Equality Analysis

Frequently asked questions

Equality Analysis is a review of the actual or potential effects of our policies/procedures/services on people who identify with any of the protected characteristics*. To ensure that we give careful consideration to the potential impact of a policy/procedure/service, the Equality Analysis Form prompts us to consider a policy** from the perspective of someone identifying with any of the protected characteristics*, and to consider how the policy might impact upon them.

* The protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

** The use of the term ‘policy’ refers to the full range of functions, procedures, activities, and decisions for which the University is responsible.

Equality Analysis gives us the opportunity to do things better by taking advantage of the positive effects of a policy/procedure/service, and reducing or avoiding negative effects to prevent discrimination.

The public sector Equality Duty requires the University to have due regard to the need to:

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic* and those who do not;
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic* and those who do not.

In having ‘due regard’ there must be evidence that equality issues have been considered. Therefore Equality Analysis enables the University to meet these legal duties by:

  • Evidencing that equality has been considered throughout the decision making process across the University;
  • Enabling us to pre-empt and discourage incidents of discrimination;
  • Highlighting areas of best practice in terms of equality and diversity – sharing things which are working well.


*The protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

In order to meet the University’s legal duties equality issues should be considered and embedded within all decision-making, policy writing and service delivery at the University. VCEG and Council are aware of this and will expect to see a completed Equality Considerations statement on all policy documents submitted. Therefore an Equality Analysis should be completed:

  • Whenever a new policy is being written;
  • Whenever an existing policy is being reviewed or significantly amended. 

As this could potentially result in a high number of policies requiring Equality Analysis, for practical reasons it is advisable to prioritise which policies to start your Equality Analyses with by focusing on those which affect a high number of people, are high profile, or could be contentious.

Some University-level policies which are implemented at College or Service level may have already had an Equality Analysis completed at University-level. If this is the case and your College/Department are implementing the policy in-line with the central policy and without any specific local arrangements or variations then an Equality Analysis at local-level is not necessary.

Details of Equality Analyses which have been completed, or are currently in progress, can be found on the Completed Equality Analyses [opens new window] page.

For the purpose of the Equality Analysis process, the use of the term ‘policy’ refers to the full range of functions, procedures, activities, procedures and decisions for which the University is responsible. This includes both current and new policies.

Therefore any reference in the Equality Analysis paperwork to the ‘policy’ should not be read literally as only applying to a written policy. The use of the word ‘policy’ should be regarded as flexible enough to refer to a procedure, activity, procedure, service, and decision.  

As Equality Analyses have already been completed for a number of policies across the University, please check before starting your Equality Analysis whether one has already been completed.

Some overarching University-level policies which are centrally owned but implemented at College/Service level may have already had an Equality Analysis completed at University-level.

Details of Equality Analyses which have been completed, or are currently in progress, can be found on the Completed Equality Analyses [opens new window] page.

The policyholder is accountable for ensuring that equality issues have been considered and therefore that an Equality Analysis is completed. The policyholder is the person who “owns” the  policy, ie who has the authority to make changes to the policy, and would be accountable/the point of contact should there be any challenges on equality grounds.

The policyholder may delegate the completing of the Equality Analysis to another person if they wish, but they need to be sure that whoever this is knows enough about the detail of the policy to be able to thoroughly consider the policy’s actual and potential impact. 

The Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window] can provide help and guidance by advising if you have queries about assessing the impact of a policy, if you are unsure whether consultation with staff and students would be beneficial, or how to mitigate any negative or unclear impact you have identified.

If it is decided equality specific consultation would be beneficial, the Equality & Diversity Team will liaise with trained consultation group members and co-ordinate the consultation process.  

The Equality Analysis Form can be downloaded from the EA resources page [opens new window].

1. Check whether an Equality Analysis has already been carried out on the Completed Equality Analyses page [opens new window].

