Specification of Requirements

Where goods or services are being purchased, a detailed examination of the needs of the end user must be undertaken to determine if the specification of the goods or services should differ to satisfy the need of all potential end users, with the aim of ascertaining whether the specification needs to be created to reflect the needs of different protected groups. For instance, uniform specification(s) must be acceptable to all likely end users, irrespective of, for example, their racial groups and accordingly, the resulting contract would be deemed to be 'highly relevant' under, in the case of race, the RR(A)A.

Public bodies have legal duties for all the protected groups: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief) and gender (sex). The principal responsibility lies with the purchaser to ensure that the specification is compliant from the outset.

Questions to Ask when Drafting a Specification

  • Who will this impact? Staff, students? Which protected groups?
  • Obtain equalities data for likely end users; for example racial, gender or disability profiles are readily available through University equality and diversity data, HESA or nationally. Information on other protected groups may be available through the Office of National Statistics, the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) or Stonewall.
  • Is the need for the product likely to be different for different protected groups? For example, will Black and Minority Ethnic groups' usage or uptake be different to general uptake patterns?
  • Is the way that the product or service delivered likely to differ by protected group? For example, how would disabled users be able to engage with the service or product?
  • Do different protected groups have different group needs?
  • Ensure that terminology used is inclusive. For example if the service or product captures end-user's marital status, does it also include reference to civil partnership?
  • Consult end users - this could be done through the University's Equality and Diversity section, the University's Diversity Networks (see the University's Equality and Diversity web pages), the CUSU or Graduate Union.
  • Define specification based on needs. This should be transparent and justifiable.
  • Ensure specification is flexible enough to deal with changing equality requirements.
  • Can requirement or specification be split to add value?
  • Cross check specification versus the University's Equality Policy
  • Are there any specific requirements / duties to include (reporting etc) in the specification in relation to equality? For example, monitoring of staff or end users for uptake by different racial groups, disability or gender. Monitoring for other protected groups is increasing and this should be reviewed to ensure that best practice is followed.
  • Re-confirm specification