Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Central Library EQIA


Overview of the policy or service and why it has been impact assessed 

The Paisley Central Library currently located adjacent to Paisley Museum will be moved into a High Street location.

Main equality and human rights impacts identified from the assessment against the general equality duty and human rights

There are likely to be two sets of impacts related to the interim provision and the final library. In large part, we recognize that the interim provision is likely to have more negative impacts than the final library, which will take advantage of opportunities to provide positive impacts.

The consultation revealed that the needs of younger people could be better catered for, as distinct and separate to the needs of children. Provision will be made for this in the new library, but may be more challenging in the interim provision. It was also recognized that opening hours can have differential impacts and different age groups, but at this stage the service user and potential service user involvement hasn't shown any impacts around the current hours. This will be kept under review as the assessment progresses.

There are potential access impacts for disabled people. The final library will be more accessible and local disability organizations, such as the DRC and Access Panel will be involved in planning. Plans are in place to include a changing places toilet in the new library and many other accessibility features. The interim provision may not be as accessible as we would desire, so we will work with local input to try and make work around solutions. The final library may be challenging because there is a lack of parking nearby, whereas at present, arrangements can be made on occasion for parking beside the adjacent museum.

Potential issues for local transgender people include access to appropriate toilets and appropriate options on forms (eg including the prefix Mx). While plans for the new library are in the development there are plans for gender neutral toilets. It is so far unclear what options will be available for the interim location.

Some potential issues were identified for infant changing and feeding, which disproportionately affects women. While the final library is in the planning phase, inclusion of provision for baby changing and toddler friendly toilets are being sought. It is recognized that it might not be possible to offer bottle warming facilities. The Baby Friendly Initiative run by UNICF has been supported by libraries and this will continue, ensuring that breastfeeding is welcome.

Few potential impacts were found on the basis of race in terms of the re development. In other areas this has been considered in terms of spaces for specific BME led community groups to meet. This will be kept under consideration though, in terms of publicity and wider practice around the library collection etc.

The final library is intended to provide a flexible space which can accommodate the needs of both service users and staff. In this way it is intended there will be flexible space that can accommodate needs as they arrive, for example prayer.

At this stage, we do not perceive any specific impacts on the basis of sexual orientation. In terms of gender there may be different user patterns, based on caring responsibilities etc and these will be kept under review as the plans develop.

What (if any) changes to the policy or service will be undertaken as a result of the impact assessment

The design and development of the new library will continue with the considerations above fed in.

Evidence of assessment

Summary of evidence used to consider equality and human rights impacts

Service user, non service user and lapsed service user involvement was carried out in several different formats, for example face to face in various Paisley locations and online. A creative design consultation was also carried out with various groups. Both of these documents are available  and have been used in large part to inform both the library move and re design process and this impact assessment.

We have some data related to age and gender profile of service users, but recognize that many users are not members or are only online users and the Central Library is there for all residents of Renfrewshire; therefore the analysis of the population of Renfrewshire as a whole is the most relevant demographic data to use in planning the future of the library.

The highlights of our Renfrewshire demographic data include:

  • Our population is ageing and it is projected that the number of people aged over 65 is expected to rise significantly in the next twenty years, particularly in the over 75 age group.
  • Renfrewshire is less ethnically diverse than Scotland as a whole, with almost 95% of Renfrewshire citizens identifying as White Scottish or White British. Almost half of Renfrewshire citizens born outside of the UK have been here for over 10 years. However, Renfrewshire's Black and Minority Ethnic population is rising gradually, particularly with economic migrants from other European countries such as Poland. Our schools data gives us an indication that Renfrewshire is becoming more ethnically diverse.
  • There is some evidence to suggest there are more disabled people in Renfrewshire than in Scotland as a whole. 20.5% of economically inactive people between16-74 are long-term sick or disabled. The profile of different disabilities is similar to Scotland, and of those whose day to day life is limited a lot by health or disability, and 31% of people have more than one condition. We find that our highest rates of disability are also in our most deprived wards, as measured by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). Our approach to tackling poverty, promoting equality and readiness for the socio economic duty implementation put us in a good position to understand and respond to this picture.
  • Reliable statistics on sexual orientation remain an issue. Household surveys indicate that 2% of people identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in Scotland, with younger people much more likely to identify as LGB. It should be noted that the Stonewall estimate of lesbian, gay and bisexual people is between 5-7%, and this estimate is widely used within public authorities. Demographic information on gender re- assignment is even less reliable.

Justification of the option that will be taken

As this project is still in develop, the options for making positive impacts can be designed in to the process as it progresses

Actions to remove or mitigate negative impacts and actions to maximise positive impacts to promote equality and human rights

None at the stage, but further involvement of specific equalities led community groups will be needed, for example via the DRC and Access Panel

Publication date of impact assessment if not the same as the Board Report

Same as Board report

Further update on the identification of impact resulting from the implementation of the policy service delivery

This will be updated and kept under review as the project moves through the stages of development.


Outcome of the evidence gathered (key issues identified from analysis)

So far, specific issues have been identified for younger people, disabled people and some older people (as recognized via the involvement and consultation activities that have taken place and the demographic data). We recognize that we may not have information about the impact on other groups to form firm conclusions at this stage, so will keep a wider view open in relation to impacts as the project progresses.

Results of the consultation and involvement activities undertaken with customers/service users including protected characteristics

The involvement activities identified specific needs for younger people and also access issues, amongst others. These are being fed into the planning process.

Monitoring and review arrangements relevant to the implementation of policy and service delivery

As this project is at an early stage, the impacts are still being fully uncovered to feed into the design process. We might want to revisit this on a regular basis, depending when key stages in the process are met.