Although not a formal legal requirement, evidence of effective practice which could usefully be included in the scheme might be:
evidence of commitment from senior leaders
evidence of the link to the authority's priorities and business plans
the identification of individuals with clear responsibilities for taking action on the scheme or elements of the scheme
the allocation of specific budgets, for example, for consultation or information gathering
measurable and time bound indicators of progress towards the objectives
measures to strengthen the capacity of the authority to meet the duty
separate action plans for individual identifiable departments
details of how impact assessment will be incorporated into the authority's decision-making process
details of how the public authority will ensure the duty is met in procurement and partnerships.
Gathering and using information
In order to understand which of its functions have the greatest relevance to gender equality, a public authority will need to gather and use information on how women and men are affected by its activities. A public authority may already have this information, disaggregated by gender. This information will have a crucial role in helping the public authority to determine its gender equality priorities, conduct effective gender impact assessments of policies and practices, and monitor progress towards its gender equality objectives. Information can be both quantitative and qualitative, and from a variety of sources.
The specific duties require each listed public authority to gather information on the effect of its policies and practices on men and women, and in particular:
the extent to which they promote equality between male and female staff
the extent to which the services it provides and the functions it performs take account of the needs of women and men.
Policies and practices are very broad terms, and cover every aspect of a public authority's activities and functions.
The specific duties also require the public authority to take into account any other information which it considers relevant. This might include, for example, the national level gender equality policies and documents which relate to their business – for example, Public Service Agreements, national policy frameworks in their sector, or existing research which indicates the major gender issues in their area of work.
In order to meet the gender equality duty, public authorities will have to set up systems, or adapt existing systems, to ensure they obtain and monitor the relevant information. In many cases this should involve disaggregating existing information; in some cases