Equality impact assessments vital during restructuring and redundancies
Higher education institutions must prove restructuring and redundancy decisions meet equality regulations, following increased scrutiny of the sector
In the current economic situation, restructuring and other organisational changes are leading to voluntary or compulsory redundancies and the closure of services and departments in the higher education sector.
A new briefing published this week by higher education equality body Equality Challenge Unit aims to help the sector to ensure that any changes meet their legal duties under equality law.
Ellen Pugh, Senior Policy Adviser at ECU, said:
'In the current environment it's become even more important for higher education institutions to ensure that any restructuring or redundancies comply with anti-discrimination legislation. Without full consideration and assessment, financial decisions may have unintended consequences that not only impact on equality for staff and students, but also run the risk of failing to meet the institution's legal responsibilities.
Indeed, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has recently stated their concern that some higher education institutions haven't been carrying out equality impact assessments during redundancy processes . The Commission, which has regulatory enforcement powers, will no doubt be subjecting the actions of the sector to close scrutiny.
ECU has received requests from the sector for help and advice on carrying out equality impact assessments on their restructuring or redundancy procedures. In response we have produced this briefing to help institutions identify when impact assessments are requires, who needs to be included in the process and how, as well as the steps to take if negative impacts are identified.'
Equality in restructuring and redundancy: Equality impact assessments in higher education provides institutions with a practical starting point for carrying out equality impact assessments, and will be useful for staff working in senior management roles, strategy teams, human resources departments and equality and diversity teams.
Download the briefing
Follow the link below to download the ECU briefing:
 The Equality and Human Rights Commission, Making fair financial decisions: A briefing note for further and higher education institutions