Open letter to councillors calling for meaningful Equality Impact Assessments

Aberdeenshire UNISONThe branch has sent the following open letter to all Aberdeenshire councillors calling for robust Equality Impact Assessments on all budget cuts. We are aware that these are already completed but we have concerns about the quality of the assessments and have called for mitigations, where identified, to be followed up and reviewed.

Dear Councillor

Open letter from Aberdeenshire UNISON

The branch is aware that the 2020-21 budget will be approved at the Full Council Meeting on Thursday 12th March 2020.

We are calling on you, as an elected member, to have regard to the council’s responsibilities under the Fairer Scotland Duty which came into force in April 2018. As you know, this places a legal duty on public bodies to have “due regard” to and “actively consider how they can reduce inequalities of outcome”. The guidance also states that this must not be a “tick box exercise”.

We are asking you to ensure that the budget proposals all include robust Equalities Impact Assessments (EIAs) to identify the impacts of the planned cuts on those with protected characteristics; age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

We are aware that these are routinely completed but we are asking you to ensure that these are meaningful assessments which identify the impact on anyone with a protected characteristic and look at how these impacts will be mitigated.

Where measures to mitigate the impact of the cuts are identified we are asking that you make sure there are plans in place to review these and determine whether or not they have been effective.

Please do not allow the planned cuts to go through on the nod. Please make sure that every proposal has fully considered the impact on equalities within Aberdeenshire, whether on staff or service users. This is not only a legal duty but also a moral imperative to protect those who are already vulnerable.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Kate Ramsden and Steve Gray
Branch Co-Chairs

Inez Kirk
Branch secretary