Part 2: Progress on Equality Outcomes
In April 2013 the Scottish Government published a set of eight equality outcomes for the period 2013-17 around the following issues:
The equality outcomes and background information are available in the Scottish Government Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2013.
Overview of Progress
The Scottish Government's policies and programmes are focused on improving the outcomes for the people of Scotland; to making a real difference to people's lives. The equality outcomes that have been set are designed to focus attention on some longstanding and deep-rooted issues and to help increase the capacity and performance of the Scottish Government. Change in some of these areas will not necessarily come quickly or indeed easily and we are aware that shifting attitudes and changing systems and processes can take time. So while we are pleased to report progress across all of the outcomes set by the Scottish Government we recognise that in some areas progress has been slow or subject to some fluctuation. Effort will continue to be sustained as we are determined to make a real difference to the lived experience of our equality communities.
The Scottish Government prides itself on its workforce policies, its support for staff and its commitment to equality and diversity. It is determined to be exemplar and so will continue to seek improvement. In relation to our role as an employer we have made progress towards a more representative workforce, increased the reporting on religion and sexual orientation, raised awareness about equality across the organisation and are on our way towards increasing staff confidence. We report progress on our employee outcomes in the Scottish Governement Representative Workforce section.
Public institutions make many of the decisions that affect people's lives and as such their boards should reflect something of the communities they serve. In addition their governance can be enhanced by being able to draw on a breadth of talent, being informed by different perspectives and insights and engaging the fullest range of appropriate skills. We value the contribution of those who participate and give service through public appointments but we are clear of the need to increase the diversity and gender balance. Our equality outcome on public appointments aims to increase the diversity of the participation in our boards and we report progress in the Ministerial Public Appointments section.
Challenging attitudes which result in discrimination, disadvantage and abuse is a particular area of focus for the Scottish Government. Our equality outcomes on tackling discrimination and prejudice against Gypsy/Travellers and reducing Violence Against Women show progress although we note the impact of under-reporting on the upward trend in reported incidents. We report on this in the Violence Against Women is Reduced section.
There has been a concerted effort to address the barriers to women's employment and to promote gender equality. We are pleased with the progress that is being made towards improving women's position in the economy and participation in the labour market and report in the Women and Employment section.
Access to justice particularly for disabled people remains an important issue for us and our partners in the justice sector. We report on the activities being undertaken in the Disability and Access to Justice and Advice section.
Education is Scotland's lifeblood; a vital element in its social and economic wellbeing and essential for its future success. Our equality outcome in this area shows, in the Education section, how progress is being made and how we will develop this work over the coming years.
Setting equality outcomes makes it clear where we want to improve performance in order to bring about some tangible change and shift in people's life experience. As an employer and as a policy maker, we have used the Improvement Framework to test policy in practice change where we can, for example, in our public appointments procedures.
Reporting progress on outcomes relies on data and evidence. Significant progress has been made to improve the equality evidence base in Scotland. The Census is the richest source of equality data and the Scottish Government's analysis and dissemination of this has provided new information on the life circumstances for a number of equality groups. This analysis has shown how these groups fare in the labour market, education, health, housing and transport. New statistics on particular groups, e.g. Gypsy/Travellers, provide a strong baseline which will allow for the measurement of future progress.
But barriers to gathering evidence still exist. These tend to be around the fact that data on some of the protected characteristics ( e.g. sexual orientation) come from sample surveys where the sample size is often too small to carry out meaningful disaggregations. Data on transgender and on pregnancy and maternity are very difficult to collect, particularly from traditional surveys. There are therefore barriers to reporting directly on some of our equality outcomes at this stage.
The Scottish Government will continue to identify and fill evidence gaps, and will aim to improve the online presentation of its equality evidence.
The Scottish Government wants to improve the outcomes for the communities that it serves. To 'be the change it wants to see', the Scottish Government needs a workforce more representative of those communities. It understands that there are deep rooted inequalities which act as barriers and therefore there is a responsibility to ensure that these are not perpetuated in the systems and procedures relating to the employment of and engagement with its workforce.
We were aware that our workforce profile in 2013 did not reflect the wider Scottish population: although women made up 52% of the population and 51.3% of our workforce, only 36.3% were in our most senior grades: only 1.4% were from a minority ethnic background, compared to a (2009i) estimate of 3% in the wider Scottish population and only 3.9% had recorded that they were disabled compared to a figure of 20% for the wider population.
We were also aware that the coverage of our employment data at that time had gaps. Although we had a 78.3% response rate for ethnicity and 63% for disability, we only had a 19.4% response rate for sexual orientation and 19.5% for religion and belief. We are committed to addressing these gaps to ensure that we have an effective evidence base for our employment policy decisions and work is underway to improve these response rates.
On publication of the 2011 Census data in 2013 we were better placed to use the robust information in that to help us understand more about people's identities and experiences and to inform our understanding and decisions about what a representative workforce should look like.
