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Equality and diversity

Equality screening outcome report: Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund

Published in December 2022


Contents

Overview of the screening template
Section A Details about the policy or decision to be screened
1. Title or policy or decision to be screened
2. Brief description of policy or decision to be screened
3. Aims and objectives of policy or decision to be screened
4. Who will the policy or decision impact?
5. Are there linkages to other agencies or departments?
Section B Information on the consultation process
6. Outline consultation process planned or achieved
7. Available evidence
8. What is the likely impact on equality of opportunity for those affected by this policy, for each of the Section 75 equality categories?
9. Are there opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity for people in Section 75 equality categories?
10. To what extent is the policy likely to impact good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group?
11. Are there opportunities to better promote good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group?
Section C 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?
13.  Does this proposed policy or decision provide an opportunity to actively increase the participation by disabled people in public life?
14.  Provide details of data on the impact of the policy with multiple identities
15. Monitoring arrangements
Section D
Formal record of screening decision
Screening assessment completed
Screening decision approved
Footnotes


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 or Lisa McKee on extension 6310 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. [Footnote 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

Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund 

2. Brief description of policy or decision to be screened

In response to the unprecedented increases in energy and utility costs and the impact of the growing cost-of-living crisis on household incomes, Belfast City Council identified an urgent need to bring forward support for those vulnerable households in need.

Given the scale and complexity of the challenges being faced by households across the city, at its meeting on 1st December 2022, Belfast City Council agreed to allocate £1million towards the implementation of a Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund which would distribute £100 vouchers for either oil/electricity/gas or a split between them. The formal agreement reached at the full council meeting was:

"In terms of the delivery model, to adopt Option 2 within the report, to use the Local Strategic Partners, and agrees also that the Ashton Centre replace Intercomm as a Strategic Partner in North Belfast and that the Greater Shankill Community Council replace the Greater Shankill Partnership as a Strategic Partner in West Belfast.

i. to increase the Hardship fund to £1million, with this allocation to be met, in the first instance, from departmental underspends and from the realignment of specified reserves, if required;
ii. it would be paid before Christmas if the groups have the capacity to do so;
iii. to endorse the design principles;
iv. to endorse the recommendation to establish a Cost-of-Living Task Group, with membership to be confirmed but to include, as a minimum, representatives from the council, the Department for Communities, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Belfast Area Partnerships, to ensure that effective referral pathways are created to support the most vulnerable within the city;
v. to endorse the eligibility criteria subject to an increase in the gross annual household income eligibility to £60k, to ensure that those most in need, including the working poor, were targeted;
vi. that there be sufficient flexibility in the scheme to ensure that householders using forms of heating other than oil and payment methods other than vouchers are included to include those using direct debits as a payment method and that this be referred to the Cost-of-Living Task Group to work out the detail;
vii. to note that correspondence had been forwarded to the Department of Communities requesting that consideration be given to potential match funding for the Fuel Hardship Scheme, as requested within the motion;
viii. to note that the design and delivery of the scheme would have implications internally, particularly for those staff leading on community planning and on community capacity/neighbourhood integration and that assistance would also be required from the Finance and Audit Sections, in terms of ensuring that all necessary requirements and regulations were met;
ix. to note that, in anticipation of any additional funding becoming available, including through Government departments, council officers were currently developing a funding framework, details of which would be provided at the committee meeting in December; and
x. agreed that a report be submitted to the committee within the next two months providing an update on the work being undertaken to review the strategic and thematic partners.”

Design principles

The design principles for the fund agreed by the council at its meeting on 1 December were:

i. Ability to provide direct support to help with rising fuel costs through the allocation of a one-off £100 fuel voucher (gas, oil and electric or mixture)
ii. Adopts a timely process to identify need and allocate funds in a managed and prudent way
iii. Supports and encourages self-efficacy through a streamlined referral and eligibility process whilst ensuring compliance with audit and assurance requirements
iv. Delivery partners must have capacity at present and a proven track record of delivering similar schemes
v. The scheme must be transparent and accessible to those who need it within the budget constraints
vi. Standard eligibility criteria will be developed and applied consistently

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria agreed by the council at its meeting on 1 December, includes:

i. A member of the household is entitled to free school meals
ii. A member of the household has recently become unemployed
iii. A member of the household is in receipt of means tested benefits
iv. The household is in debt with an energy provider
v. The gross annual income is less than £60,000

Funding allocations

In keeping with previous funding allocation models the fund will be distributed amongst the nine strategic area community partners based on the allocation method of 50 per cent population and 50 per cent need, using multiple deprivation as a proxy.