2. Download and complete the Equality Analysis Form.

Contact the Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window] if you:

  • Have read the FAQ but still have queries about assessing the impact of a policy on anyone with any protected characteristic*;
  • Have identified any negative or unclear impact on the Equality Analysis Form;
  • Are unsure about whether consultation would be helpful;
  • Require consultation as part of the Equality Analysis;
  • Have any queries about the form which have not been clarified by the FAQ

3. Email your completed Equality Analysis Form to Equality & Diversity Team.

4. If consultation is required, the Equality & Diversity Team will contact you to discuss this and will co-ordinate the consultation exercise. If consultation is not required, this is the end of the Equality Analysis process.

*The protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation

A ‘proportionate approach’ should be taken to Equality Analysis. The time and effort applied will depend upon how relevant the policy is to equality issues and the severity of any actual or potential impact.

The Equality Analysis Form itself may be relatively quick to complete. However if consultation is required the process could take up to 4 weeks depending upon whether consultation takes place with volunteers via email or via discussions at a face to face meeting. Most Equality Analyses will not require consultation, however it is advisable to allow enough time in case this is necessary. Therefore we recommend that you should allow at least 4 weeks from beginning the Equality Analysis and any deadline* by which you require the Equality Analysis to be completed by.

If consultation is required and there is a deadline* by which consultation and the Equality Analysis should (where possible) be completed by there is a section on the Equality Analysis Form where this can be indicated.

*For example, the date of when the policy is due to be submitted to Council/VCEG/another committee for consideration.

Council and VCEG are aware of the need for equality considerations when making decisions and recommendations and will expect to see a completed Equality Considerations statement on all policy documents submitted, to demonstrate that an Equality Analysis has been carried out and to summarise the outcome. The relevant section (either option 1 or option 2) from the ‘Equality Considerations’ statement should be copied and included into your paper going to Council/VCEG.

The Equality Considerations Statement can also be found on the Equality Analysis Form

Question 7 on the Equality Analysis Form requires policyholders to consider how a policy might impact, potentially or actually, upon people with each of the protected characteristics*, if any aspects of the policy might be beneficial or problematic for them, and whether the beneficial impact can be increased and the problematic impact reduced and, ideally, eliminated to avoid potential discrimination.

Question 7 asks Equality Analysis authors to select whether their policy has a positive, negative, neutral or unclear impact one each of the nine protected characteristics*, and to explain why you have selected this impact for each characteristic. 

A positive impact is one in which a person or people will experience an advantage or benefit, this includes positive action to overcome a disadvantage, meet needs or encourage participation (e.g. a service sets up a disability service user forum to help design and plan service provision so that disabled people’s needs are taken into account).

A negative impact is one in which a person or people will experience a disadvantage (e.g. a wheelchair user can’t get into the building to access the service).

A neutral impact is one where there is no disadvantage; experience will be the same for everyone (e.g. everyone can access the service including disabled people).

An unclear impact can be selected if you are unsure what the impact may be, or if there could be a mixture of impacts (e.g. a policy might have a positive impact for a protected characteristic in one way, but also could possibly have a negative impact for that protected characteristic in another way).

A potential impact is an effect which could happen as a consequence, indirectly or as an unintended outcome, of the policy, whereas an actual impact is an effect which is highly likely to occur as a result of the policy, or an effect which the policy specifically aims to create.

It is important to explain your reasons for the impact you have selected for each protected characteristic*, particularly if any unclear or negative impacts have been selected. Your reasons should be included in the table at Question 7.

If you have selected any unclear or negative impact it may be that consultation will be necessary, therefore please contact the Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window] for guidance.

There are some situations when a negative impact will be identified but may be justified on the basis of a legal requirement or applicable exemption including where positive action is undertaken or where there is a conflict with other legislation e.g. health and safety. However even if this is the case we would advise that you contact the Equality & Diversity Team for guidance.

*The protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. 

If you have identified any unclear or negative impacts consultation may be necessary, therefore please contact the Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window] for guidance.

There are some situations when negative impacts will be identified but may be justified on the basis of a legal requirement or applicable exemption including where positive action is undertaken or where there is a conflict with other legislation e.g. health and safety. However even if this is the case  we would advise that you contact the Equality & Diversity Team for guidance. 

