Exeter College introduced a programme to systematic review all of the colleges
policies using the Equality Impact Assessment process. Over several years, this
helped us to highlight areas of Equality and Diversity best practice and enabled
us to identify in advance the possibility of any discriminatory practice. As a
result of this process we achieved several goals such as actively promoting
equality of opportunity, meeting the college's specific legal requirements
regarding Equality and Diversity and maintaining the excellent teaching and
As we have now completed this programme we have taken a different approach with
new policies or those which have been recently reviewed. You may find some
established policies continue to display an Equality Impact Assessment screening
but for newer policies we have brought the concept of the impact assessment into
the policy template itself so the policy writer can record how they considered
Equality during the formation of the policy. This is known as Equality analysis.
How does this work?
The heart of the process lies in giving teams the opportunity to think reflectively about the impact of their work and take action to place equality at the centre of service development. These Equality Impact Assessments help us to improve services for the entire community through targeting the needs of groups with specific equality characteristics, such as disabled people. This helps us to meet our legal duties such as those to foster good relations between groups and improve outcomes e.g. course success rates, maintain the outstanding reputation of the college and improve retention of staff and learners.
Good quality teamwork is essential to this process. It therefore needs the
participation of as wide a cross section of the college community as possible,
staff and students, men and women, from varied backgrounds who have experience
of what the issues may be for people of different ethnic groups, sexual
orientation, beliefs, ages, transgendered individuals and those with
disabilities. We sometimes use focus groups to provide feedback which helps to
guide and appraise policy formation within the college. These dialogues help us
to address areas of perceived inequality. Practitioners are then able to
implement any changes to practices that they had made discoveries about through