The Scottish Government remains committed to increasing the diversity of our people within the organisation, with diversity and equality considerations continuing to underpin all of our employment policies and practices. To support us in doing so we require robust and complete information across relevant protected characteristics for all of our staff.
We understand the need for high quality staffing information to allow us to monitor our policies and practice. For staff in post, we collect diversity information through our electronic human resources system ( eHR), which allows staff to update their own information online, across the protected characteristics. Our eHR system is the main source of the employee data that informs our employee policies and procedures and helps us to assess the equality impact.
In April 2014 we updated our HR systems to reflect changes to the 2011 Census categories, so we would be better able to measure how reflective we were of Scottish society. With the new categories in place for staff diversity monitoring we are now able to measure progress in this area and identify gaps in our data collection. As we are now able to capture visible and non-visible minorities, it is our plan going forward to report on both.
Initial analysis of our staff diversity information in 2013, identified low response rates to some protected characteristics, in particular around sexual orientation and religion or belief. Before we were able to consider appropriate interventions to change the shape of the organisation we were aware that we had to increase the levels of staff providing their diversity information; In doing so it was important to understand fully the barriers to declaring diversity information.
During 2013-14 we held sessions with our staff diversity networks to try to get a clearer picture on the barriers. The barriers identified by staff included; lack of clarity of purpose or use of the data; concern over confidentiality; resistance to having to declare information more than once as systems not aligned; process of completing the data fields over-complicated.
Over the past 12 months we have been implementing solutions and improvements to address these barriers. In particular, we have worked to simplify the data capture process within our electronic data capture system and linking appropriate HR systems to capture data only once. We are also helping staff to understand the process and reasons why we are asking for this data, by producing detailed guidance and have a detailed Q&A published on our intranet.
We have also held sessions with, and issued communications to, our staff diversity networks to encourage them to complete their own diversity information. We have sent targeted messaging to all members of our Senior Civil Service and our senior managers. Although we are making progress on declaration rates, with significant progress being made in particular for religion or belief with an increase of 25.5% and an increase of 24.8% for sexual orientation, further work is needed and we will continue to build on this programme of targeted action.
|Religion or Belief||19.5%||41.6%||44.3%|
However, from our data we also appear to have experienced a decrease in the numbers of staff providing disability information (which includes not disabled and prefer not to say) in that period but have experienced an actual increase in the numbers of disabled staff from 3.9% in Jan 2013 to 4.9% in Dec 2014. We are currently unaware of the reason for this discrepancy and expect that this may have been due, in part, to the transfer of data across our systems. It is of concern to us and we will aim to identify reasons by undertaking a further analysis of the information and will work closely with our disability network to identify any areas of concern.
Now that we are able to identify where we have gaps in our data, planning is underway for implementation of a programme of work and communications plan to address those gaps. This will ensure that we have comprehensive actions in place to increase the level of diversity data within the Scottish Government to have a comprehensive profile of our workforce by 2017.
In 2014 we set up the Public Boards and Corporate Diversity Programme ( PBCDPB), which was established by Scottish Government encompassing: improving Board diversity in private, public and third sector organisations, making Ministerial public appointments more diverse, and improving the diversity of Scottish Government's own leadership.
Although the initial focus is on improving gender balance, the project relating to Scottish Government's own diversity at senior levels aspires to increase representation of people at senior level across all protected characteristics. We know that our people, in particular those currently underrepresented in the organisation, require role models at the highest level in the organisation to be visible and inspire them.
Specific work on improving the diversity of our Band C and SCS staffing began in late 2013, with an initial focus on how we improve and sustain the gender diversity of the organisation at that senior level, including our Non-Executive Directors. This has seen an increase in women at band C from 48.9% in Jan 2013 to 51.9% in Dec 2014. Going forward, we will be looking at how we extend that work to all grades and across protected characteristics including disability and ethnicity .
(% of staff)
(% of staff)
(% of staff)
(% of staff)
* All figures are percentages of known staff responses for the Scottish Government Main Bargaining Unit
** Not published to preserve confidentiality
The publication of the Programme for Government on 26 November 2014 put equality and tackling gender inequality at the heart of what we do. As part of delivering the work to deliver the Programme for Government we are committed to making Scottish Government's senior leadership more diverse, reflecting broadly the general population in Scotland by 2020.
Moving forward it is our intention to use our response to the Civil Service Talent Action Plan to re-emphasise our commitment to becoming a truly diverse organisation, reflective of the people of Scotland and place a renewed focus on mainstreaming activity. By mainstreaming the outcomes of the Talent Action Plan into our People Strategy, we will ensure that diversity remains at the heart of all interactions with our people and ensure that our policies and processes are in line with best practice.
Equality is at the core of the Scottish Government's purpose and work. Scotland's Economic Strategy provides a framework for Government business and sets out an ambition of achieving inclusive growth, where competitiveness is balanced with fairness and equality. Alongside the Programme for Government, this has placed renewed focus on action to achieve social justice, to promote equality and to tackle inequality in Scotland.
