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Equality screening outcome report: Age Friendly Belfast Plan 2022-2026

Published in October 2022


Contents


Overview of screening template

The council has a statutory duty to screen. This includes our strategies, plans, policies, legislative developments; and new ways of working such as the introduction, change or end of an existing service, grant funding arrangement or facility. This screening template is designed to help departments consider the likely equality impacts of their proposed decisions on different groups of customers, service users, staff and visitors.    

Before carrying out an equality screening exercise it is important that you have received the necessary training first. To find out about the training needed or any other queries on screening, contact the Equality and Diversity Officer Lorraine Dennis on extension 6027 or Lisa McKee on extension 6310 or by email equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

The accompanying screening guidance note provides straightforward advice on how to carry out equality screening exercises. Detailed information about the Section 75 equality duties and what they mean in practice is available on the Equality Commission’s website[1]

The screening template has four sections to complete. These are:

  • Section A  provides details about the policy or decision that is being screened
  • Section B gives information on the consultation process, supporting evidence gathered and has four key questions outlining the likely impacts on all equality groups
  • Section C has four key questions in relation to obligations under the Disability Discrimination Order  
  • Section D is the formal record of the screening decision

Section A

Details about the policy or decision to be screened

1. Title of policy or decision to be screened

Age Friendly Belfast Plan 2022-2026

2. Brief description of policy or decision to be screened

(Explain if this is a new, revised or existing policy. Are there financial, legislative or procurement implications?)

This is a continuation of the Age Friendly Project.

The Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership (HASP) leads the Age Friendly process supported by Belfast City Council

The Age Friendly Belfast second delivery cycle (2018-2021 Age Friendly Action Plan) has been completed and HASP have evaluated the progress, produced an Age- friendly Belfast progress report, and developed a new four-year plan 2022 -2026 for public consultation

Currently there are no legislative or procurement implications, but The Belfast Agenda commits us to ensure an Age Friendly Belfast.

Financial implications relate to the implementation of the Age Friendly Belfast Plan, and Belfast City Council Contribution is covered through existing resources.

Age Friendly background

In 2012, Belfast City Council All Party Reference Group on Older People provided the initial leadership to explore Belfast becoming an Age-friendly City. Subsequently, in May 2012, the Lord Mayor signed a declaration committing Belfast to this process That commitment was reconfirmed within the Belfast Agenda.

An Age Friendly City must:

1. Establish mechanisms to involve older people throughout the Age Friendly process

2. Develop a baseline assessment of the age-friendliness of the city under eight domains:

  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Social participation
  • Respect and social inclusion
  • Civic participation and engagement
  • Communication and information
  • Community support and health services
  • Outdoor spaces and buildings

3. Develop a three-year city-wide action plan

4. Identify measurements to monitor progress against this plan.

It was clear that in order to consider and develop these domains we would have to work in partnership with a wide range of voluntary, community and public organisations providing services for older people. Many of the organisations were already members of the then Belfast Strategic Partnership (BSP) which had identified healthy ageing as a priority within its framework for action to reduce life inequalities in Belfast. It was therefore agreed by the council that BSP should lead the Age Friendly process supported by the existing Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership. The Belfast Strategic Partnership no longer exists so HASP is the governance lead.

It is also clear that a wide range of council departments and services are essential to the features of an Age-friendly city and there is a need to engage senior officers from across the organisation to deliver this project.

HASP have been using a range of mechanisms to engage with older people and key stakeholders across the city with a view to identifying priority areas for the next four years and updating the baseline assessment.

These have included working with community planning and partner organisations to utilise existing data sets.

Consultants were commissioned (Eos Community Consulting CIC) to develop a revised baseline report, an impact report with key stakeholders and to co-ordinate a consultation process and ensure links to other Belfast and regional strategies for example refreshed Belfast Agenda and co-designing the new regional Active Ageing Strategy.

These consultation events and partnership workshops and meetings took place:

  • Shankill Older People’s Forum                              10 people
  • South and East Belfast Older People's Forums      8 people
  • West Belfast Seniors' Forum                                 28 people     
  • Healthy Living Centres                                          two organisations
  • Dementia Friendly Neighbourhood Groups          20 people and organisations
  • Age Friendly Workshop in Belfast City Hall          80 people
    (older people andrepresentative groups from
    north, south, east and west of the city)
  • Public and voluntary sector stakeholders              40 people and organisations
  • Postcard surveys at men’s health day,                  300 people
  • Tea dances and other events

3. Aims and objectives of the policy or decision to be screened

(What is the policy trying to achieve?)

