Download the Equality Screening Form (PDF 153 KB)

Download the Equality Screening Form (PDF 153 KB)

Screening decisions8. Completion of screening should lead to one of the following three outcomes.The policy has been:i. ‘screened in’ for equality impact assessment;ii. ‘screened out’ with mitigation or an alternative policy proposed to beadopted; oriii. ‘screened out’ without mitigation or an alternative policy proposed to beadopted.Screening and good relations duty9. The Commission recommends that a policy is ‘screened in’ for equality impactassessment if the likely impact on good relations is ‘major’. While there is nolegislative requirement to engage in an equality impact assessment in respectof good relations, this does not necessarily mean that equality impactassessments are inappropriate in this context.5

Information about the policyName of the PolicyConsultation on Northern Ireland Law Commission Report on Bail in CriminalProceedingsIs this an existing, revised or a new policy?The consultation paper covers each of the main headings included in the NorthernIreland Law Commission’s Report on Bail in terms of: The overarching legal framework; The enforcement of bail; Recognizances and sureties; Bail in respect of accused persons; Bail in respect of children ad young people; and Non-legislative proposals in relation to bail information, support, and servicesto victims.The Department is also taking the opportunity to consult on the issue of a “no realprospect” test for bail decisions. This was not part of the Commission’s report ordraft Bill but would require courts to grant bail in certain circumstances if therewas no prospect of a custodial sentence at point of disposal.For the legal framework a proposal is for a single unified Bail Act with a statutorydefinition of bail, to consolidate a range of current legislative instruments to provide asingle and clear legislative source for practitioners. In terms of enforcementproposals, new duties to surrender and a simplified offence of failure to surrender;the powers of arrest; and search warrant proposals. In terms of personalrecognizances and sureties, a proposal for a new and simplified “bail guarantor”system. We are content with these proposals to simplify the law.In terms of the substance of bail law, proposals for a general right to bail subject tothe power of police and courts to refuse it; that there should be no presumptionagainst bail for particular offences or circumstances; that the four proposed groundsfor bail - likelihood of failure to surrender; interference with witnesses/obstructingcourse of justice; commission of offences; maintenance of public order – should bein law. Factors to be considered in bail decisions should also be in statute; thereshould be statutory guidance; and a legal requirement for courts to record decisionsrefusing bail.For Children and Young Persons the Report proposes the same statutorydefinitions, requirements and factors in bail decision-making that will be created foradults will also apply to children and young persons. Additional factors around age,maturity, needs, understanding and best interests should be applied inchildren/young persons’ cases are also to be taken into account.7

What is it trying to achieve? (intended aims/outcomes)The aim of the policy is to modernise and simplify the current laws on Bail in NIwhich are scattered throughout different statutes.Are there any Section 75 categories which might be expected to benefit from theintended policy? If so, explain how.The Northern Ireland Law Commission initially consulted on the proposals and hascarried out a full Equality Impact Assessment, which is available at In its assessment, theLaw Commission has stated that ‘in terms of simplification, accessibility,modernisation and improving efficiency and effectiveness will to the benefit of all,including persons represented by the S75 categories’ (NILC Equality of OpportunityScreening Analysis Form – Reform of bail law and practice in Northern Ireland). It isexpected that all S75 categories will benefit from the proposals as they will beavailable to all those requiring a bail decision. The Department agrees with thisconclusion.Who initiated or wrote the policy?The Department of Justice is consulting on the recommendations and draft Billproduced by the Northern Ireland Law CommissionWho owns and who implements the policy?The Department of Justice.Implementation factors12. Are there any factors which could contribute to/detract from the intendedaim/outcome of the policy/decision?If yes, are theyfinanciallegislativeother, please specify _________________________________8