Underpinning this is a stronger than ever commitment to pass power to Scotland's people and communities and to open up opportunities for all to participate fully in society and the economy.
So it is even more important that as an organisation we are confident in equality and diversity matters; that we expand our knowledge on the issues and inequalities that affect different groups of people; that we feel confident in engaging with diverse communities and that we are able to promote equality in our day-to-day work.
As an employer we want to ensure that the HR policies we have in place for our staff are inclusive, effective and support our staff. We also want to be able to identify and eliminate discrimination and unfair treatment. To that end we regularly review our policies using relevant staffing data and involving our staff diversity networks. We also benchmark with other organisations to ensure they reflect best practice. As part of our improvement process we will be undertaking a project to gauge the level of knowledge about HR policies and to better understand the issues on which our staff most regularly require information.
The People Survey is our annual organisation-wide initiative seeking opinions about work. The survey runs October 1 to 31 as part of the Civil Service People Survey conducted across 101 UK Civil Service Departments. It provides an opportunity to gain a good measure of the effectiveness of HR policies, in particular our Fairness at Work policy and our Flexible Working Policy. It also helps to establish how different groups of people feel in the organisation and their levels of engagement.
The detailed analysis and insights from the People Survey provide information on Employee Engagement, Inclusion and fair treatment, Wellbeing, Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying across grades, business areas and protected characteristics. The themes about which people are most positive include 'Inclusion and Fair Treatment' (81% of 4,452 respondents). This is our highest score since the survey started in 2009 and is +6 above the Civil Service average and +3 above Civil Service High Performers, defined as the upper quartile across all 101 organisations that have taken part. Those experiencing discrimination at work is 7% which is down since 2012. Those experiencing bullying or harassment is 8% which is static since 2012.
This analysis feeds into the annual evaluation of the People Strategy, informing priorities for 2015 as well as contributing to the Scottish Government's People Strategy Annual Report. Priority outcomes for the People Strategy in 2014 continue to be Leadership & Management, Building Capability, Wellbeing & Resilience.
The information from People Survey analysis is used to identify and assist business areas where the survey has shown potential issues of concern. Bespoke sessions are run to raise awareness of the policy and its application in the workplace. During 2013-14 and 2014-15 these have included sessions on Fairness at Work, Alternative Working Patterns and reasonable adjustments.
In addition, through our staff diversity networks, we have ran various awareness raising sessions on the areas that staff have told us they are keen to know more about. These have included sessions on Asperger's, Alzheimer's, Flexible Working, Mental Health, and cancer awareness.
Raising awareness on transgender issues
We had identified a lack of knowledge of transgender issues across our workforce. To improve knowledge in this area, during May - June 2014 we held, in conjunction with Scottish Transgender Alliance, six transgender awareness sessions. Each of the sessions was tailored for a different policy area, in order to facilitate a more in-depth discussion of the trans issues that were particularly relevant to that policy area. The following policy areas, based in a number of different Directorates, were covered: Public Finance, Business and Enterprise; Health and Social Care; Housing and Sport; Justice; Education, Children and Families; Equality, Human Rights and Third Sector.
We measured the immediate impact of the awareness sessions on the participants' knowledge, which showed that participants' self-evaluation of their level of knowledge of transgender issues on a scale of 0 (no knowledge) to 10 (extremely knowledgeable) had increased from an average rating of 4.6 to an average of 7.7. Following the training, no participant rated their knowledge below 5, compared to 43 participants having done so before the training. In addition, 71 of the 84 respondents (84.6%) indicated that they thought the knowledge gained could be put to use in the work that they do; only one person thought they could not (12 were unsure). We are planning to measure the impact of the sessions one year on to establish how knowledge has been used by the participants in practice, and 60 participants have agreed to assist with this.
Transgender-related information and statistics, to help with equality impact assessments in particular, have been expanded and made available on our intranet pages.
Raising awareness of inclusive communication
Being able to communicate in an inclusive way is a key requirement in order to be able to reach all of the stakeholders. Guidance and tips are available, and to help raise awareness of inclusive communication principles within the organisation, we are undertaking a series of seminars on Inclusive Communication.
The first of these was held in conjunction with Sense Scotland, in September 2014 for Scottish Government Communications colleagues who lead on the communication activities within the organisation. A programme of activities is currently being developed by colleagues to further embed inclusive communication principles into consultations, marketing, publications and internal and external websites.
Embedding inclusive communication principles across the organisation will not only be important for disabled people, but will also assist in addressing the needs of some older and minority ethnic people.
Measuring confidence levels on equality issues
As activity and focus on equality and diversity have grown over the years so has the level of awareness and understanding across the organisation. However, not all policy areas offer the same exposure to issues or opportunity to gain experience directly with communities. As such some people are more confident than others in equality matters. In order to take stock and to identify how we can help grow people's confidence and understanding, we have conducted a staff survey on Equality. Following the analysis of the survey a series of focus groups will be undertaken to explore the emerging issues in more depth. The results of the staff survey and the focus groups will then be used to shape the next phase of our equality and diversity awareness raising programme.