Our vision remains

Belfast – A City where older people live life to the full

Consultation has identified these four strategic themes and associated actions for the draft AFBP.

1. Infrastructure: getting out and about

  • Developing a joined-up approach to engagement and co-design with older people on local and city centre physical developments
  • Development of age friendly design principles which can be used to inform existing and planned provision and physical developments
  • Review and improve access to seating and toilets, particularly in the city centre and parks and open spaces
  • Continue to raise awareness and provide training for service providers on the access needs of older people.

2. Social connections

  • Support the recovery of existing services and development of new initiatives to reduce isolation and loneliness, led by Age Partnership Belfast.
  • Co-ordinate an Age Friendly Belfast annual programme, led by BCC Age Friendly Co-ordinator, supported by Tourism, Culture, Heritage and Arts Unit.
  • Develop local connection hubs and a city centre hub where older people can meet each other and access information.
  • Develop dementia carers' cafés in all four dementia friendly neighbourhoods, led by Dementia Friendly Neighbourhood groups and supported by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
  • Develop a joint recruitment drive to encourage older people to re-engage in volunteering and recruit new volunteers and celebrate older volunteers with annual awards.

3. Health and wellbeing

  • Work with the Greater Belfast Seniors' forum to link with GP representatives and multi-disciplinary teams on a regular basis to improve access to services, led by Age Partnership Belfast
  • Support 600 to 800 older people (most in need) to improve their mobility levels and to feel more connected and less lonely, led by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, supported by BHDU.  (This is the older people’s priority for the refreshed Belfast Agenda).
  • Promote key messages and connect older people’s programmes that seek to increase their strength and mobility, including fall prevention.
  • Involve older people in the development of the ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’ approach.

4. Financial security and cost of living

  • Involve older people in developing accessible information on financial security and increasing access to services that will contribute to increased financial security.
  • Deliver ‘Be prepared’ information events across the city which focus on financial security, benefits uptake and scam awareness.
  • Promote information and raise awareness of access to services through older people’s forums.
  • Work to normalise and reduce stigma of older people accessing financial entitlements, led by the Age Friendly NI network supported BCC Age Friendly Co-ordinator.
  • Support and inform wider policy level work on food and fuel poverty for example food waste reduction projects, promotion of fuel stamps, links to foodbanks and social supermarkets to ensure that the needs of older people are reflected and met.
  • Support and develop the Age at Work campaign which is delivered by Business in the Community and Age NI which support employers and older employees to enable older employees to remain in work.  

4. Who will the policy or decision impact?

Consider the internal and external impacts (both actual or potential) and explain.

People Actual or potential impact
Staff Yes
Service users

Yes

Other public sector organisations

Yes

Voluntary and community groups, trade unions              

Yes

Others No

5. Are there linkages to other agencies or departments?

The Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership (HASP) will co-ordinate delivery of the four-year Age Friendly Belfast Plan. It will submit a detailed action plan to the World Health Organisation (WHO) with agreed indicators. HASP will periodically monitor and publish progress against the action plan and report to council. After four years, HASP will evaluate the project, identify successes and areas for future improvement. The evaluation report will be submitted to BSP and subsequently to WHO. The HASP Age Friendly team will also provide specific support for the development of the positive ageing campaign, Age Friendly charter, intergenerational work and the Age Friendly Convention.

Lead organisations as identified will oversee the delivery and performance management of relevant aspects of the Age Friendly action plan and report progress to HASP.

HASP involves these organisations:

  • Age NI
  • The Alzheimer’s Society
  • Belfast City Council
  • Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
  • Belfast Healthy Cities
  • Department for Infrastructure
  • Department for Communities
  • Engage with Age
  • Greater Belfast Seniors Forum
  • Linking Generations Northern Ireland
  • North Belfast Senior Citizens' Forum
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Public Health Agency
  • Volunteer Now

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Section B

Information on the consultation process, supporting evidence gathered and has four key questions outlining the likely impacts for equality and good relations

6.  Outline consultation process planned or achieved

In compiling this report we have drawn upon a range of data, research reports and strategy documents. We specifically refer to the following pieces of work:

