The PSED may be regarded as both an arrangement and a method for equality mainstreaming. Previous separate Equality Duties had required all public bodies to conduct a gender impact assessment and placed a legal responsibility on them to demonstrate their fair treatment of both women and men. In the 2010 PSED, the mainstreaming methods entail publishing equality information and setting equality objectives. At the national level, gender impact assessments are no longer conducted by policymakers, having been replaced by equality impact assessments, which may not include a systematic review of gender issues.
At the States level, a broader, more systematic and more effective range of methods are deployed for mainstreaming equality, such as advisory groups formed to scrutinise regional budgets in terms of equality in Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland, gender-equality indicators and gender analysis have been deployed to uncover where structures, systems and society’s stereotypical norms lead to disadvantage and discrimination on the grounds of gender. Regional commitments towards equality impact assessments far exceed those at the national level, and these are systematically conducted in all three regions of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Most recently, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has begun work to pilot the introduction of equality-responsive budgeting, having developed a framework based on the approaches and methodologies of gender-responsive budgeting.