Increasing confidence in engagement
The Scottish Government is clear about the importance of shifting the power of decision making towards communities and about engaging and involving people in the matters that affect them. As this work around participation and democratic renewal takes shape, so we will be looking to develop the skills of our staff; increasing confidence and understanding around equality and diversity will be a vital part of this work.
Most importantly however, we will need to draw on the expertise and insight of our stakeholders and communities, including equality groups, in making the changes to the way we do our business. We will need to work together in order to ensure that all the people of Scotland are heard and able to influence policy making (see section 1.5 for further information on community engagement).
Public bodies make decisions which are of relevance and importance to communities across Scotland. Ministers make appointments to the Boards and governing committees of many of these bodies and it is important that those serving come from the widest of backgrounds if those bodies are to have rounded and informed input and credibility across Scotland.
Appointment to these boards is on merit but under-representation of a range of groups makes it likely that talent is being lost or being under-utilised. We know therefore that there is a need to address the barriers to appointment and through effective guidance and training to ensure that processes are fair and transparent and open to all. We also acknowledge that a key issue, in parallel, is to develop the experience and capacity of under-represented communities to be successful in appointment and thus to contribute to governance in the public sector. The table below sets out the comparison between the figures for the year to December 2014 compared to the figures for the year to January 2013:
|Regulated appointments||Year to 31 Jan 2013
|Year to 31 Dec 2014
|Minority ethnic people**||4.9||6.2||4.7||*|
|Age under 50||21.2||22.7||29.8||24.9|
*Values for less than 5 have been supressed to decrease the risk
of disclosure of information about individuals.
** 'Minority ethnic' covers the non-white broad ethnic groups: African, Caribbean or Black; Asian, Asian Scottish and Asian British; mixed or multiple ethnic group; other ethnic group.
These figures demonstrate a significant increase in both applications from and appointments of women helping to increase the gender diversity of Ministerial public appointments. Conversely, we note in particular the drop in applications and appointments from disabled people, although this is based on small numbers and longer-term data is required to establish real trends.
It is important to recognise that progress towards greater diversity in public appointments must be measured over a long period to establish a trend, as year on year figures may not present a complete picture. This is for a variety of reasons, for example: the number of rounds and vacancies to be filled fluctuates from year to year; the types of bodies to which appointments are made does not follow a standard pattern from year to year; the nature of individual appointments varies from round to round; and decisions may be taken to reappoint or extend existing members rather than undertake new appointment rounds.
In November 2013, Scottish Government held the Women On Board: Quality through Diversity event, attended by Chairs from a wide range of public bodies and women considered to be genuine prospects for board positions, having applied previously for public appointment or indicated their interests in doing so. The event examined the perceived barriers that prevent women from being appointed to Scotland's public boards and considered potential action to help overcome them.
From this work we set up the Public Boards and Corporate Diversity Programme Board to oversee a comprehensive programme of work covering: improving Board diversity in private, public and third sector organisations, making Ministerial public appointments more diverse, and improving the diversity of Scottish Government's own leadership. The programme board is chaired at Director General level and meets on a quarterly basis.
Whilst we are giving some initial and particular focus to gender, with the aim of achieving gender balance by 2020, we will not lose sight of other groups who are underrepresented on Scotland's Boards. We will draw on the lessons we learn from our work on improving gender balance, recognising the potential benefits for a wide range of diversity groups. Furthermore increasing the number of women appointed has the potential to impact more broadly than gender as women bring with them other protected characteristics.
Using Scottish Government's improvement methodology approach and maximising the flexibility offered by the 2013 Code of Practice for public appointments, we have trialled different methods of outreach and selection to bring forward a more diverse range of candidates for appointment. We have, for example, seen the use of role play and board simulation exercises for the first time in competitions, and we have introduced different types of selection criteria, for example, the 'potential to develop as a board member', or first-hand experience within the sector, instead of the more traditional selection criteria around corporate governance, thus seeking to achieve true diversity of contribution. As can be seen from the above these new approaches have led to us starting to receive applications from a broader range of candidates. However, it is clear that we have more work to do, for example in improving opportunities for increased representation of disabled people and those from minority ethnic groups.
We have learned from previous outreach work that a targeted approach is the most effective in getting to under-represented groups. As our immediate focus is on gender balance in Ministerial public appointments, we have concentrated our initial outreach work around women. In the last year we have targeted various women's conferences and networks to publicise opportunities. We have held open days as part of the publicity strategy for individual appointment rounds, inviting potential candidates to come along to access help and advice about public appointments and the process. We have been working closely with the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland ( CESPLS) to raise awareness of public appointments, for example delivering presentations and holding joint workshops, with the aim of supporting strong applications from underrepresented groups, which meet the required competencies of the positions.
We also know that due to the increase in the use of digital technology that people access information in different ways now. We have therefore made changes to the way in which we advertise public appointments. This has involved increased and improved use of social media to engage with a wider, more diverse audience. There has also been much more emphasis on using the Boards' own networks and contacts to ensure we reach the widest possible audience.
