In May 2012, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published Making Fair Financial Decisions: An Assessment of HM Treasury (HMT)'s 2010 Spending Review conducted under Section 31 of the 2006 Equality Act (EHRC, 2012). One of the key issues examined in the EHRC report was cumulative impact assessment. Cumulative impact assessment techniques measure the overall impact of a set of changes to government policies (such as tax or welfare reforms, or changes to other public spending) on the UK population, analysed according to one or more characteristics (e.g. income level, age, family type, ethnicity, disability, and so on).
Rather than looking at individual policy decisions in isolation, cumulative impact assessment helps government and the public to assess the overall impact of government policies on the population as a whole and on specific groups. The government already undertakes cumulative impact assessments, but not for the main groups of people sharing protected characteristics.