Equality Info Work Programme
Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 imposes statutory duties on the Department, Boards, Trusts a nd Agencies with regard to equality. The HPSS business family recognises that a good information base is of critical importance in fulfilling our statutory equality requirements. Relevant, reliable and up-to-date data are required to inform the screening of policies, equality impact assessments, and the monitoring of progress towards equality of opportunity.
A working paper DHSSPS & HPSS Statutory Equality Obligations has been drawn up and presents - in synoptic form - an overview of the information availability, quality and deficits required for DHSSPS and the HPSS to meet its statutory requirements (PDF 57KB), as known by Information and Analysis Directorate (IAD) in the Department.
Following a workshop involving the Department and HPSS, an Equality information Steering Group has been established. It is chaired by the Deputy Secretary who is responsible for equality issues within the Department, and comprises representatives from the Department, HSS Boards, HSS Trusts and HSS Agencies, and representation from the statutory equality groups. The terms of reference (PDF 10KB) for this Group are available on request, and can be accessed on the IAU website. An action plan (PDF 25KB) was developed to take forward the programme of work required. A summary of this Action Plan can be accessed on the IAD website.
Three Working Sub-Groups were established relating to Hospital and Mental Health Information; Community, Children, and Personal Social Services Information. The role of the sub-groups was to scope existing information from all HPSS systems, and to make recommendations on future developments, including the commissioning of research and surveys into identifying and addressing gaps in equality information. The sub-groups worked closely with existing information Liaison Groups, where possible, to help develop and implement new information requirements. The three Working Sub-Groups reported internally to the Equality Information Steering Group. Sub-Groups were chaired by HPSS representatives and membership included representation from the Department, Boards, Trusts and Agencies. A revised work plan (PDF 24 KB) was developed based on the recommendations in the report.
One outcome of the equality work was to produce nine guides to the availability of equality information. These guides aim to provide information sources for those charged with undertaking equality impact assessments and will be updated on an ongoing basis as new information becomes available.
Dr. McWhirter, Director of IAD, has produced a background document, ‘Tackling Equality and Targeting Social Need’ (PDF 80KB). This document examines the issues around the equality and New TSN agendas.
The Department aims to make use of the qualitative and quantitative equality information that is available. With this in mind a document has been drafted highlighting the key equality issues in relation to heath services here. It is intended that the ‘Review of Key Issues in relation to Equality in the HPSS’ (PDF 296KB) will be a live document that will be expanded on an ongoing basis as more information becomes available.