5 Consideration of alternative policies and mitigating actions.(EQIA - The Flying of the Union Flag)
5. Consideration of alternative policies and mitigating actions
The EQIA process requires that if it is decided that the policy has an adverse impact on one or more of the nine equality categories, then a series of alternatives should be put forward for consideration and an assessment of the possible impact of these alternatives undertaken. The Council must consider measures which might mitigate the adverse impact and alternative ways of delivering policy aims which have a less adverse impact on the relevant equality category or which better promote equality of opportunity and good relations.
Along with the draft EQIA Consultation Report, questionnaires were prepared for staff and the public. These included various alternatives to the proposed policy on the flying of the Union flag (including not flying the flag), and which potentially could act to mitigate adverse impacts if adopted. In summary, the following alternatives were made available in each questionnaire:
365 days Working days (260) Designated days (circa 15) No flag
and designated days *
Coleraine Town Hall
Portrush Town Hall
Ballymoney Town Hall
Roe Valley Arts Centre
(formally Limavady Town Hall)
Council Admin HQ
Council Admin Centre
– Riada House
Council Admin Centre
– Limavady Council Offices,
At the time of preparing the draft EQIA, and prior to feedback obtained from the public consultation, other than seeking views on these alternative proposals (see above), it was not felt that any further mitigating measures needed to be introduced to the proposed policy.
However, the Council remains mindful of the need to continue to accommodate sensitivities around this issue and to ensure that all steps are taken to minimise adverse impacts in the future, whether currently known or unknown.
With this in mind, it is proposed that, in keeping with the commitment included in the Council’s Equality Scheme (see p.17, para. 4.30), the revised policy should be subject to review after two years, and that this review should consider and remedy any identified adverse impacts.
The council has commented that, “There is a possibility that the Council estate may change and may trigger a review of flying the Union Flag on its estate. This will necessitate an equality screening at that time.”
This EQIA review will run independently from any ongoing review of the Council’s estate that may impact on the outworking of the proposed policy.
 Practical Guidance on Equality Impact Assessment, Equality Commission for NI, 2004 (pp.30-31)