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Inclusive design and EIAs: Everyone’s opportunity to build a more equitable, diverse and inclusive culture

25 March 2022

5 mins

I talk to numerous people through my work who are keen to understand what role they can play in helping to make Loughborough a more equitable, diverse and inclusive place for all staff and students.

There are so many ways in which people can do this, but one easy way is through embedding equality considerations in all that you do and utilising Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) for large scale policies or functions.

No matter the position you are within the organisation or what job family you are part of, Equality Impact Assessments are something you should know about. Awareness of this process is a simple tool through which you can ensure you are diversifying your thinking, raising your awareness of when decisions are being made without the inclusion of people from different groups, or consideration of the views of people from these groups.

Any large change, new policy or review means an Equality Impact Assessment is required to be undertaken, however, by embedding equality considerations into smaller changes, we can ensure we realise our EDI aspirations across the organisation.

We have created a short flow chart to assist everyone across campus to assess whether something requires an Equality Impact Assessment, or if taking account of equality considerations is the right course of action.

If you need to do an EIA, we have produced guidance and a process to ensure the work you undertake is both proportionate to the scale of the task, thorough and ultimately helpful. EIA’s ensure what is implemented is inclusive for all and also capitalises on opportunities to progress equality of opportunity.

I believe that embedding equality considerations and EIA’s into our practices will allow all we do as a University to become more inclusive. Considering these matters from the outset ultimately allows for a more inclusive policy or initiative to be implemented.

Case studies

  1. The University was preparing to launch a campaign to encourage blood donations and to be a venue for this activity. As this was a small scale activity it was decided that this did not require an EIA but still required equality considerations to be taken into account. Resultingly, conversations regarding the event included a diverse group of individuals. Taking measures to take account of equality considerations at this point resulted in plans and measures around this campaign being mindful of the exclusion of some groups of individuals that was in place at the time of the event.

“A campaign for blood donations is a wonderful, positive thing. By actively considering equality issues and diverse voices, we were able to run the drive in a way that acknowledged that regulations in place prevented some (gay and bisexual men) from participating. The campaign still proceeded but we made sure we avoided making a thoughtless assumption that all could support and avoiding any impact that could have on others.”
– Richard Taylor, Chief Operating Officer

2. It quickly became apparent that due to the scale and scope of the move to Dynamic Working, an EIA was required. Those working within the Change Team brought together a small team to begin work and planning on an EIA with several early adaptations coming out of this work.

Through the EIA, early consultations identified that Dynamic Working could negatively impact colleagues on lower pay grades due to the IT and equipment available for home working. It was also identified that colleagues on lower pay grades are less likely to have a suitable chair and/or desk to work from home effectively. Therefore, to mitigate this impact, a scheme has been introduced allowing staff on grades 1-5 to purchase a chair and/or desk up to the value of £200 and claim the cost back through expenses.

“I personally found undertaking an EIA for Dynamic Working an enlightening experience as the process caused me to consider the initiative from perspectives outside of mine. Simply asking the question – how might Dynamic Working positively or negatively impact individuals from different groups? – really challenged my outlook and helped me to consider the experiences of others and identify hidden impacts.  Ultimately, it allowed us to maximise the positives and mitigate the negatives of the Dynamic Working initiative and prevent unintended negative consequences.

This undertaken on a regular basis across the institution and different policies and processes will help to create a more inclusive and equitable working environment and experience for all.”
Renae Huggan-Broughton, Graduate Management Trainee, Organisational Development and Change Team

“The development of an EIA provides a fantastic opportunity to think deeply about all the possible benefits and issues that might arise in a project, which is clearly helpful towards ensuring success. In addition, the systematic consideration of the potential impacts in relation to different protected characteristics gives the chance to assess whether issues might interact in an intersectional manner, allowing mitigations to be devised that are likely to be effective for a greater proportion of people. Ultimately everyone wants their project to be successful and the more people that benefit the more successful you have been. The EIA helps to make that happen.”
Dr Steve Harris, Change Portfolio Manager and Process Improvement Lead

More information on the Equality Impact Assessment is available here.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Reflections, comments, discussion and opinion on EDI topics from Loughborough University staff and students

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