  • Belfast City Council Residents' Survey 2021. A stratified sample meeting quotas for gender and age that covered all district electoral areas and wards across Belfast.
  • The Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing Key findings report (the NICOLA Study), Queen’s University Belfast
  • NISRA’s NINIS site and their Belfast Age-friendly profile

These consultation events and partnership workshops and meetings took place:

  • Shankill Older People’s Forum                              10 people
  • South and East Belfast Older People's Forums     eight people
  • West Belfast Seniors' Forum                                 28 people     
  • Healthy Living Centres                                          two organisations
  • Dementia Friendly Neighbourhood Groups          20 people and organisations
  • Age Friendly Workshop in Belfast City Hall           80 people
    (older people and representative groups
    from north, south, east and west of the city) 
  • Public and voluntary sector stakeholders              40 people or organisations
  • Postcard responses                                              300 people

7.  Available evidence

What evidence or information (both qualitative and quantitative) have you gathered to inform this policy? Set out all evidence to help inform your screening assessment.

It is important to record information gathered from various sources such as:

  • monitoring information
  • complaints
  • research surveys
  • consultation exercises from other public authorities
Section 75 category Details of evidence, information and engagement
Religious belief

Details of the city wide consultation process and evidence gathering are described in 6.

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a city wide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Political opinion

Details of the city wide consultation process and evidence gathering are described in 6.

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a city wide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Belfast City Council All Party Reference group on Older people meet quarterly to direct the work of Age Friendly Belfast, they meet with The Greater Belfast Seniors' Forum at least annually to discuss issues facing older people.

Racial group

Details of the city wide consultation process and evidence gathering are described in 6.

We ensured older Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups came to consultation events.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust completed a report 'Black and Minority Ethnic Groups: Health and Wellbeing of Older People in Belfast' that we used to identify barriers and create actions.

Age

While the WHO Age Friendly process is aimed at older people, the plan will benefit all ages.
 “Older person” means a person aged 60 or over as stated in the Commissioner for Older People Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. We will present the draft plan to BCC Youth Forum and ask for feedback

Marital status

Details of the city wide consultation process and evidence gathering are described in 6.
The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a city wide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Sexual orientation

 Details of the city wide consultation process and evidence gathering are described in 6.
The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a city wide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.
We ensured older LGBTQI+ groups came to consultation events.

Men and women generally

Details of the city wide consultation process and evidence gathering are described in 6.
The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a city wide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.
There are older females than males living in Belfast. Men aged 65 and over make up 6.5 per cent of Belfast’s population, and women aged 65 and over make up 8.5 per cent.

Disability

Research and work with older people tell us that accessibility is a key consideration when designing services that meet their needs. For some older people, accessibility can be compounded by one or more of the additional factors listed.  The Age friendly Belfast plan considers the additional needs of older people:

  • Living with a physical disability
  • Living with a sensory impairment
  • Living with dementia
  • Living with mobility issues 
  • Living with a long-term illness
Dependants

 A number of the older people consulted are carers, either for partners, other relatives or grandchildren.


8. What is the likely impact (indicate if the policy impact is positive or negative) on equality of opportunity for those affected by this policy, for each of the Section 75 equality categories? What is the level of impact?

Section 75 category Details of impact Level of impact
Religious belief The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city. Minor positive impact
Political opinion 

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Minor positive impact
Racial group 

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Minor positive impact

Age

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city and subsequently all older people in the city.

Minor positive impact
Marital status

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Minor positive impact
Sexual orientation The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city. Minor positive impact
Men and women generally The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city. Minor positive impact
Disability

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Some issues relating to older people also affect disabled people so will benefit them as well.

Minor positive impact

 Dependants

The Age Friendly Belfast Plan is a citywide plan that will benefit all older people in the city.

Minor positive impact

9.  Are there opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity for people within the Section 75 equalities categories?

Section 75 category If 'yes', provide details If 'no', provide reasons
Religious belief This is not applicable

Same equality of opportunity for all older people

Political opinion  Yes, through Pensioners' Parliament and Belfast City Council All Party Reference Group on Older People

Same equality of opportunity for all older people

Racial group 

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust completed a report Black and Minority Ethnic Groups: Health and Wellbeing of Older People in Belfast, that we used to identify barriers and create actions.

This is not applicable

Age The plan is primarily aimed at older people although there will be intergenerational activities delivered through the plan. 

