Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Museum Reimagined EQIA


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

The aim of Paisley Museum Re-Imagined is to provide a visitor experience of international quality, the signature project of Paisley's regeneration which tells the inspirational stories of Paisley, its heritage and its pattern. The transformation of the Paisley Museum is underpinned by a series of high-level strategic aims that will turn it into a:

  • Leading European museum — telling the story of Paisley as a pattern and a town
  • Visitor destination drawing its audience from Scotland, UK and overseas
  • Platforming institution for learning, skills development, innovation and research
  • Community resource at the heart of Paisley's local life

This is a strategically significant programme of work, which will have significant impacts on a wide range of equality groups.

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

This is a large scale project which will be undertaken in phases. The initial part of the project focuses on the physical re-imagining of the museum and is the main component of this initial impact assessment. Community and audience engagement is a key part of this and will be further brought to the fore as the programme develops.

The Accessibility section in the Architect's Brief gives details of the main equalities issues identified. These have been taken from involvement with local people and groups and research from other museum developments. These all present an opportunity to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different groups.

The Museum will be welcoming to all and barrier-free. It should be fully accessible (physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially) and should not only meet minimum standards required by the Equalities Act 2010 (and associated codes of practice), but exhibit best practice towards accessibility throughout the project for visitors and staff. Accessibility should be considered not just in terms of disabled provision, but also gender, sexuality and nonbinary provision, neurodiversity, BAME and community representation and intellectual provision. The exhibition elements will address inclusion and representation, but the MDDT should always consider other groups covered by the Equalities Act and make up our constituency of visitors (and help us address why some are currently non-visitors). Throughout the building (and displays) all changes in floor level should include at least a 70% colour/ tonal contrast and adequate lighting to make changes in level clear. Artificial lighting should smooth transitions between light and dark areas to assist those with visual impairments. All circulation routes to be suitably sized for larger powered wheelchairs with adequate spaces between doors of any draught lobbies. Wheelchair users may come in groups, so require adequate space for multiple occupants in lifts, otherwise transfer and supervision of the groups is too difficult and takes too long. All desks (Reception, Shop, Café Counter, exhibition interactives, etc) require kneespace for wheelchairs, lower counter areas and hearing loops. Places where a customer interacts with a member of staff (Reception, Café, Shop) should be free from distracting backgrounds or high contrasts in light levels that can impair lip-reading or orientation. Internal doors should be 'hold open' where possible/permissible, and any required to keep gallery conditions should be automatic or assisted opening. Tactile floor finishes around steps and changes in level are useful in outdoor situations but can cause trip hazards indoors. Accessible toilets to be provided in each toilet area, with alternate left-hand and right-hand WC pan approaches, a Changing Places toilet in the main facilities and some gender-neutral provision and baby change. Doorways and toilet entrances should facilitate easy transfer for both wheelchair users and the ambulant disabled. Colour/tonal contrast between appliances and grab rails to assist those with visual impairment. Ensure toilet provision meets current British Standard. Seating for rest opportunities should be dispersed throughout the Museum (all buildings) and should always include some with arms and backs to assist the ambulant disabled in getting in and out of the seats. Signage will need to be clear, with colour/tonal contrast to aid legibility for those with visual impairment. Acoustics around the Reception area will be important as it will be a high traffic area with multiple sources of noise, and some acoustic absorption or control may be required for those with hearing impairments to navigate and make enquiries to the Reception. MDDT to resolve disabled parking provision/drop-off to meet our obligations under any relevant statutory regulation and reconcile with emergency access provision, service deliveries, pedestrian garden access and any Museum object deliveries. In addition to the practical issues relating to the Equalities Act 2010 we would like to explore the Museum and Garden as a space for well-being, that provides a safe space for contemplation and reflection. We would like the Museum to provide a variety of spaces that cater for different needs and personality types, from those that are more social and gregarious to those that prefer a solitary, calm experience. Visitors will gravitate to spaces that suit themselves, but there needs to be a range of spatial types (aside from the 'grand' galleries) from which each visitor can to choose and develop a feeling of ownership or belonging, or a sense that the Museum is 'for them', while also catering to individuals with contrasting needs.

Because our building and campus occupies a somewhat attenuated plan, extending up the hill over various changes in level, the travel distances may always be significant for those with mobility issues, so we would anticipate any new extension that attempts to resolve the circulation systems to include plenty of spaces for pause and rest. This would be an added benefit for the elderly that may not have specific mobility issues, but may lack stamina. The pause points should not be simply a seat in the corridor as this may inhibit both use and utility, and should rather be a pleasant space to punctuate their journey, take in views, to be able to people-watch, to reflect on the garden or collection objects or simply to orientate and plan the next part of the journey. Any spaces created for seating should not exclude wheelchair users from the group. Specific spaces for children, with views at child height, should also be considered — ideas like slides for children and coin chutes for donation boxes could make merit of the cascade circulation.