Funding allocation table

Belfast area 50 per cent
Population (percentage every £)
50 per cent MDM
(percentage every £)

POP
allocation
(£)

MDM
allocation
(£)
Total
North 0.2 0.296 £99,950 £147,926 £247,876
South 0.167 0.179 £89,455 £89,455 £172,914
East 0.317 0.163 £81,459 £81,459 £239,880
West 0.25 0.286 £142,929 £149,929 £267,866
Shankill 0.067 0.076 £37,981 £37,981 £71,464
Total 1 1 £499,750 £499,750 £1,000,000

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

The aim of the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund is to provide support to those vulnerable individuals and households experiencing financial hardship during the winter period. Whilst the budget available is limited, the ambition is that this will help reach those most in need through the application of pre-set eligibility criteria as set out:

i. A member of the household is entitled to free school meals
ii. A member of the household has recently become unemployed
iii. A member of the household is in receipt of means tested benefits
iv. The household is in debt with an energy provider
v. The gross annual income is less than £60,000 


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
  • Staff from across the council will be assigned to help with the allocation and management of the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund for example legal, finance, communications, delivery and verification
  • Staff will need to prioritise this work – steps are already in place to manage potential workload
Service users Yes
  • Residents who receive support as part of this programme 
Other public sector organisations No
Voluntary, community groups and trade unions Yes
  • Those voluntary and community groups who were identified by elected members to administer the scheme will have to apply for the funding and, if approved, will have to manage associated delivery, monitoring and verification processes

5. Are there linkages to other agencies or departments?

The council has established linkages through community planning and neighbourhood structures and will utilise these in the promotion of the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund.

The Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund is one of many support/advisory services available to citizens and the council will play a civic leadership role, working with key statutory, community and voluntary partners, in terms of highlighting the appropriate support and advice that is available in the city.

In addition, the establishment of a cost-of-living task force will also include representatives from relevant community and statutory stakeholders who will work to ensure a joined-up approach to addressing poverty in the city.


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

Given the urgency of providing support to vulnerable people this winter this is an exceptional circumstance and within this context it has not been possible to conduct a full consultation exercise. However, Belfast City Council has an excellent track record of distributing funding to the city’s community, voluntary and business sectors.

We will ensure the support available through the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund will reach those most in need on an equitable and inclusive basis through the application of pre-set eligibility criteria and effective monitoring and verification processes built into the project management system.


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 a variety of sources such as:

  • monitoring information
  • complaints
  • research surveys
  • consultation exercises from other public authorities

The council is of the view that the distribution and allocation of the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund will not have specific adverse impacts on any Section 75 group. However, the future analysis of available data and monitoring may illustrate a number of key inequalities which future implementation of the fund or similar schemes may help to address.

  • This fund has the potential to promote equality and good relations, while addressing issues of fuel poverty and vulnerability, particularly amongst older people, younger people, and Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups.
  • Further monies may be made available to help address the cost-of-living crisis and associated impacts on poverty levels in the city and data/evidence found during the delivery of this scheme will assist and inform future screening.
  • One of the other key issues is to ensure a need for balanced funding across the city and to ensure the most marginalised, and those who may now be described as vulnerable, get access to this assistance
  • In developing the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund, Belfast City Council has ensured that Section 75 obligations are met to the fullest possible extent within the exceptional situation of a restricted timeline for scheme development, and delivery where possible over the Christmas period, and that the promotion of equality of opportunity and good relations considerations are at the core of the Fund’s distribution.
  • Review and monitoring systems will be established for this funding by the council to inform the future development of this and/or similar schemes should additional funding become available.
Section 75 category Details of evidence information and engagement
Religious belief

 In 2015, the council boundary extended as a result of local government reform and the census data shows that 49 per cent of the usual residents were from a Catholic community background compared with 42 per cent from a Protestant or other Christian related background. 1.6 per cent of the population of Belfast identified as being brought up in other religions and 7.1 per cent identified as brought up with no religion.