Main stakeholders affected13. Who are the internal and external stakeholders (actual or potential) that thepolicy will impact upon?staffservice usersother public sector organisationsvoluntary/community/trade unionsother, please specify ________________________________Other policies with a bearing on this policyYouth Justice ReviewThe Youth Justice Review contains several recommendations in relation to bail andremand for children and young people. The Department of Justice has acceptedthese recommendations and an Implementation Plan was published in October2012.( recommendations in the Bail Report and draft Bill align broadly with those in theYouth Justice Review though some inconsistencies occur. Recommendations 8 and18 of the Review for example seek to reduce to an absolute minimum the use of theJuvenile Justice Centre (JJC) as a Place of Safety; the Law Commission reportrecommends that the JJC should be the only Place of Safety accessible to youngpeople.The Department is seeking views on the Commission’s proposals in this area.9

Needs, experiences and priorities16. Taking into account the information referred to above, what are the differentneeds, experiences and priorities of each of the following categories, inrelation to the particular policy/decision? Specify details for each of theSection 75 categories.Section 75 CategoryReligious beliefPolitical opinionRacial groupAgeMarital statusSexual orientationDetails of evidence/informationBased on the Law Commission analysis and EQIA andthe Department’s review and screening, there is noevidence to suggest that the proposals would have anyadverse impact.As aboveAs aboveAs aboveAs aboveAs aboveMen and Women generally As aboveDisabilityDependantsAs aboveAs above11

Part 2SCREENING QUESTIONSIntroduction17. In making a decision as to whether or not there is a need to carry out anequality impact assessment, consider questions 1-4 listed below.18. If the conclusion is none in respect of all of the Section 75 equality ofopportunity and/or good relations categories, then the decision may to screenthe policy out. If a policy is ‘screened out’ as having no relevance to equalityof opportunity or good relations, give details of the reasons for the decisiontaken.19. If the conclusion is major in respect of one or more of the Section 75 equalityof opportunity and/or good relations categories, then consideration should begiven to subjecting the policy to the equality impact assessment procedure.20. If the conclusion is minor in respect of one or more of the Section 75 equalitycategories and/or good relations categories, then consideration should still begiven to proceeding with an equality impact assessment, or to: measures to mitigate the adverse impact; or the introduction of an alternative policy to better promote equality ofopportunity and/or good relations.In favour of a ‘major’ impact21 (a) The policy is significant in terms of its strategic importance;(b) Potential equality impacts are unknown, because, for example, there isinsufficient data upon which to make an assessment or because they arecomplex, and it would be appropriate to conduct an equality impactassessment in order to better assess them;12

(c) Potential equality and/or good relations impacts are likely to be adverse or arelikely to be experienced disproportionately by groups of people includingthose who are marginalised or disadvantaged;(d) Further assessment offers a valuable way to examine the evidence anddevelop recommendations in respect of a policy about which there areconcerns amongst affected individuals and representative groups, forexample in respect of multiple identities;(e) The policy is likely to be challenged by way of judicial review;(f) The policy is significant in terms of expenditure.In favour of ‘minor’ impact22 (a) The policy is not unlawfully discriminatory and any residual potential impactson people are judged to be negligible;(b) The policy, or certain proposals within it, are potentially unlawfullydiscriminatory, but this possibility can readily and easily be eliminated bymaking appropriate changes to the policy or by adopting appropriatemitigating measures;(c) Any asymmetrical equality impacts caused by the policy are intentionalbecause they are specifically designed to promote equality of opportunity forparticular groups of disadvantaged people;(d) By amending the policy there are better opportunities to better promoteequality of opportunity and/or good relations.13

In favour of none23 (a) The policy has no relevance to equality of opportunity or good relations.(b) The policy is purely technical in nature and will have no bearing in terms of itslikely impact on equality of opportunity or good relations for people within theequality and good relations categories.24. Taking into account the evidence presented above, consider and comment onthe likely impact on equality of opportunity and good relations for thoseaffected by this policy, in any way, for each of the equality and good relationscategories, by applying the screening questions given overleaf and indicatethe level of impact on the group i.e. minor, major or none.14