Published in November 2014, Scottish Government's Programme for Government encourages the public, private and third sector to set a voluntary target for gender balance on their boards of 50:50 by 2020, by signing up to the Partnership for Change. We want to see Boards better reflect the population and e communities they serve, with better access to talent and improved board governance, decision making and performance. The Scottish Cabinet sets an example by having 50:50 gender balance.
In addition, to help improve transparency public bodies will be asked to publish the diversity composition of the board and an associated action plan to work towards greater diversity and gender balance. Scottish Government will continue to work with partners, such as the Institute of Directors, to develop the talent pipeline for boards.
We will continue momentum with this work to ensure that continued improvement and progress is made.
Current pieces of work underway include:
- training for selection panel members in unconscious bias - we understand that all people carry with them biases that can impact on decisions, therefore we will develop training to raise awareness and to help to remove any bias in our processes;
- a revised, accessible appointability/competency framework to assist panels in setting selection criteria that do not inadvertently restrict the pool of people that may consider putting themselves forward for consideration; and
- a simplified, accessible application pack and supporting materials to ensure that we do not inadvertently exclude any particular group from making an application.
Further work planned includes:
- a communications and engagement strategy which will encompass further targeted outreach to raise awareness for internal and external stakeholders, ensuring that our opportunities are promoted to the more difficult to reach groups or these groups who traditionally would not apply for boards; and
- pre-application support that will help under-represented groups to better understand the application processes so that they are better placed to submit an application that fully reflects their skills and experience.
Violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights. It damages women's and girls' health and well-being, limits their freedom and potential, and causes wide-ranging negative impacts on our society. The Scottish Government is unequivocal - violence against women and girls in any form, has no place in the strong and flourishing Scotland we all want to see.
|Incidents resulting in the recording of a
(of which reported to the procurator fiscal)
|Rape & attempted rape||1,274||1,462||1,808|
|Sexual assault ||2,908||3,008||3,405|
|Crimes associated with prostitution ||567||534||490|
|Total Sexual crimes||7,361||7,693||8,604|
Regrettably, as Tables 1 and 2 demonstrate, violence against women and girls in our society remains prevalent as a large proportion of these crimes and incidents reported involve women and girls. However, while there is undoubtedly significant progress to be made towards achieving a reduction in violence against women and girls, evidence does point towards increasing numbers of women coming forward to report violence and abuse perpetrated against them.
According to data from Police Scotland, approximately half of the increase in sexual crimes recorded in 2013-14 was driven by increased reporting of crimes not reported at the time they were committed. In 2013-14, 2,091 offences were reported at least 12 months after they were alleged to have been committed, representing 24.3% of all recorded sexual crime.
While it is difficult to say definitively, it is likely that an increase in historic reporting is at least partly attributable to victims of these crimes having greater confidence in the police, a conclusion supported by Rape Crisis Scotland. Since the establishment of the single service in 2013, Police Scotland has taken a number of steps to: raise awareness of violence and abuse; encourage victims to come forward, and to improve the investigation and detection of different forms of violence (see Figure 1).
A Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse currently being piloted by Police Scotland in Aberdeen and Ayrshire for six months from 25 November 2014 will potentially further enhance the opportunities available and the confidence of victims of domestic abuse to come forward. The scheme provides a formal mechanism for people to seek information about a partner's past criminal history.
"It is true that victims now have more confidence in the police, thanks to the efforts that have been made to increase reporting, and that will have had an impact on the figures." - Sandy Brindley - Rape Crisis Scotland - Glasgow Evening Times - 27 November 2014
Furthermore, the numbers of reports of domestic abuse submitted by the police to the Procurator Fiscal have increased significantly in the last 10 years, from 51% of all incidents of domestic abuse where a crime or offence was recorded in 2003-04, to 78% of incidents in 2012-13, suggesting that there has been a paradigm shift in the way police are responding to domestic abuse. The number of people proceeded against for offences with a domestic abuse aggravator has more than doubled, from 5,881 in 2006-07 to 13,590 in 2013-14 (up 131%).
These developments are significant. Historically, violence against women has been considerably under-reported making it difficult to identify the true scale of the problem. Undoubtedly, under-reporting continues to be an issue. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2012-13 estimates that 21% of those who had experienced partner abuse within the last 12 months said that the police came to know about the most recent (or only) incident,  while a lack of qualitative research and data collection means accurately quantifying the scale of other forms of violence such as Female Genital Mutilation continues to prove difficult. 
However, the indication that the targeted action and focus being placed on violence against women and girls by the police and prosecution service is having an impact on women coming forward to report abuse is an encouraging and positive development.
Measures taken by Police Scotland and COPFS to raise awareness of and improve the investigation and prosecution of domestic abuse.
The creation by Police Scotland of a National Domestic Abuse Taskforce and National Rape Taskforce as well as specialist local teams within each local police division in Scotland has helped to improve the investigation and detection of domestic abuse and sexual offences.
