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

Children and young people

It has been decided to defer the  final publication of the 2nd Children & Young People’s Action Plan to allow for the formation of the new Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in May 2016 to be impacted against the plan.

DAERA has responsibilities to deliver on its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The importance of participation and engagement with children and young people, is also highlighted through their inclusion in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. And, we also share responsibility for children and young people through the Executives over-arching 10-Year Strategy for Children and Young People.

DAERA has developed a Children & Young People's Action Plan which sets out our proposed work over the next 3 years. We are fully committed to meeting our obligations and are working to encourage greater participation and engagement with children and young people across our business remit on issues that have the potential to impact on their lives and well-being.

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.

DAERA language policy

DAERA's language policy is currently under development. 


Around one in five people in Northern Ireland have a disability. The nature and extent of their disabilities vary widely, as do their requirements for overcoming the difficulties they may face.

Our Disability Action Plan sets out the actions we are taking to reduce the barriers faced by disabled people when accessing and using our services and the further steps we are taking to actively promote disability equality across all aspects of our functions.

You can view the Department's Disability Action Plan below along with the accompanying easyread version and the updates on our progress to date. You can also read about the work of our Disability Forum.

Disability Forum

The Disability Forum was launched in September 2002, the first of its kind in the NI Civil Service, creating a network within the Department that has aimed to remove barriers and provide the necessary support to enable disabled staff or those staff with a long term health condition to achieve their potential and aspirations.

The Disability Forum meets a number of times a year to discuss issues and achieve targets set out on pages 24 and 25 in the DAERA Disability Action Plan.

Since its inception the Disability Forum has made a significant contribution towards raising disability awareness within the Department by;

  • writing articles for inclusion in the staff magazine 'Groundwork' to highlight particular disabilities or issues
  • showcasing good practice in the various Business areas within the Department
  • organising events to raise disability awareness
  • providing input on accessibility / policy issues

The Disability Forum also operates a Website within the Department which includes articles, provided by staff members highlighting particular disabilities or issues, various health events / issues. the website also provides links to external organistions in the disability / health awareness fields. These Websites raise awareness about particular conditions, highlight the various services these organisations provide and can be accessed by staff for information. 


Legislation, resources and other material providing information in relation to autism.

Northern Ireland Equality Strategies

DAERA has provided input to various NI wide strategies and action plans. For information on any of these specific strategies please check out the following links.

Audit of Inequalities

A key recommendation of the Commission’s Review of the Effectiveness (2008) of the statutory Section 75 duties was 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. The Department’s Audit and the accompanying action plan were developed taking account of issues raised by consultees and both have now been finalised and published.

Human rights

The Human Rights Act 1998 makes the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) part of the law of all parts of the United Kingdom. The Department must ensure that all of its legislation, decision-making and administrative practice comply with the requirements of the Convention.

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

DAERA is committed to making the information it provides is as accessible as possible for its customers, visitors and staff.  Information can be made available in a range of alternative formats including Easy Read, Braille, audio, large print or translations into different languages.

Easyread Documents

DAERA will provide Easyread versions to accompany longer documents, over 30 pages long, which aim to assist those who may have a reading, learning, dyslexia or comprehension difficulty.

Language Translations

As well as English, many other languages are used in Northern Ireland including indigenous languages (Irish and Ulster-Scots) minority ethnic languages, and British and Irish sign language. DAERA will consider requests from customers to provide key information in these and other languages too.

The links below provide contact details and publications in each of the following languages:

Contact Equality branch

DAERA Equality Branch 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 Branch

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 Branch
Ballykelly House
111 Ballykelly Road
BT49 9HP

Telephone: 028 77442027

Email:  EqualityDiversityPublicAppointments@daera-ni.gov.uk

What services does Equality Branch 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 strategies across DAERA such as the Anti-Poverty, Gender and Children & Young Peoples Strategies strategy recommendations
  • provision of advice and guidance on developing publications in alternative / accessible formats other languages
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