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An Introduction to Diversity Impact Assessment

Updated on May 5, 2010

What is a diversity impact assessment?

A diversity impact assessment is an analysis of the potential or actual effects of an official policy or informal local practice to check whether it could have an adverse impact on different groups of people:

Why do I have to complete a diversity impact assessment?

All public organisations have statutory duty to consider the impact its policies and services have on:

  • Disability
  • Gender and Gender Identity
  • Race
Therefore it is a legal requirement that all public organisations carry out diversity impact assessments for all new or revised policies. It is also be a legal requirement to consider the impact policies and services have on disabled people. 
However, it is good practice to consider all potential diversity impacts not just those that relate to race equality or disability. The current work to establish a Commission for Equality and Human Rights underlines this approach. 
The organisation’s impact assessments will therefore consider all diversity impacts to ensure it doesn’t discriminate against anyone on the grounds of:
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Religion or belief
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Flexible working arrangements

Diversity Training Course

When should I do a diversity impact assessment?

You must complete an impact assessment: 

  • As soon as you start to develop a new internal or external policy  
  • As soon as you decide to make changes to an existing policy 
  • As soon as you decide to develop a new local practice or change an existing local practice

The diversity impact assessments work best when they are started early and are developed alongside new policies or practices, or as soon as you decide to change an existing policy or practice. 

They should be refined and revised as more becomes known about the likely impacts and will not normally be finished until your policy or practice is very close to being implemented.

This will ensure that the organisation anticipates the way its policies and services are likely to work in practice and will: 

Introduce diversity into its policies and services from the earliest development stage by ensuring they recognise the diverse needs, circumstances and concerns of the people affected by them

Show up adverse impacts on different groups of people, enabling alternatives to be considered which should (as far as possible) minimise or counterbalance the adverse impact

Ensure greater openness and public involvement in policy making decisions and increase public confidence in the services the organisation provides

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination 
  • Promote equal opportunities
  • Promote good race relations between people from different racial origin


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