Political opinion

In the last local government election held on 2 May 2019, 28.2 per cent of first preference votes were cast for Sinn Féin (SF), 21.6 per cent for the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 15.7 per cent for the Alliance Party, 9.1 per cent for the Social, Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), 6.2 per cent for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 6.0 per cent for the Green Party, 5.2 per cent for the People before Profit Alliance and 3.1 per cent for the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). A total of 60 councillors were elected to Belfast City Council. The results of May 2019 elections to Belfast City Council are shown in Table 1

Racial group

Country of birth statistics taken from the last census in 2011, show that 6.55 per cent of all usual residents were born outside the UK and Ireland. Almost a third of this group (2.1 per cent of all residents) were born in Middle East and Asia.

The Census showed that the most commonly spoken languages in Belfast (excluding English and Irish) are Polish (1.22 per cent), Chinese (0.30 per cent), Tagalog/Filipino (0.24 per cent) and Slovak (0.17 per cent). 

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has recently published data on language use for Northern Ireland as a whole which shows that very high proportions of residents whose main language is Tagalog / Filipino (99 per cent), Irish (98 per cent) or Malayalam (92 per cent) can speak English well or very well.  However, the figures are much lower for those who speak mainly Chinese (61 per cent), Lithuanian (62 per cent), Slovak (64 per cent), Polish (66 per cent), Russian (66 per cent), Hungarian (68 per cent), Latvian (71 per cent) or Portuguese (73 per cent).

There are also variations in terms of age group with over 50 per cent of those whose main language is not English aged between   25-44, compared with 28 per cent of those whose main language is English. People from BAME communities have been identified as COVID-19 vulnerable and there is emerging evidence to support this for example in July 2020 UK a new £2.1m research study investigating the risks of COVID-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers was launched, after evidence has emerged that higher proportions of associated deaths within these groups were recorded- more than twice that of the white population https://www.leicesterbrc.nihr.ac.uk/new-2-1m-uk-study-launched-to-investigate-covid-19-risks-for-bame-healthcare-staff/

Main languages spoken

Table 2 shows that 4.94 per cent of Belfast households contain at least one person who does not have English as a main language and in 2.71 per cent of households, no-one has English as a main language.

Age

The age profile of Belfast is similar to that of the wider region. Almost one in five residents (19.23 per cent) are aged under 16, slightly lower than the Northern Ireland average (20.95 per cent). The working age population (aged 16- to 64 years) make up two-thirds (66.32 per cent) of all Belfast residents. Older people (aged 65 and over) currently account for 14.44 per cent of the Belfast population. In particular older people and children have been identified as COVID-19 vulnerable.

Marital status

Just over one third (35.6 per cent) of all usual residents in Belfast (aged 16 years and over) are married – a relatively low proportion when compared with the Northern Ireland average (47.6 per cent). Belfast has a higher percentage (45.3 per cent) of residents who are single when compared with the Northern Ireland average (36.1 per cent). There is also a higher than average proportion of people in Belfast who are separated (5.4 per cent compared to 4 per cent NI average) and divorced (6.2 per cent to 5.5 per cent NI average).Belfast also has 353 residents (0.1 per cent) who are in a registered same-sex civil partnership, almost a third of all such partnerships in Northern Ireland.

Sexual orientation

Several UK and NI based studies have attempted to quantify the number of people who identify as LGB. Estimates for LGB population range from 0.3 to 10 per cent using different sources. A commonly used estimate of LGB people in the UK, accepted by Stonewall UK, is approximately 5 to 7 per cent of the population.

Men and women generally

Belfast has a higher female population (52 per cent of all residents), slightly higher than the Northern Ireland average of 51 per cent. The difference is largest in the over 65 population, where 59.3 per cent of all residents are female.

Disability

The Census 2011 showed that almost one quarter (23 per cent) of Belfast residents has a long term health problem or disability which affects their day-to-day activities.  This is 

This is a higher proportion than the Northern Ireland average (20.1 per cent). Over one-third of Belfast residents reported that they had a long-term condition (defined as a condition which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months). The most common conditions were mobility or dexterity difficulty (39 per cent of all those affected), pain or discomfort (34 per cent), shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (31 per cent) and emotional, psychological or mental health condition (23 per cent).

Deafness and hearing loss

COVID-19 has had a particular negative impact for this group. For example, The Royal National Institute for Deaf (RNID) Director of Policy and Campaigns, Roger Wicks, advised media in January 2021 that COVID-19 pandemic created more barriers and challenges for deaf people and those with hearing loss and tinnitus.