Screening questions1. What is the likely impact on equality of opportunity for those affected by thispolicy, for each of the Section 75 equality categories?Minor/Major/NoneSection 75Level of impact?Details of policy impactcategoryMinor/Major/NoneReligious belief The proposals are designed to create amore open and transparent bail system.This provides beneficial changes for allNoneSection 75 categories, where appropriate,who may be involved in relevant courtproceedings.Political opinion As above NoneRacial group Proposals are included in the Report andDraft Bill to ensure those with, forexample, language difficulties – Minor – thoughadmittedly not limited to racial groups – positivecan have decisions and requirements fullyclearly explained.AgeProposals are included in the Report anddraft Bill to provide extra protections forchildren and young people who may havedifficulty with the bail process. These are Minor – thoughdesigned to ensure that if special positiverequirements in certain circumstances areneeded they can be catered for eitherstatutorily or operationally.Marital status As at Religious Belief NoneSexual orientation As at Religious Belief NoneMen and WomengenerallyAs at Religious BeliefNoneDisabilityMinor – thoughAs at Racial Group and AgepositiveDependants As at Religious Belief None15

2. Are there opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity for peoplewithin the Section 75 equalities categories?Section 75categoryIf Yes, provide details If No, provide reasonsReligious belief Extending the opportunities ingeneral make them available toall in the justice system.Political opinion As aboveRacial group Proposals are included in theReport and Draft Bill to ensurethose with, for example,language difficulties –admittedly not limited to racialgroups – can have decisionsand requirements fully clearlyexplained.AgeProposals are included in theReport and draft Bill to provideextra protections for childrenand young people who mayhave difficulty with the bailprocess. These are designedto ensure that if specialrequirements in certaincircumstances are needed theycan be catered for eitherstatutorily or operationally.Marital status As aboveSexual orientation As aboveMen and WomengenerallyAs aboveDisabilityAs at Racial Group and AgeDependants As above16

3. To what extent is the policy likely to impact on good relations between people ofdifferent religious belief, political opinion or racial group?Minor/Major/NoneGood relationscategoryDetails of policy impactLevel of impactMinor/Major/NoneReligious beliefN/APolitical opinionRacial group4. Are there opportunities to better promote good relations between people ofdifferent religious belief, political opinion or racial group?Good relationscategoryIf Yes, provide detailsIf No, provide reasonsReligious beliefN/APolitical opinionRacial group17

Additional considerationsMultiple identity25. Generally speaking, people can fall into more than one Section 75 category.Taking this into consideration, are there any potential impacts of thepolicy/decision on people with multiple identities?(For example; disabled minority ethnic people; disabled women; youngProtestant men; and young lesbians, gay and bisexual people).26. Provide details of data on the impact of the policy on people with multipleidentities. Specify relevant Section 75 categories concerned.Although the proposed change would apply to anyone who may be remanded on bailor into custody when considering the criminal justice system there is evidence thatany change is most likely to impact upon young male offenders. Males accounted for97% of those appearing in court in 2009, and 49% of those remanded into custodywere between the ages of 17 to 29. The changes proposed may therefore mainlyimpact on young men.18

Part 3Screening decision27. If the decision is not to conduct an equality impact assessment, pleaseprovide details of the reasons.The Department’s assessment that a fresh equality impact assessment is notrequired is based on a number of factors. Firstly on the basis of the work alreadycompleted in the preparation of the Report and Bill by the Law Commission; andsecondly on the basis of the proposals themselves.In terms of the work already completed, the Law Commission went through adetailed equality assessment process leading to its proposals. The Commission’soriginal screening analysis suggested that further consideration of the following S75categories was required in an Equality Impact Assessment – Gender, Age, Disabilityand Racial Group. The Commission then carried out a full Equality ImpactAssessment that confirmed that none of their proposals would adversely impactupon any of the Section 75 categories and did not identify any further opportunitiesto promote equality of opportunity upon any of the Section 75 categories. The EQIAcarried out by the Commission examined these categories further alongside a rescreeningof the other categories. The Commission concluded that none of theproposals in the Bail Report would adversely impact on the stated S75 categoriesand had not identified any further opportunities to promote equality of opportunity.The Department has reviewed the Law Commission’s screening and subsequentimpact assessment and does not think it requires a fresh EQIA. The Department iscontent with the data used and the conclusions reached and is content to screen outthe proposals.In terms of the proposals themselves, within the body of the Commission’s reportand draft Bill are a series of requirements designed to create a more open andtransparent bail system as well as ensuring that those who may have particularneeds are provided for. These are designed to ensure that if special requirements incertain circumstances are needed they can be catered for either statutorily oroperationally. These are detailed in the section 28 below.In building these into both the policy development, draft legislation, and screeningprocesses the Department takes the view that, alongside the EQIA alreadycompleted, a further equality impact assessment is not needed.19

