Customer Service Standard Policy

Initial Equality Impact Assessment

At Colchester City Council we have a corporate approach to equality and diversity that reinforces the importance of providing equal opportunities to potential and existing employees. Through the employment of committed and motivated people, we can deliver excellent customer services and improve the reputation of the Council as an employer of choice.

Name of policies to be assessed

Customer Service Standard

1. What is the main purpose of the policies?

The main purpose of the policies is to:
  • to enable us to measure and improve the service we provide to our customers

2. What main areas or activities does the policies cover?

All forms of customer contact
  • digital
  • email
  • written
  • telephone
  • virtual meetings
  • in person
  • home
  • business visits

3. Are there changes to an existing policy being considered in this assessment?

Updated Customer Service Standards · Colchester City Council
Replaces previous Customer Access Strategy and Digital Direction Statement - March 2017 and reflects current methods of contact

4. Who are the main audience, users or customers who will be affected by the policy?

  • Customers
  • Staff

5. What outcomes does the Council want to achieve from the policy?

To enable us to measure and improve the service we provide to all customers.

6. Are other service areas or partner agencies involved in delivery?

All service areas where staff have contact with customers.

7. Relevant information, data, surveys or consultations1

  • Contact & Support Telephone Survey
  • Escalator (online complaints, compliments and comments)

8. The ‘general duty’

The ‘general duty’ states that we must have “due regard” to the need to:
  1. eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  2. advance equality of opportunity between people who share a ‘protected characteristic2’ and those who do not3
  3. foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not4
Not all policies help us to meet the ‘general duty’, but most do.

This policy helps us to meet the ‘general duty’ by:
  • our Customer Service Standards ensure accessible contact for all customer
  • our commitment to make sure everyone has easy, equal access to our services
  • outlining our standards and asking for feedback to help us improve our service

9. Public Sector Equality Duty

The Council has an important role in improving residents’ health under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This relates to both its ‘core functions’ (such as housing, leisure, green spaces and environmental health) and to its ‘enabling roles’ (such as economic 
development, planning and engaging with communities)5. The Council recognises that its Public Sector Equality Duty and its role in improving health are interrelated and mutually supportive. This is especially true across the ‘protected characteristics’ of age and 

“Health inequalities are the unjust and avoidable differences in people's health across the population. They come from the unequal distribution of income, wealth and power and influence the wider determinants of health such as work, education, social support and housing. Currently, in England people living in the least deprived areas will live around 20 years longer in good health than those in the most deprived areas. Reducing health inequalities means giving everyone the same opportunities to lead a healthy life, no matter where they live or who they are."

Where applicable, explain how this policy helps us to improve health/reduce health inequalities for residents:

By outlining how anyone can contact us – those who do not have access to a computer can phone or contact us in person at various community locations which are advertised through word of mouth, telephone, online, Parish and city Councillors and community centres

10. Disproportionate impacts

This section helps us to identify any disproportionate impacts. We will indicate whether the policy is likely to particularly benefit or disadvantage any of the 'protected characteristics'.

The following applies to all protected characteristic groups:

Age - older people (60+) and younger people (17-25)

Positive impact

Make sure everyone has easy, equal access to our services.

Age - those who are typically in the age group 45-55

Positive impact

Make sure everyone has easy, equal access to our services.

Disability – physical, sensory, learning, mental health issues, other

Positive impact

Make sure everyone has easy, equal access to our services

Ethnicity6- White; Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups; Asian or Asian British; Black, Black British, Caribbean or African; Other ethnic group


Language – English not as a first language

Positive impact

Make sure everyone has easy, equal access to our services.