The introduction by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service of a Specialist Procurator Fiscal for Domestic Abuse; lead prosecutors for human trafficking and female genital mutilation, and the launch of a dedicated National Sexual Crimes Unit.
The launch of the 'We Can Stop It Campaign' in March 2014 aimed at challenging perceptions and raising awareness about rape and the meaning of consent.
Recognising the impact that an increased volume of cases has on the Scottish Court Service and particularly the Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts, the Scottish Government has invested additional funding to assist the efficient processing of summary cases with £1.47 million on top of agreed budget allocations provided to the Scottish Court Service and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in 2014-15. This additional investment which is being used to support additional fiscals, court staff and judiciary will be maintained for the next three years, 2015-18.
The Scottish Government has also continued to take steps to ensure that the criminal law provides a robust and effective legal framework in relation to violence against women and girls (see Figure 2). This is important, not only to ensure that perpetrators of violence against women and girls can be prosecuted effectively, but also to send a clear and unequivocal message to society about the unacceptability of different forms of violence and abuse, particularly where there is arguably some uncertainty about whether specific behaviours are wrong, as one could argue there is in relation to non-violent controlling behaviour in the context of domestic abuse, or the posting of intimate images online without consent.
Measures to strengthen the criminal law to address violence against women and girls.
In 2014 we criminalised forced marriage, building on the existing civil protection already in place and ensuring that there is no dubiety about the criminality of forcing someone into marriage.
We have taken action to strengthen existing legislation on female genital mutilation to ensure that persons who are not permanent UK residents can still be tried in Scottish Courts.
We introduced the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill to the Scottish Parliament on 11 December 2014 to: consolidate and strengthen the existing criminal law; enhance the status and support for the victims, and give statutory responsibility to relevant agencies to work with the Scottish Government to develop and implement a Scottish Anti-Trafficking Strategy.
Our Victims and Witnesses Act 2014, passed by the Scottish Parliament in December 2013 brings into law a number of changes to improve victims and witnesses experience of Scotland's justice system, including by giving victims automatic access to measures such as screens and video links when giving evidence.
In addition to those measures described in Figure 2 the Scottish Government also launched the consultation paper Equally Safe: Reforming the Criminal to Address Violence Against Women and Girls on 26 March 2015. The paper, which follows the launch of Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls published in June 2014, seeks views on five key areas relating to how the criminal law and criminal justice system addresses domestic abuse and sexual offences:
- Whether a new specific criminal offence of domestic abuse is needed;
- Whether a new specific offence for the non-consensual sharing of private, intimate images (often called 'revenge porn') is needed;
- Whether juries in sexual offence cases should be given specific directions about what account to take of the fact that a significant period of time elapsed between the time an offence is alleged to have been committed and the reporting of the offence to the police, and the absence of the use of physical force by the alleged perpetrator or the absence of physical resistance by the victim;
- Whether the law should be strengthened to allow courts to directly protect victims where the court is satisfied a person did harass another person, but that person is found unfit to stand trial by reason of a mental or physical condition; and
- Whether child sexual offences committed elsewhere in the UK should be capable of being prosecuted in Scotland.
Of course, achieving a reduction in violence against women and girls cannot be achieved only through the investigation and prosecution of crime after it has occurred. We must take action to prevent this violence from occurring in the first place through sustained and concerted action which strikes boldly at the systematic gender inequality which lies at the heart of violence against women and girls.
So too must we challenge negative attitudes and assumptions to gender, promoting healthy, positive relationships from an early age. We are encouraging equality and mutual respect from an early age through the Curriculum for Excellence with its guidance on relationships, sexual health, and parenthood education, while the Mentors in Violence Prevention Scotland Programme funded by the Scottish Government uses a bystander approach to tackle gender stereotyping and attitudes that condone violence against women and girls.
Partner organisations such as Zero Tolerance and White Ribbon Scotland continue to raise public awareness of and challenge violence against women and girls.
But we also recognise that attitudes must be challenged and an investment made in preventing men who perpetrate violence and abuse against women from reoffending. We will continue to invest in the Caledonian System, an integrated approach to addressing men's domestic abuse. The system works with men convicted of domestic abuse related offences to reduce their re-offending while also providing services to women partners and ex-partners.
Supporting those affected by violence and abuse
While we recognise that prevention is fundamental to reducing violence against women and girls we also accept that this is a long-term aspiration and that women and children who are affected by men's violence and abuse, both now and in the future, require access to relevant, integrated and effective services.
This is why the Scottish Government is committed to maintaining its support and investment in third sector organisations, including: Scottish Women's Aid and the Women's Aid Network, Rape Crisis Scotland; local rape crisis centres, and ASSIST, who provide crucial advocacy, information, safe accommodation and emotional support to women and children affected by violence and abuse.
The Scottish Government has not only maintained its core funding for violence against women and girls with £11.8 million allocated for 2015-16, but has committed to providing an additional £20 million over the next three years, 2015-18. This additional money will be used to support a range of measures to tackle violence against women and girls, including widening victim's access to specialist advocacy, support and legal services.
