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DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND PERSONNEL(2)

By Kelly Stevens,2014-08-07 01:40
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DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND PERSONNEL(2)

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

    POLICY SCREENING FORM

The Legal Background

    Under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the Department is 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;

; between men and women generally;

; between persons with a disability and persons without; and,

; between persons with dependants and persons without.

    Without prejudice to the obligations set out above, the Department is also required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group.

Screening

    In order to determine whether an EQIA is necessary, all policies must be screened. This form is intended to assist with the screening of any policies for which you take the lead and to record the outcome in respect of each policy. It should also be used as a prompt when considering legislative proposals.

    The screening procedure should lead to one of these conclusions:

    ; the policy being screened has an insignificant impact on equality of

    opportunity; or

    ; the policy being screened has (or is likely to have) a significant impact

    on equality of opportunity. Policies falling into this category will need to

    be considered further and may require an Equality Impact Assessment.

    Officials should complete a form for each of the new or revised policies for which they are responsible. When you have completed the form it

    should be retained on file in the branch for record purposes.

1. POLICY TO BE SCREENED

What is a policy?

The Equality Commission has defined „policies‟ as ‘all the ways a public

    authority carries out or proposes to carry out its functions relating to

    Northern Ireland’. The Act defines „functions‟ as including powers and duties.

    These definitions cover all Departmental policies, strategies, schemes, procedures and functions. If in doubt please contact the Equality Unit for advice.

1.1 Title of policy to be screened:

School Improvement Policy Every School a Good School

1.2 Brief description of policy to be screened:

School Improvement Policy for implementation from 1 September 2008. The

    new policy will be based on the premise that every school in NI is capable of,

    and through self-evaluation should be actively striving for, improvement. It is

    a pupil-centred policy aimed at raising achievement, especially literacy and numeracy, and closing the gap in performance between the least and most

    able pupils in NI schools. In assessing performance, account will be taken of the context in which the school is operating and any other salient factors impacting on performance. The policy will address improvement in all schools irrespective of the age range and gender of the pupils.

The new policy advises of the Department‟s intention to develop a set of

    quality indicators (QIs) for use by all schools, ESA, ETI and the Department to

    help inform the self-evaluation process and inform the school development

    and target setting process. These QIs will be applicable for all schools but will, when doing comparative or benchmarking exercises, be contextualised.

The QIs will be developed outside the school improvement policy framework

    by way of a standalone “Effective Use of Data” project which aims to have in

    place a new management information system which will enable schools, school authorities, the Education and Training Inspectorate and the Department to have access to good quality information to assist in assessing

    the performance of each school and how it compares to schools of similar characteristics.

1.3 Aims of policy to be screened:

    To ensure that schools in NI are second to none, and that all pupils, irrespective of geographical location or social background, are given the

    opportunity to achieve their full potential, and to develop the skills, knowledge and self confidence to make a unique and positive contribution to society and the economy in NI.

It is essential that all the aims of the policy be clearly and fully defined.

1.4 Branch responsible for devising and delivering policy:

School Improvement Branch

    You should indicate if responsibility is shared with another Government Department or Departments.

1.5 Name of and contact details for person carrying out screening:

Helen McConkey

    Email: Helen.mcconkey@deni.gov.uk

    Tel: 028 9127 9753

    2. SCREENING ANALYSIS

When proceeding to screening “proper”, the Equality Commission has stated

    that there are four criteria to be considered. These are listed at 2.1 2.4

    below. You are asked to consider the criteria/question in relation to the Section 75 groups and to answer the questions accordingly.

“Don’t know?” “No Evidence?”

    The questions ask for evidence in relation to the Section 75 categories. You should not think of the “don‟t know” column in the form as the easy option to respond to any of the questions. In cases where you don‟t know and you don‟t have data on file, you will need to make a pragmatic judgement based

    on experience as to whether the policy you are screening may have an impact on any of the categories. If your judgement is that the policy may have a differential adverse impact on any of the Section 75 groups (i.e. it affects them

    differently and less favourably than other people), you should seek to obtain evidence. You should note that evidence can be qualitative i.e. drawn from

    the experience of individuals from their perspective - as well as quantitative.