Pregnancy and maternity - Women who are pregnant or have given birth in the last 26 weeks


Religion or belief - People with a religious belief (or none)

Positive impact


Sex – Men and Women

Positive impact – Men


Positive impact – Women


Gender reassignment7- Transgender/Transsexual

Positive impact


Sexual Orientation – Straight/Heterosexual, Gay or Lesbian, Bisexual, Other sexual orientation

Positive impact


Marriage and Civil Partnership - People who are married or in a civil partnership

Positive impact


11. How negative impacts be minimised or removed?

The impact on younger people is a potential impact rather than actually impacting on individuals as the 2 apprentice posts that are proposed to be reduced are currently vacant.

The impact on Women highlighted above is difficult to mitigate as a greater number of our back-office support roles are undertaken by female members of staff. The most significant proportion of male staff work in frontline services such as Neighbourhood Services and these have been protected through these proposals.

12. Could the policy discriminate8 against any ‘protected characteristic’ either directly or indirectly?9


Summary and findings of Initial Equality Impact Assessment

13. Confirmation of findings

There are four options to describe the finding of the EqIA:
  1. No negative impacts have been identified – Action is to sign off screening and finish.
  2. Negative impacts have been identified but have been minimised or removed  - Action is to sign off screening and finish.
  3. Negative impacts could not be minimised or removed – Action is to sign off screening and complete a full impact assessment – Section 2.
  4. There is insufficient evidence to make a judgement - Action is to sign off screening and complete a full impact assessment – Section 2.
The findings and action are confirmed as (A). No negative impacts have been identified. The action is to sign off screening and finish.

14. Name and job title of person completing this form

Leonie Rathbone, Assistant Director - Customer

15. Date of completion

24 January 2022

16. Date for update or review of this screening10

24 January 2025
  • [1] Click on Customer Insight for more information. The Council’s surveys and consultations include ‘equality monitoring information’ to help us identify any particular concerns or views expressed by any particular group or ‘protected characteristic’. It can also help us to assess how representative of our customers the respondent group is. Local data on the ‘protected characteristics’ is available on this page of Sharepoint.
  • [2] The Equality Act’s `protected characteristics’ include age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sex and sexual orientation. It also covers marriage and civil partnerships, but not for all aspects of the duty. 
  • [3] This involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to (a) remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by persons who share a protected characteristic that are connected to that characteristic; (b) take steps to meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that is different from the needs of persons who do not share it, and (c) encourage persons who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in which participation by such persons is disproportionately low.
  • [4] This involves having due regard, in particular, to the need to (a) tackle prejudice, and (b) promote understanding.
  • [5] The King’s Fund: The district council contribution to public health: a time of challenge and opportunity, 2015
  • [6] National Census 2011 categories are: Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian (Asian or Asian British), African, Caribbean, Other Black (Black or Black British), White and Black African, White and Asian, White and Black Caribbean (Mixed), British, Irish, Other White (White), Chinese, Other (Other Ethnic Group).
  • [7] The ‘protected characteristic’ of gender reassignment is defined by the Equality Act 2010 as “a person proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person's sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” This is a personal process that may involve medical interventions such as counselling, psychotherapy, hormone therapy or surgery, but does not have to.
  • [8] The Council has a general duty to ‘eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation’. Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another in a comparable situation because of their ‘protected characteristic’ whether on grounds of age, disability, pregnancy and maternity, ethnicity; religion or belief; sex (gender), sexual orientation, or marriage and civil partnership. Indirect discrimination occurs when an apparently neutral provision or practice would nevertheless disadvantage people on the grounds of their ‘protected characteristic’.
  • [9] If you answer ‘yes’ to question 11 (above) you will need to complete the following section and go on to complete Section 2 in order to conduct a full Equality Impact Assessment.
  • [10] This is normally three years, but not always: You may know that the policy itself will be reviewed earlier in which case the EqIA should be reviewed at that time. Or, in the case of a five year strategy, you may want to have a review date of five years. In the case of a “one off” decision, such as closing a service, a review date may not be needed - in which case you should indicate ‘N/A’. In any event, the review date should be brought forward if you receive information or feedback which raises new concerns, or if the public policy context changes. You can speak to the Equality and Safeguarding Co-ordinator for more advice.

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