In conclusion, while there is much progress still to be made, action by all partners in Scotland is helping to put us in an ideal place in which to respond to violence against women and girls successfully. Our approach is set out in a national strategy - Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls which explicitly recognises the dual requirements of prevention and effective intervention and advocates a collaborative approach across central and local government and the statutory and third sectors.
The publication of Equally Safe is a key milestone which will help to support the realisation of our equality outcome to reduce violence against women by 2017. In 2015 and beyond we will seek to build on the positive initiatives set out above and the activity set out in our strategy.
This outcome seeks to tackle issues faced by Gypsy/Travellers, one of the most discriminated against and disenfranchised communities in Scotland. The issues that they face are long-standing and deep-seated, and progress to overcome them has been relatively slow. However, we are determined to increase the pace of change and a programme of work is underway across the Scottish Government, which aims to improve outcomes for the community across a range of areas.
The Scottish Government agreed to develop an overarching strategy and action plan for Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland, in response to recommendations included in the Equal Opportunities Committee's report on Where Gypsy/Travellers Live.  Under the auspices of the strategy, the Scottish Government is also undertaking work relating to Gypsy/Traveller sites and access to education.
The development of a strategy for Gypsy/Travellers was not included in the activities originally planned to achieve the equality outcome, but it is now the main focus of the Scottish Government's work in this policy area. This means that some of the original plans are being pursued in a different way to achieve the outcome, including engagement with the Gypsy/Traveller community.
For a long time the lack of data and information on Gypsy/Travellers has been an issue and this is now being addressed.
The 2011 Census was the first to include a 'box' for Gypsy/Travellers in its ethnicity categories. This was a positive step to help build the evidence base on Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland. The results of the Census have enabled us to establish a baseline and will provide a rich source of data. However, as the next Census will not take place until 2021, it will be some time before change can be measured.
In the meantime, Scottish Government statisticians have been analysing the data from the Census. A summary of the evidence base relating to Gypsy/Travellers was published in July 2013,  and an analysis of equality results from the 2011 Census was published in October 2014.  This included a chapter relating to Gypsy/Travellers, covering demographics; identity, language and religion; households; and health. A second analysis paper on equality results from the Census was published on 26 March 2015.  It also included a chapter relating to Gypsy/Travellers, covering the labour market, education, housing and transport. The Scottish Government has committed to publishing analysis of further results from the Census as they are released.
The chart below shows some of the key results from the 2011 Census for Gypsy/Travellers across a range of topic areas.
Summary of Census Statistics for Gypsy/Travellers, Scotland 2011
This data has implications for the actions to be included in the overarching strategy and action plan and will be explored further as work progresses. The fact that the community includes relatively high numbers of younger people and of disabled people increases the importance of access to education and health services and good quality accommodation. These areas will be addressed in the strategy.
The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey provides data on attitudes towards Gypsy/Travellers, which will help us to measure progress on the Equality Outcome. The 2010 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (Attitudes to Discrimination and Positive Action module) concluded that Gypsy/Travellers are the subject of widespread discriminatory attitudes.  The next edition, which will show whether there has been a change in attitudes and whether progress has been made towards the outcome, is due to be published in spring 2016.
In December 2014, the Scottish Government published statistics on accommodation based on data collected for the Scottish Housing Charter by the Scottish Housing Regulator and on the 2011 Census.  The data covered the number of Gypsy/Traveller pitches, pitch rents and site satisfaction, in relation to the new Scottish Housing Charter outcome on Gypsy/Traveller sites.
The Scottish Government collects data on educational outcomes for Gypsy/Travellers in relation to positive destinations and qualifications, and on attendance and exclusions from school. Because of the small and fluctuating numbers, this data is only reliable when using a two or three year average, but does allow comparison with other groups of pupils. Data may not be directly comparable to previous years due to changes in ethnicity categories.
As work is still at a relatively early stage progress to date is described in terms of the outputs relating to the development of a strategy for Gypsy/Travellers and associated work on sites and access to education. This work is outlined in the next section.
A strategy for Gypsy/Travellers
The Scottish Government is working with partners to develop an overarching strategy and action plan for Gypsy/Travellers for publication in 2015 to help improve outcomes for Gypsy/Travellers and reduce discrimination against them. Work is being overseen by a group of key stakeholders (Gypsy/Traveller Strategy Development Group chaired by the Scottish Government), including members of the Gypsy/Traveller community.
The aims of the strategy are to support:
- a reduction in discrimination against Gypsy/Travellers and more positive attitudes towards their culture and way of life;
- improvements in their quality of life and life outcomes;
- an increase in understanding of their needs among service providers and commissioners, which are addressed through provision of a national action plan to address identified needs; and
- an increase in mutual understanding and respect with the settled community.
