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Step 1 - Preparation

In the beginning stages of an EIA it is important to fully understand the policy in which you are assessing. Be alert to the aims, purposes, outcomes, and the overall strategy. This stage will primarily involve gathering information and understanding the policy components fully. Screening is very important for preparation and should be done before undertaking a full EIA.


What is the policy for which you are conducting an EIA?

  • Give the EIA a title that accurately and specifically describes the focus
  • EIAs must be tailored specifically to the policies and strategies of each practice
  • EIA is not a “one size fits all” process


Who owns the policy?

  • Determine who is responsible for the policy, and who has the authority to make changes to the policy
  • Consider if a second party has responsibility for the policy (e.g. Partnerships, collaborators)
  • Make it clear if the EIA is being conducted on behalf of another body


What is the aim of the policy?

  • Make clear the aims and purposes of the policy in which you are conducting the EIA, provide a brief description
  • Make note of what outcomes you are trying to achieve and for whom
  • Consider how the aims of the policy will be achieved


Who is affected most by the policy?

  • Make a list of your stakeholders (both internal and external) and to what degree they are impacted by the policy
  • Consider service users, the public, visitors, staff
  • Consider factors such as location and scope in relation to the policy


How does this policy fit into the wider context of the organisation?

  • Consider how the policy coincides with organisational culture, other policies and practices
  • Examine if the policy is linked with a larger regional or national policy, and gather relevant information, does it support or contradict these other policies, and vice versa


Who is undertaking the EIA?

  • Make a note of the person or group responsible for undertaking the assessment, include information on their job responsibilities
  • Consider if they are internal or external to the practice
  • There should be more than one author


When will you start and end the EIA?

  • The assessment should be started prior to policy development or during policy design
  • The EIA should continue throughout the policy development/review
  • For existing policy, ensure that any changes identified as necessary can be implemented
  • The assessment will need to inform decision-making so the end date should take this into account
  • It is not however the end of the assessment cycle, continue monitoring throughout
  • Create a timeline in which to conduct the EIA and record progress throughout the assessment
  • Keep practice records up to date for future EIA assistance


Download our checklist for Step 1 here.