The decision about whether to carry out consultation as part of your Equality Analysis is yours, as the Equality Analysis author. However, as a guide, your Equality Analysis may benefit from consultation if:

  • The policy affects a high number of people;
  • The policy is high profile;
  • The policy could be contentious;
  • No other consultation has taken place as part of the policy writing or review process;
  • You identified any negative or unclear impacts on the Equality Analysis Form. If this happens please contact the Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window]. 

You will be asked to explain your rationale for your consultation decision on the Equality Analysis Form.

It may be that during the process of writing or reviewing the policy consultation with staff/students/service users has already taken place, during which equality issues may have been raised and addressed. Therefore, further consultation may not be necessary. Please include details of any previous consultation on the Equality Analysis Form.

The Equality Analysis Consultation Group is made up of staff and students who are interested in, and have personal experience of equality issues. Therefore consultation as part of the Equality Analysis process can be beneficial because the Consultation Group are able to offer their personal experience on a range of issues and often make suggestions or raise queries that policywriters have not previously considered.

If you are unsure about whether your Equality Analysis would benefit from consultation please contact the Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window] who can discuss this with you.

The Equality Analysis Consultation Group is made up of staff and students who are interested in, and have personal experience of equality issues, and provides feedback to guide and appraise policy formation within the University.

Consultation can be carried out with the Consultation Group either via email or via discussions at a face to face meeting. If you wish to consult as part of your Equality Analysis please contact the Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window] who will liaise with the Consultation Group and co-ordinate the consultation.

It is advisable to allow at least 4 weeks from beginning the Equality Analysis and the deadline by which you will require the Equality Analysis to be completed. If consultation is required please indicate on the Equality Analysis Form any specific deadline* for the completion of the Equality Analysis and consultation.

If you are unsure about whether your Equality Analysis would benefit from consultation please contact the Equality & Diversity Team who can discuss this with you.

*For example, the date of when the policy is due to be submitted to Council/VCEG/another committee for consideration.

Once your Equality Analysis Form is complete ensure all questions have been answered and email it to the Equality & Diversity Team.

The Equality Analysis author’s name will be published on the Equality & Diversity website as the contact for any queries about the Equality Analysis. Therefore please ensure that you retain a copy of the form for your own records and that the final Equality Analysis Form is fit for public viewing as people could contact you directly to request to view the form.

The ideal time to complete an Equality Analysis is when you are developing a new or reviewing an existing policy. As it is advisable to allow at least 4 weeks for the Equality Analysis to be completed we recommend that you start your Equality Analysis early on in the policy review or policy writing process, rather than waiting until you have a final version of the policy. This allows time for any issues which may be highlighted by the Equality Analysis process to be considered and any changes made, as necessary, as part of the writing/review process.

Ideally completing an Equality Analysis should be embedded within the existing processes for reviewing/writing a new policy, rather than being an additional step at the end of the process.

Yes. The ideal time to complete an Equality Analysis is when you are developing a new or reviewing an existing policy, so a completed final version of the policy is unlikely to be available. Carrying out an Equality Analysis as part of the writing/review process allows time for the consideration of any issues which may be highlighted during the Equality Analysis process and any changes to be made, as necessary. 

Ideally completing an Equality Analysis should be embedded within the existing processes for reviewing/writing a policy, rather than being an additional step at the end of the process. Therefore if your College/Service has a standard review cycle for policies (e.g. every year, or every two or three years) this would provide an ideal opportunity to embed Equality Analysis within existing structures.

Otherwise, an Equality Analysis should be completed whenever significant changes are made to a policy. 

If you have a query which is not covered by this FAQ, or you require additional information or guidance please contact the Equality & Diversity Team [opens new window].

Yes! We are always keen to recruit additional staff and students to our Consultation Group. If you have an interest in equality and diversity, or you have experience of what the issues may be for people who identify with the protected characteristics,*and you would be interested in providing occasional, informal, and anonymous feedback on equality issues related to University policies please contact the Equality & Diversity Team.

More information about volunteering as a member of the Consultation Group can be found on the Consultation volunteering [opens new window] page.

*The protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.