Effective community engagement in local development planning guidance: impact assessments

These impact assessments have informed the preparation the effective community engagement in local development planning consultation draft guidance. The assessments are being made available for comment in advance of their finalisation and finalisation of the guidance.

7. Partial Equality Impact Assessment, including Human Rights

7.1. This is a partial assessment as public engagement on the draft guidance and associated impact assessments remains to be undertaken.

Stage 1 – Framing

7.2. The framing set out in Section 4 will directly affect people wishing to participate in the preparation of local development plans and as such an EQIA is required.

7.3. Beyond the framing set in Section 4 we have not identified any factors that might prevent the desired outcomes.

Stage 2 – Gather evidence and consult

7.4. The evidence gathered to support this assessment is presented in Annex B. Given the narrow focus of the ECEG and its relationship with the wider regulations and guidance on local development plans, the impact assessment reports[8] for the local development plan regulations and guidance also form a basis for this assessment. The local development plan regulations and guidance equalities impact assessment concludes that the regulations and guidance are not likely to have adverse impacts on those with protected characteristics. Indeed, positive impacts were anticipated for those with age and disability characteristics. The potential for adverse impacts identified were related to the accommodation and housing needs of some groups, but those are matters that do not apply to this guidance.

7.5. A public consultation will be undertaken for the draft ECEG and questions relating to equalities factors are included within it. This will help identify if there is further evidence on its impact on the protected characteristics.

Stage 3 – Assess impact, identify mitigations

7.6. Annex B identifies data, findings and gaps. The findings are summarised here.

7.7. Age. Older people, adults, young people and children want opportunities to be involved in their communities and decisions that shape their places to a greater or lesser degree. Greater opportunities for involvement of young Gypsy Travellers and young disabled people are sought.

7.8. Disability. There should be opportunities for disabled children, young people and adults, including those with long term illnesses to be involved in decision making that affects them. There are equal proportions of disabled people living in rural and urban areas.

7.9. Sex. Women are more likely to be involved in the planning system but can find it more difficult to do so due to caring responsibilities and event timing reasons. However, they are more likely than men to say they have a very strong feeling of belonging to their community.

7.10. Pregnancy and Maternity. There is limited evidence of the potential impact of the planning system on this characteristic. Evidence points to physical arrangements at engagement events.

7.11. Gender Reassignment. We have not been able to gather any information of the potential impact of the planning system on this characteristic.

7.12. Sexual Orientation. There is limited evidence of the potential impact of the planning system on this characteristic. Evidence points to the views of people with this protected characteristic being representative of the wider population, but that having a gender lens on planning processes can help voices to be heard.

7.13. Race. Language barriers, and a lack of confidence, community engagement, and experience of systems, were the main impacts on engagement for ethnic minority groups.

7.14. Religion or Belief. Barriers identified for the race characteristic may apply here as well. Otherwise, the initial indication is that there is a similar degree of agreement (1/5 to 1/4) across religious groups that they could influence decisions affecting their local area.

7.15. Marriage and Civil Partnership. The planning system is not related to this characteristic.

Analysis (Encompassing Stage 3 of the EQIA Assessment ‘Assessing the impacts and identifying opportunities to promote equality’)

7.16. Scotland-wide and all-person application of the levels of engagement, plus reinforcement of engagement duties for specific groups mean that the guidance will positively help clarify and frame the potential for engagement opportunities for a wide range of people in Scotland. This guidance does not intend to address methods or approaches to engagement nor the physical or timing arrangements for those. However, it is intended that the Scottish Government will signpost engagement practice examples as they emerge, which can be cognisant of practice which advances human rights and equalities.

7.17. Annex C considers the potential for positive and negative impact from the ECEG.

7.18. Evidence has not been identified that suggests identification and application of the ECEG would have a negative effect on protected characteristics and human rights. Although it is noted more generally that the impact assessment undertaken for the local development plan regulations and guidance reported less favourable treatment of the Gypsy and Traveller community and disabled people in relation to their accommodation needs. Application of the ECEG can help reinforce opportunities for engagement within the planning system as a positive measure for those groups seeking to be involved in the planning system and decisions about their area. As a result, positive impacts on the characteristics are anticipated, in particular where the method of engagement is appropriate to the context and groups being engaged with. That point is reflected in the ECEG.


Email: communityengagementguidance@gov.scot

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