28. If the decision is not to conduct an equality impact assessment, consider if thepolicy should be mitigated or an alternative policy be introduced.Factors in screening-out decisionAt an overarching level is the proposal for statutory criteria and a statutory right tobail alongside a simplification of the law to enhance public understanding andtransparency. The proposals are intended to provide a better bail system for all –those who operate it; those who avail of it; and the public as a whole in terms of theirconfidence in the criminal justice system.In terms of the legislation as proposed, for laws around the imposition or variation ofbail conditions the proposal is that bail legislation should provide guidance on theimposition of bail conditions and that decision makers should be required to considera number of factors: The person’s understanding or ability to comply with conditions whenimposing or varying them; The person’s work, education, family commitments, religious beliefs and anyother relevant commitments;Any other relevant considerations for example the impact of bail conditions onvictims and the community.And in terms of explaining bail decisions the Report recommends that there shouldbe a statutory duty for bail decisions to be explained in language appropriate to agematurity and understanding.Children and Young PeopleThe Report and Draft Bill give extensive consideration to the needs of children andyoung people. The proposals include, for example, that the test for children andyoung people should also include additional factors:The age, maturity, needs and understanding of the young person;The best interests of the child as a primary consideration; and That detention pending trial must be used only as a matter of last resort forthe shortest possible period of time.20

Other proposals are that: bail legislation should prohibit the detention of children and young people onthe grounds of lack of suitable accommodation; that a Juvenile Justice Centre should be the only Place of Safety for a youngperson; that the Director of the Juvenile Justice Centre should not retain anydiscretion to refuse admission to young persons for whom detention isconsidered absolutely necessary; that a young person on remand will remain in the juvenile justice centre onturning 18 during the remand period unless it is in the young person’s bestinterests to be moved to the young offenders centre; decision-makers should be required to consider the maturity, needs andunderstanding of the young person – including when setting bail conditions ifthat is the decision; the likely duration of the remand period; and the suitabilityof the young person to the regime at the young offenders centre.[The Department is aware that some of these proposals may be inconsistent with theoutcome of the Youth Justice Review and is seeking further views on theCommission’s proposals in this area.]In operational terms, the Report recommends that accommodation options and bailsupport programmes for children and young people should be expanded.Assessment for bail support should at the earliest opportunity and support should betailored to the young person’s needs and may include support to parents or othersupporting adults. The Commission also saw merit in the development of bailinformation schemes to operate at the earliest possible opportunity to avoidunnecessary detention.29. If the decision is to subject the policy to an equality impact assessment,please provide details of the reasons.30. Further advice on equality impact assessment may be found in a separateCommission publication: Practical Guidance on Equality Impact Assessment.21

Mitigation31. When the public authority concludes that the likely impact is ‘minor’ and anequality impact assessment is not to be conducted, the public authority mayconsider mitigation to lessen the severity of any equality impact, or theintroduction of an alternative policy to better promote equality of opportunity orgood relations.32. Can the policy/decision be amended or changed or an alternative policyintroduced to better promote equality of opportunity and/or good relations?33. If so, give the reasons to support your decision, together with the proposedchanges/amendments or alternative policy.22

