DAERA's Equality Scheme

The Equality Scheme takes account of the responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

As a large public service provider DAERA has statutory equality duties to meet under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. Our Equality Scheme sets out the actions we are taking to meet our equality duties and to ensure that equality is central to our policy and decision-making processes.

By screening our new and revised policies at an early stage, we can identify those policies that are most likely to impact significantly on different groups of people, and to carry out Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs).

You can view our Equality Scheme here and also find out more about the various aspects of the equality, good relations and human rights work we are taking forward.

Equality Scheme

Audit of Inequalities

Guidance from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) recommends that public authorities should undertake an audit of inequalities by examining their functions and how these relate to the promotion of equality and good relations. Specific actions to address the inequalities identified should then be set out in an action plan, and these actions linked to the authority’s corporate planning cycle.

The audit of inequalities is additional and complementary to the development of an equality scheme. It is intended to produce a more strategic picture of inequalities that a public authority may be in a position to influence, rather than examining inequalities on a policy by policy basis. It should be similar to other approaches undertaken by organisations to review and evaluate their performance, to make decisions about the way forward and to prioritise actions over time.

The DAERA Audit of Inequalities 2021-25, Action Plan and related papers listed below,

  • Audit of Inequalities 2021-2025
  • Audit of Inequalities 2021-2025 – Action Plan
  • Audit of Inequalities 2021-2025 – Easyread version
  • Audit of Inequalities and Action Plan 2021-2025 – Consultation Outcomes Report
  • Audit of Inequalities 2011-2016 – 5-Year Review – Summary Report
  • Audit of Inequalities 2011-2016 – 5-Year Review – Full Report

are available via this link DAERA Audit of Inequalities papers

Annual progress reports to the Equality commission

The Department's Equality Scheme commits the Department to submitting a formal review of progress, on an annual basis, to the Equality Commission NI, setting out the actions taken to fulfil our Section 75 commitments.


The DAERA Disability Action Plan sets out how the Department proposes to fulfil the duties under Section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in relation to its functions, for the period 2019-2024.

We were unable to consult at the time of publication due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. However, ongoing feedback is welcome and we commit to effective consultation when it is more conducive to do so.

Equality and Diversity Steering Group (EDSG)

DAERA’s Equality and Diversity Steering Group (EDSG) replaces Equality Steering Group (ESG). The EDSG meets twice annually and is chaired by the Permanent Secretary. Business areas across DAERA are represented at each EDSG meeting, and provide regular progress reports on equality targets. Minutes from each EDSG meeting are circulated across DAERA business areas for information. On reappointment of a DAERA minister, EDSG minutes will be forwarded for approval. Terms of Reference for the EDSG can be viewed below.

DAERA is committed to promoting equality and good relations across all aspects of its business: in its policies, information and service provision for customers, visitors and staff. DAERA works to ensure that all of its services are accessible, and delivered in ways which meet the needs of its diverse customers.

Minutes of meetings of the EDSG

Minutes of meetings of the ESG

Equality screening

Equality Screening is the process of making an initial assessment about whether or not a policy or decision has the potential to impact differently and unfairly on different groups of people. Screening covers all aspects of our business and how we carry out this work – for instance; how we develop or review strategies and policies, assessing the provision of a new or existing service or by changing procedures, (whether these are written down or not)

If, during screening, it is clear that a policy or decision will impact significantly on different groups of people, then the Department needs to consider carrying out an equality impact assessment (EQIA) – which is a more detailed exercise to examine the impacts more closely.

You can view our screening decisions here, and may contact us if you want to find out more about any specific screening exercise.

Alternative formats

How to obtain alternative/accessible formats

The Department's documents are available, on request, in a range of formats. You may wish in the first instance to contact the 'owners' of the document. Their contact details will be included in the document or on the related webpage.

Alternatively please contact the Equality Unit with your requirements.

Contact Equality unit

DAERA Equality Unit is responsible for overseeing the implementation of all aspects of the Department's equality agenda and aims to provide practical advice and guidance on all aspects of our equality obligations.

How to contact Equality Unit

We hope the information provided in these pages is useful for you. However, for further help or for advice on how to request information from the Department in an alternative format or language, contact us by post, phone, textphone or email.

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Equality Unit
Ballykelly House
111 Ballykelly Road
BT49 9HP

Telephone: 028 77442027

Email: equality@daera-ni.gov.uk

What services does Equality Unit provide?

  • provision of advice to our business areas, customers and service users on compliance with statutory duty (Section 75 of the NI Act 1998)
  • represents DAERA on relevant inter-departmental equality working groups, Forums, etc
  • contributes to all inter-departmental equality strategies and policies
  • overseeing the implementation of key NI equality related strategies across DAERA
  • provision of advice and guidance on developing publications in alternative / accessible formats other languages
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