.
  • We will email a link to our approved Equality Scheme to our consultees on our consultation lists. Other consultees without e-mail will be notified by letter that the scheme is available on request. We will respond to requests for the Equality Scheme in alternative formats in a timely manner, usually 15 working days.
  • Our Equality Scheme is available on request in alternative formats such as Easy Read, Braille, large print, audio formats ( CD, mp3, DAISY) and in minority languages to meet the needs of those not fluent in English.

9.4 For a list of our stakeholders and consultees please see Appendix 3 of the Equality Scheme or visit our website or by contacting

Wendy Carson
PCSP Manager
Mid and East Antrim PCSP
Larne Town Hall
1-, 9 Upper Cross St,
Larne
County Antrim
BT40 1RZ

pcsp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

10 Review of our Equality Scheme

(Schedule 9 8. (3))

10.1 As required by Schedule 9 paragraph 8 (3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 we will conduct a thorough review of this Equality Scheme. This review will take place either within five years of submission of this Equality Scheme to the Equality Commission or within a shorter timescale to allow alignment with the review of other planning cycles.

The review will evaluate the effectiveness of our scheme in relation to the implementation of the Section 75 statutory duties relevant to our functions in Northern Ireland.

10.2 In undertaking this review we will follow any guidance issued by the Equality Commission. A report of this review will be made public and sent to the Equality Commission.
All changes made to the equality scheme agreed with the Equality commission will be highlighted and advertised on our social media platforms including distribution to all consultees and our statutory voluntary and community partners.
The amended Equality scheme will be published on MEA PCSP Facebook page and on Mid and East Antrim Borough Councils website.
MEA PCSP will publicise its five year review on Councils website and all PCSP Social media Platforms including Facebook.