The Employer will constitute a number of focus groups or advisory panels to represent users and stakeholders and the MDDT is required to engage with at least a number of these, most likely the Access Panel and Community Panel. Interaction will be managed by the PMR Visitor Studies Officer and managed by the Employer and will mostly fit around the regular meetings schedule, but some additional meetings, prototyping, workshops and presentations may be required at key stages.

Consultation with these groups builds a sense of ownership, involvement and goodwill to the project, but also can make meaningful improvements to the designs and details, and help build support.

"... the acid test for the new museum would be how it copes with 5 wheelchairs, who just show up in a group, unannounced." Renfrewshire Disability Arts Forum feedback

The entrance to the museum will be designed to be welcoming from all directions, not just the railway station. The westward looking aspect is particularly important for engaging those from the more deprived neighbourhoods.

Opportunities for further positive equalities work are to be exploited, for example colour selection for the external lighting to allow the Museum frontage to be lit to show support for LGBT+ History Month etc

Much other equalities led work is planned in the museum, beyond the architect's brief. This includes:

  • Looking at representation in displays to ensure inclusivity.
  • Co-produced story displays - This could involve groups of people researching objects or a topic using the museum store and then translating this into an display.
  • The Activity Plan for post opening work is intended for designed for equality, likely with a smaller exhibition space, but with renewal of story displays in the main galleries of the museum to update displays, ensure change and respond to visitor interest.
  • Activities like social bridging events will be explored in the Activity Plan to pair up disparate communities in a social space, so contributing to our duty to promote good relations.
  • There is planned to be an array of invitations to participate to ensure that appropriate opportunities can be accessed by all communities.
  • The focus groups and audience panels have had and will have a broad input, from accessible fixtures and fittings to content for displays.
  • Different interpretive methods will be used to suit different groups of people, for example younger people, sensory impaired people etc.
  • Electronic introductions to the museum will all be subtitled, with versions in BSL and other community languages.

August 2018 Update:

The Advisory Panels have now been set up - Access Panel, Community Panel, Formal Learning Panel, Youth Panel, Junior Panel and Academic & Ethics Panel.

The spread of young people panels will ensure that the interests of different age groups are represented. The Access Panel will comprise representatives from the DRC, Scottish War blinded, RAP and others - membership is still open and can be added to. The Community Panel will comprise representatives from community organisations and Community Councils. The Advisory Panels will hold their first meetings August to October.

The appointed architects are working on the Community Benefits to be delivered, which may have a positive impact on our ability to promote equality and good relations.

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

The design and development of Paisley Museum will continue as planned, taking into account all the input and research relating to equalities that has been included in the thinking in developing this impact assessment.

Evidence of assessment

Summary of evidence used to consider equality and human rights impacts

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.
  • For the museum -Visitors to Paisley Museum currently represent a range of ages, with two-thirds falling within the 35-64 years age bracket. The current survey excluded early years audiences. Early years and teenagers (currently not shown here or showing low take-up) are audiences that we are keen to increase their inclusion within and use of the Museum.
  • 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 the socio economic duty 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

The brief includes provision for all of the equality issues identified and so should be implemented as drafted.

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 is planned and already underway in developing the audience panels.

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. The Visitor Studies Officer and the Co - Production Officer are now in place and identifying the Audience Panels. Different groups will be brought together and a variety of engagement tools and activities used.


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

So far, several equalities related issues have been identified for a range of groups (as recognized via the involvement and consultation activities that have taken place and the demographic data). We will continue with the involvement and engagement activities to address any further equalities issues identified, as the project develops.

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

The involvement activities with the Disability Resource Centre, Renfrewshire Access Panel and the Disability Arts Forum identified specific accessibility issues, amongst others. These are being fed into the planning process.

August 2018 Update:

Ongoing involvement with equality groups will take place through the Advisory Panels to ensure that the project continues to meet the needs of equality groups. Where it is felt that views from certain equality groups are missing, further members will be sought, for example the recent addition of Deaf BSL users to the Panel.

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. The impact assessment process will be revisited at key stages in the museum development. Next in August, ahead of the museum closure.

August 2018 Update:

KPIs are being developed for the Paisley Museum ReImagined Project which will also measure progress in the actions that promote equality within this impact assessment. In this way the measurement of success of the Equality Impact Assessment will be mainstreamed into the project through these KPIs. For example measures are being set to increase visits from under represented groups, such as people with disabilities or people from more deprived socio economic groups.