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What is an Impact Assessment?

Impact Assessment helps us consider the actual or potential effects of our decisions and actions on people, the economy and the environment. It involves taking a critical and evidenced based approach which leads to better decision making.

There are also a number of statutory duties for local authorities that need to be met:

  • We have a legal duty to publish information about the way people are or will be affected by our policies and practices. We must bring this to the attention of decision makers. If we fail to do this, and operate policies and practices that adversely affect a section of the community disproportionately, we could be subject to legal challenges and financial penalties [Equality Act 2010].
  • Environmental duties include a requirement to consider the conservation of biodiversity whilst performing our duties [Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006], have regard to the most recent energy measures report published by government [Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006] and take into account the desirability of conserving water [Water Act 2003].
  • Public authorities must consider economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts. This must be done before the procurement process begins. The authority must consider how it might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the relevant area and how, in conducting the process of procurement, it might secure that improvement. [Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012].

Easy read guide to Impact Assessment