Timetabling and prioritising34. Factors to be considered in timetabling and prioritising policies for equalityimpact assessment.35. If the policy has been ‘screened in’ for equality impact assessment, thenplease answer the following questions to determine its priority for timetablingthe equality impact assessment.36. On a scale of 1-3, with 1 being the lowest priority and 3 being the highest,assess the policy in terms of its priority for equality impact assessment.Priority criterionRating(1-3)Effect on equality of opportunity and good relationsSocial needEffect on people’s daily livesRelevance to a public authority’s functions37. Note: The Total Rating Score should be used to prioritise the policy in rankorder with other policies screened in for equality impact assessment. This listof priorities will assist the public authority in timetabling. Details of the PublicAuthority’s Equality Impact Assessment Timetable should be included in thequarterly Screening Report.38. Is the policy affected by timetables established by other relevant publicauthorities?39. If yes, please provide details.23

Part 4Monitoring40. Public authorities should consider the guidance contained in theCommission’s Monitoring Guidance for Use by Public Authorities (July 2007).41. The Commission recommends that where the policy has been amended or analternative policy introduced, the public authority should monitor more broadlythan for adverse impact (See Benefits, P.9-10, paras 2.13 – 2.20 of theMonitoring Guidance).42. Effective monitoring will help the public authority identify any future adverseimpact arising from the policy which may lead the public authority to conductan equality impact assessment, as well as help with future planning and policydevelopment.24

Part 5Approval and authorisationScreened by: Position/Job Title DateD Lowry Criminal Law Branch July 2013Approved by:T Haire Criminal Law Branch July 2013Note: A copy of the Screening Template, for each policy screened should be ‘signedoff’ and approved by a senior manager responsible for the policy, made easilyaccessible on the public authority’s website as soon as possible following completionand made available on request.The Screening exercise is now complete.When you have completed the form please retain a record in your branch and send acopy for information to:-Central Management UnitRoom A4.2Castle BuildingsStormont EstateBELFASTBT4 3SG 89784or e-mail to Mark Higgins; or Karen

SCREENING FLOWCHARTANNEX APolicy ScopingPolicyAvailable DataScreening QuestionsApply screening questionsConsider multiple identitiesScreening DecisionNone/Minor/Major‘None’Screened out‘Minor’Screenedout withmitigation‘Major’Screened infor EQIAPublish Templatefor informationMitigatePublish TemplateConcerns raisedwith evidence re:screening decisionRe-considerScreeningPublish TemplateEQIAConcernsraised withevidenceMonitor26

ANNEX BMAIN GROUPS IDENTIFIED AS RELEVANT TO THE SECTION 75 CATEGORIESCategoryReligious BeliefPolitical OpinionRacial GroupAgeMarital/Civil PartnershipStatusSexual OrientationMen and Women generallyPersons with a disabilityand persons withoutPersons with dependantsand persons withoutMain GroupsProtestants; Catholics; people of other religiousbelief; people of no religious beliefUnionists generally; Nationalists generally;members/supporters of any political partyWhite people; Chinese; Irish Travellers; Indians;Pakistanis; Bangladeshis; Black Africans; AfroCaribbean people; people of mixed ethnic group,other groupsFor most purposes, the main categories are: childrenunder 18; people aged between 18 and 65. Howeverthe definition of age groups will need to be sensitiveto the policy under consideration. For example, forsome employment policies, children under 16 couldbe distinguished from people of working ageMarried people; unmarried people; divorced orseparated people; widowed people; civil partnershipsHeterosexuals; bisexual people; gay men; lesbiansMen (including boys); women (including girls); transgenderand trans-sexual peoplePersons with a physical, sensory or learning disabilityas defined in Schedules 1 and 2 of the DisabilityDiscrimination Act 1995.Persons with primary responsibility for the care of achild; persons with personal responsibility for the careof a person with a disability; persons with primaryresponsibility for a dependent elderly person.27

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