    Officials must give consideration to steps that they could reasonably be expected to take to obtain evidence and thereby inform their decision making. Such steps could include meeting with a representative group or selective consultation.

Where there is little or no evidence, and common sense indicates that a

    differential impact may be expected, you should discuss this with the

    Equality Unit.

2.1 Is there any evidence of higher or lower participation or uptake by

    different groups? If so, please indicate below.

    CATEGORY YES NO DON’T KNOW Gender [ ] [ X ] [ ] Sexual orientation [ ] [ X ] [ ] Religion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Political opinion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Disability (physical and [ ] [ X ] [ ] learning)

    Race or ethnic origin [ ] [ X ] [ ] (includes Travellers)

    Age [ ] [ X ] [ ] Dependant [ ] [ X ] [ ] responsibilities

    Marital status [ ] [ X ] [ ]

    If YES give details, including source:

2.2 Is there any evidence that different groups have different needs,

    experiences, issues and priorities in relation to the particular

    policy?

    CATEGORY YES NO DON’T KNOW

    Gender [ ] [ X ] [ ] Sexual orientation [ ] [ X ] [ ] Religion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Political opinion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Disability (physical and [ ] [ X ] [ ] learning)

    Race or ethnic origin [ ] [ X ] [ ] (includes Travellers)

    Age [ ] [ X ] [ ] Dependant [ ] [ X ] [ ] responsibilities

    Marital status [ ] [ X ] [ ]

    If YES give details, including source:

2.3 Is there an opportunity to better promote equality of opportunity

    or better community relations by altering the policy or working

    with others in Government or in the larger community?

    CATEGORY YES NO DON’T KNOW

    Gender [ ] [ X ] [ ] Sexual orientation [ ] [ X ] [ ] Religion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Political opinion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Disability (physical and [ ] [ X ] [ ] learning)

    Race or ethnic origin [ ] [ X ] [ ] (includes Travellers)

    Age [ ] [ X ] [ ] Dependant [ ] [ X ] [ ] responsibilities

    Marital status [ ] [ X ] [ ]

    If YES give details, including source:

2.4 Have consultations with relevant groups, organisations or

    individuals indicated that particular policies create problems,

    which are specific to them?

    CATEGORY YES NO DON’T KNOW

    Gender [ ] [ X ] [ ] Sexual orientation [ ] [ X ] [ ] Religion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Political opinion [ ] [ X ] [ ] Disability (physical and [ ] [ X ] [ ] learning)

    Race or ethnic origin [ ] [ X ] [ ] (includes Travellers)

    Age [ ] [ X ] [ ] Dependant [ ] [ X ] [ ] responsibilities

    Marital status [ ] [ X ] [ ]

If YES give details, including source:

    If the answer to any of the questions in respect of any of the categories is YES”, you in discussion with the Equality Unit - will have to consider whether the policy has a significant impact on equality of opportunity and, therefore, should be subject to an equality impact assessment.

If the answer to all the questions in section 2 is NO an equality impact

    assessment is not required.

If the answer to any of the above questions is DON’T KNOW, and common

    sense and experience indicate that a differential impact may be expected, you will need to discuss this with the Equality Unit.

    It may be that a policy has an adverse differential impact on certain people in one or more of the categories as a consequence of targeting or affirmative action to combat an existing or historical inequality. If this is the case, please give details below and contact the Equality Unit if you are in doubt:

3. EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDATION

    Equality Impact Assessment procedures are confined to those policies considered likely to have significant implications for equality of opportunity.

    3.1 If screening has indicated that a policy is having an adverse differential impact, how would you categorise it?

Please tick.

Significant impact [ ]

Low impact [ ]

    3.2 Do you consider that this policy needs to be submitted to a full equality impact assessment?

YES NO

     X

    If NO but the policy has significant impact, please give reasons for your recommendation:

    Please forward a copy of this form to the Equality Unit.

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