Table 3 provides information on people with deafness (or partial hearing loss), blindness (or partial sight loss) and other communication difficulty. The Northern Ireland Census does not provide information on users of sign language or readers of Braille. The Department for Communities estimates that approximately 5,000 people in Northern Ireland use sign language as the preferred means of communication, with 3,500 people using BSL and 1,500 using ISL.

Dependants

The Belfast City Council Residents’ Survey 2014 reported that 32.3 per cent of the population have dependants or caring responsibilities. The 2011 Census shows that 28.58 per cent of households in Belfast include dependent children, compared with the Northern Ireland average of 33.86 per cent.

Table 1 Councillors from political parties elected to Belfast City Council in May 2019

Political party Total elected candidates
Sinn Féin 18
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 15
Alliance Party 10
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 6
Green Party Northern Ireland 4
People Before Profit Alliance 3
Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland 2
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) 2

Table 2 Census 2011 information for use of English as a main language in households

Use of English as main language in households Belfast Northern Ireland
Responses Percentage Responses Percentage
All people aged 16 years and older in household have English as a main language  134,567 95.06 678,135 96.43
At least one but not all people aged 16 years and older in household have English as a main language 2,734 1.93 8,618 1.23
No people aged 16 years and older in household but at least one person aged between 3 and 15 years has English as a main language 433 0.31 1,546 0.22
No people in household have English as a main language 3,883 2.71 14,976 2.13

Table 3 Percentages of people in Belfast and Northern Ireland with blindness, sight loss or a communication difficulty

Disability Belfast population Northern Ireland population
Number of people Percentage Number of people Percentage
People with blindness or partial sight loss 6,729 2.02 per cent 30,862 1.70 per cent
People with a communication difficulty 6,460 1.93 per cent 29,871 1.65 per cent

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 Likely impact Level of impact
Religious belief We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be adversely impacted by this decision. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how stakeholders may be affected by this fund, and the level of impact. None
Political opinion  We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be adversely impacted by this decision. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how stakeholders may be affected by this fund, and the level of impact. None
Racial group 

It is recognised that people from a minority ethnic background may have more difficulties accessing public services, particularly if English is not their first language, or who lack the cultural knowledge on how to get assistance. Census data from 2011 shows that for 4.34 per cent of the Belfast population (aged three and over) English was not their main language, a higher proportion than the Northern Ireland average (3.14 per cent).

Minor, positive
Age

It is recognised that people who are older are more likely to be vulnerable to the worst impacts of the cost-of-living crisis. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how stakeholders may be affected by this funding, and the level of impact. There may be some young people on low incomes who may be vulnerable to impacts of poverty and associated impacts on health and wellbeing.

Minor, positive
Marital status We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be adversely impacted by this funding. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how stakeholders may be affected by this funding, and the level of impact. None
Sexual orientation We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be adversely impacted by this funding. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how stakeholders may be affected by this funding, and the level of impact. None
Men and women generally  We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be adversely impacted by this funding. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how stakeholders may be affected by this funding, and the level of impact. None
Disability

It is recognised that disabled people are more likely to be vulnerable to the Cost-of-Living crisis. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how disabled stakeholders may be affected by this funding, and the level of impact. People with disabilities may have difficulty in accessing information or access to this funding.

Minor, positive
Dependants

It is recognised that people with dependants   are more likely to be vulnerable to the Cost-of-living crisis. The monitoring and review of the process will help us to better understand how these stakeholders may be affected by this funding, and the level of impact.

Minor, positive

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

Section 75 category Likely impact Level of impact
Religious belief This is not applicable We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be impacted by this decision.
Political opinion  This is not applicable We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be impacted by this decision.
Racial group 

We recognise that there may be additional barriers for people from different racial groups in accessing services through the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund. We will highlight this issue to our delivery partners and ask them to use appropriate channels to raise awareness of the service amongst people from different racial groups in their delivery area.

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during the current Cost of living crisis and any other future emergency situations.

 
Age

We recognise that there may be additional barriers for older people in accessing services through the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund. We will highlight this issue to our delivery partners and ask them to use appropriate channels to raise awareness of the service amongst older people in their delivery area.

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during the current Cost of living crisis and any other future emergency situations.