This is not applicable

Marital status There are specific groups for men, Men's Sheds and Men United and also some women-only groups for example PWA, Knot and Natter but also a large number of mixed groups and activities.

Same equality of opportunity for all older people

Sexual orientation

We plan to work with Cara-friend current and future needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender older people in Belfast so we can act on them.

This is not applicable

Men and women generally  This is not applicable

Same equality of opportunity for all older people

Disability

Developing a joined-up approach to engagement and co-design with older people on local and city centre physical developments.

Development of age-friendly design principles which can be used to inform existing and planned provision and physical developments.

Review and improve access to seating and toilets, particularly in the city centre and parks and open spaces.

Continue to raise awareness and provide training for service providers on the access needs of older people.

Same equality of opportunity for all older people

 Dependants

Continue events for carers in particular Dementia Friendly carers' cafés and Bring your Grandparents to the Park Day.

This is not applicable


10. To what extent is the policy likely to impact (positive or negatively) on good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group? What is the level of impact? 

Good relations category Likely impact Level of impact
Religious belief

People from all over the city attend citywide events together

Minor, positive impact
Political opinion  People from all over the city attend citywide events together Minor, positive impact
Racial group People from all over the city attend citywide events together Minor, positive impact

11.  Are there opportunities to better promote good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group?  

Good relations category If 'yes', provide details
Religious belief Yes, people from all over the city attend citywide events together
Political opinion 

Yes, people from all over the city attend citywide events together

Racial group  Yes, people from all over the city attend citywide events together

Section C

Belfast City Council also has legislative obligations to meet under the Disability Discrimination Order. Questions 12 and 13 relate to these areas.

Consideration of Disability Duties

12. Does this proposed policy or decision provide an opportunity for the council to better promote positive attitudes towards disabled people?

Explain your assessment in full

Research and work with older people tell us that accessibility is a key consideration when designing services that meet their needs. For some older people, accessibility can be compounded by one or more of these additional factors as listed. The Age friendly Belfast plan will consider the additional needs of older people:

  • Living with a physical disability
  • Living with a sensory impairment
  • Living with dementia
  • Living with mobility issues
  • Living with a long-term illness

13. Does this proposed policy or decision provide an opportunity to actively increase the participation by disabled people in public life?
Explain your assessment in full

Yes. 

There will be events, activities, influencing new infrastructure work, improving accessibility that will actively increase the participation of disabled people in public life. More local events that would be easier for disabled people to access.


14. Multiple identities. Provide details of data on the impact of the policy with multiple identities

There is no information on the impact of the plan on people with multiple identities, however it is envisaged that there will be opportunities for people with multiple identities to participate, resulting in a positive impact.


15. Monitoring arrangements

Section 75 places a requirement the council to have equality monitoring arrangements in place:

  • to assess the impact of policies and services
  • to help identify barriers to fair participation
  • to better promote equality of opportunity

Outline what data you will collect in the future to monitor the impact of this policy or decision on equality, good relations and disability duties.

Equality Good Relations Disability Duties

We will carry out a midway survey, an end of plan survey and monitor complaints.

We will carry out a midway survey, an end of plan survey and monitor complaints.

We will carry out a midway survey, an end of plan survey and monitor complaints.


Section D

Formal record of screening decision.

Title of proposed policy or decision being screened 

 Age Friendly Belfast Plan 2022-2026

I can confirm that the proposed policy or decision has been screened for:

  • equality of opportunity and good relations
  • disability duties
On the basis of the answers to the screening questions, I recommend that this policy or decision is
Screened in 
It is necessary to conduct an equality impact assessment
Not applicable

Screened out  It is not necessary to conduct an equality impact assessment (no impacts)
There are no negative impacts identified.

Yes

Screened out
Mitigating actions (minor impacts)

  • Provide a brief note to explain how this decision was reached
  • Explain what mitigating actions or policy changes will now be introduced.

Screening assessment completed by

Name:    Gillian McEvoy
Date:       2 August 2022
Department:   City and Neighbourhood Services


For more information about equality screening, contact:

Lorraine Dennis 
Equality and Diversity Officer
Belfast City Council
Belfast City Hall
Belfast
BT1 5GS
Telephone:  028 9027 0511
Email: equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

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Footnotes

[1] Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (link opens in new window)

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