Significant advances have been made in tackling discrimination and disadvantage. People still experience inequalities and some of these can be long-standing and deep-rooted. Public authorities, including the Scottish Government, make decisions that affect the lives of people in Scotland and we have a duty to consider how to promote equality, foster good relations, address past inequalities and ensure that policies and actions are not unjustly discriminatory. Equality is thus an integral part of our business and the public sector equality duty provides a framework to help us deliver effectively.
This document provides an update on how the Scottish Government is making progress on incorporating equality across its activities and in moving towards its equality outcomes by 2017.
The Scottish Government as a Policy Maker
Building on policies and legislation already in place, the Scottish Government has introduced measures over the last two years to strengthen provision and to help advance equality. These include extending free childcare, providing a legal framework for same-sex marriage, driving forward to increase the diversity and gender balance of public boards and implementing the living wage.
The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights has lead responsibility for equality ensuring that it is considered at the highest level in government. It is an agenda championed by the Cabinet as a whole and is reflected in work across the portfolios, and thus woven into the Scottish Economic Strategy, the Programme for Government and the Scottish budget.
The report highlights the strengthening of data and evidence to support equality analysis and assessment and to inform decision making. The results of the 2011 Census are being published and Scottish Government analysts have provided a range of equality information using these data. These show how Scotland is changing and for the first time provides information on Gypsy/Travellers, a group experiencing particular discrimination. The Equality Evidence Finder, a tool for public access to equality data, is regularly updated.
Equality analysis and assessment informs policy making across government and the report outlines how this is supported. Scotland remains a leader in its approach to incorporating equality considerations in its spending plans including the annual publication of the Equality Budget Statement to accompany the draft Scottish Budget.
The Scottish Government values its stakeholders and places considerable emphasis on working collaboratively with communities. The report highlights the activity around communication and engagement including the support for a range of organisations and projects designed to increase the capacity and voice of equality communities and those experiencing discrimination or disadvantage. The report acknowledges the importance of developing wider and more innovative means of participation and dialogue.
The Scottish Government as an Employer
The Scottish Government's commitment to Fair Work is a key part of its agenda. Our Business Strategy and People Strategy continue to promote equality, diversity and the need to 'be the Scotland we want to see'. The report describes the activity underway to achieve these goals and reflects our close partnership with the Council of Scottish Government Unions. Together we ensure that equality of opportunity shapes all our employment policies and practices.
The report highlights specific measures designed to expand the diversity of the workforce and equality of opportunity in recruitment and resourcing: Positive about Disabled People Scheme; the Modern Apprenticeship Programme; and the Graduate Internship Scheme. Diversity monitoring and analysis of our internal promotion boards, for example, has shaped decisions about our policies and processes. The report emphasises the importance of staff engagement, measured through our annual People Survey, and support for the revitalisation of strong diversity networks.
The report provides summary and detailed tables of employee information and the gender pay gap. Between 2013 and 2014, the gender pay gap reduced by 0.9 percentage points.
In April 2013, the Scottish Government set a suite of equality outcomes that it expects to move towards by 2017. These are on the following topics:
- Scottish Government Representative Workforce
- Scottish Government - Equality and Diversity Matters
- Ministerial Public Appointments
- Violence Against Women is Reduced
- Women and Employment
- Disability and Access to Justice and Advice
These outcomes will be reported upon and reviewed in 2017. This report provides information on the progress to date and the activity being undertaken on each outcome. Whilst there is progress across the programmes of work around each of the outcomes, at this stage some outcomes are better able to evidence change than others, for example the outcome on women's employment.
Email: Mainstreaming Equality Team, MainstreamingEquality@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House