 
Marital status This is not applicable We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be impacted by this decision.
Sexual orientation This is not applicable We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be impacted by this decision.
Men and women generally  This is not applicable We do not hold evidence at the current time that people from this group will be impacted by this decision.
Disability

We recognise that there may be additional barriers for people with disabilities in accessing services through the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund. We will highlight this issue to our delivery partners and ask them to use appropriate channels to raise awareness of the service amongst people with disabilities in their delivery area. 

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during the current Cost of living crisis and any other future emergency situations.

 
Dependants

We recognise that there may be additional barriers for people with disabilities in accessing services through the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund. We will highlight this issue to our delivery partners and ask them to use appropriate channels to raise awareness of the service amongst people with disabilities in their delivery area. 

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during the current Cost of living crisis and any other future emergency situations.

 

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

The provision of Fuel Poverty Hardship Funding to target need and alleviate poverty and to be distributed across Belfast by the council has been processed urgently using existing contacts with local communities with a view to ensuring that all parts of the city are covered and thus all eligible residents, regardless of religious belief, are able to apply. 

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during the current Cost of living crisis and any other future emergency situations.

None
Political opinion 

The provision of Fuel Poverty Hardship Funding to target need and alleviate poverty and to be distributed across Belfast by the council has been processed urgently using existing contacts with local communities with a view to ensuring that all parts of the city are covered and thus all eligible residents, regardless of religious belief, are able to apply. 

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during the current Cost of living crisis and any other future emergency situations.

None
Racial group 

The provision of Fuel Poverty Hardship Funding to target need and alleviate poverty and to be distributed across Belfast by the council has been processed urgently using existing contacts with local communities with a view to ensuring that all parts of the city are covered and thus all eligible residents, regardless of religious belief, are able to apply. 

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during the current Cost of living crisis and any other future emergency situations.

None

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

Good relations category Likely impact Level of impact
Religious belief

Not at this stage. Further information will be gathered from the review and monitoring process

None
Political opinion 

Not at this stage. Further information will be gathered from the review and monitoring process

None
Racial group 

Not at this stage. Further information will be gathered from the review and monitoring process

None

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

Implementation of the Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund is intended to provide additional support to those who are in need this winter and may promote positive attitudes to disabled people by addressing their needs, concerns relating to enhanced communication and assistance.


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

This is not applicable.


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 poverty fund on people with multiple identities, however there will be opportunities for people with multiple identities to access this funding 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

Section 75 places a requirement for the council to have equality monitoring arrangements in place in order to assess the impact of policies and services and to help identify barriers to fair participation and 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 and Good Relations

The provision of Fuel Poverty Hardship Funding to target need and alleviate poverty and to be distributed across Belfast has been processed quickly in order to address urgent need using existing contacts with local communities. 

The review and monitoring process relating to the distribution of funding together with any queries and/or complaints received and recorded will provide valuable information.

This approach should allow the council to articulate its commitment to supporting section 75 groups and look for opportunities to assess the likely impact on equality of opportunity and good relations to those who are vulnerable or may become vulnerable during an emergency or the current Cost of living crisis.


Section D

Formal record of screening decision

Title of proposed policy or decision being screened

Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund

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
 

Screened out
It is not necessary to conduct an equality impact assessment (no impacts)

 

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.

  • The Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund will be managed through pre-set eligibility criteria with the aim of supporting those in most need.
  • The Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund will be managed through effective monitoring, reporting and verification processes which will provide valuable data and insights in relation to the delivery of the scheme and inform the delivery of future projects.
  • Ensure the information received from the monitoring reviews and are fed into further funding opportunities and associated delivery mechanisms
  • Ensure existing vulnerable individuals and groups received information in a fair, inclusive and accessible manner
  • Further screenings may be carried out at the appropriate stages in the implementation of the funding should this be deemed necessary
X

Screening assessment completed by

Name:   Brian Carr
Date:   7 December 2022
Department:  City and Organisational Strategy


Screening decision approved by

Name:  David Sales
Date:  20 February 2023
Department: City and Neighbourhood Services


Please save the Word final version of the completed screening form and email to the Equality and Diversity Officer: equality@belfastcity.gov.uk. A link to this screening form will be provided to the council's Section 75 consultees.

For more information about equality screening, contact:

Lorraine Dennis
Equality and Diversity Officer (jobshare) 
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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