We are working with the group, which includes members of the Gypsy/Traveller community, to ensure that Gypsy/Travellers are involved throughout the development of the strategy and action plan. We have also undertaken to engage more widely, so that Gypsy/Travellers, who are not members of the Group, can contribute. We are working with key stakeholder organisations to achieve this participation.
The overarching strategy and action plan for Gypsy/Travellers is due to be published in 2015. The Gypsy/Traveller Strategy Development Group is keen to ensure that progress towards the outcomes is measureable and that monitoring arrangements are put in place.
The Scottish Government and COSLA have established a sub-group, under the auspices of the Gypsy/Traveller Strategy Development Group, to develop a briefing for elected members of local authorities. The aims of the briefing are to raise awareness among elected members about Gypsy/Travellers, their way of life, cultural traditions and sensitivities; empower elected members to deal with any issues that may occur in their local area involving Gypsy/Travellers; and provide information on the rights and responsibilities of elected members in relation to the legislative framework and their role in enabling access to services and participation in society.
In parallel with the development of the overarching strategy, we are also working on an awareness raising campaign to tackle prejudice and discrimination against Gypsy/Travellers, building on the success of the 'Scotland believes in Equality' campaign which ran during the Commonwealth Games.
The overarching strategy and action plan will take account of the work of the Gypsy/Traveller Site Working Group and the Scottish Traveller Education Review Group.
The Scottish Government's role is to set a robust framework and promote good practice. We want the most effective approaches to be used across the whole country to meet the needs both of the Gypsy/Traveller community and the settled community.
The Scottish Government has been taking forward several areas of work this year related to Gypsy/Travellers sites. This includes:
- publishing in 2014 revised guidance for Housing Need and Demand Assessments and for Local Housing Strategies. This is to help make sure the accommodation needs of Gypsy/Travellers are fully taken into account by councils as they plan accommodation provision;
- convening the Gypsy/Traveller Site Working Group. This brought together local authorities, the Police, and organisations working directly with Gypsy/Travellers to explore ways to improve provision for Gypsy/Travellers;
- publishing minimum quality standards for Gypsy/Traveller sites and setting out core rights and responsibilities for site tenants in May 2015. We will also publish revised guidance on unauthorised sites. We will be consulting with the Gypsy/Traveller community on all of these documents;
- exploring ways of promoting good practice in handling planning applications for Gypsy/Traveller sites. We have funded PAS to carry out a project on planning with the Gypsy/Traveller community. Guides for councillors, local authorities, community councils and Gypsy/Travellers, produced as part of that project, were launched on 1 April 2015; and
- continuing discussions with stakeholders about how an asset based approach could work in this area. We want to explore ways in which communities could be empowered to resolve their own accommodation needs.
The Scottish Traveller Education Review Group was re-formed in February 2015 with the primary purpose of developing, and then promoting, guidance on the education of young people from Traveller families, to share best practice and support the development of local, inclusive approaches across Scotland. The Group is chaired by the Scottish Government, and members represent schools and school leaders, local authorities, the voluntary sector, the health sector, colleges, early years practitioners, the Scottish Traveller Education Programme and Education Scotland. It is expected that the Group will hold a number of meetings in Gypsy/Traveller communities to seek the views of parents and pupils, and develop draft guidance for consultation in 2015 and publication in 2016.
From 2012-15, the Scottish Government's Equality Fund provided funding of just over £700,000 to organisations to support work with the Gypsy/Traveller community, focusing on young people, carers, education and planning. In 2015-16, we are providing £200,000. The projects funded during 2012-16 are:
- Article 12 in Scotland's Young Gypsy/Travellers' Lives Project
- Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project
- The Scottish Traveller Education Programme
- PAS's Gypsy/Traveller Planning Project
Since the publication of the Scottish Government's equality outcomes in April 2013, issues of equality and gender equality have been centre stage - particularly those relating to women's employment and place in the economy.
Not only was the position of women a strong feature of the discourse around the referendum on independence but it has been clearly highlighted and articulated in the Scottish Government's key publications: Programme for Government and the Scottish Economic Strategy.
In April 2013 we identified that improved outcomes for women in employment could be evidenced through two key indicators: a decrease in the gender pay gap in Scotland and increased employment rates for women.
While women's employment rates over the subsequent two year period have improved considerably, the long term trend of the gender pay gap is less clear, with a fall registered in 2013 but an increase occurring in the 2014 figure.
Scotland has the highest female employment, second lowest female unemployment and lowest female inactivity rate of any UK nation. 
- Scotland continues to have a higher female employment rate than the UK (72.1% vs. 68.6%).
- Female employment level increased by 52,000 over the year to Dec-Feb 2015 to 1,292,000, the third highest level since comparable records began in 1992.
- The female unemployment rate is lower than the UK's (5.0% vs. 5.4%).
- The female labour market participation rate is also at a record high of 75.9%, the UK rate is 72.6%.
- The gender employment rate gap in Scotland is 4.2 percentage points, compared to 9.8 percentage points in the UK.
- Female inactivity rate in Scotland is lower than in the UK (24.1% vs. 27.4%).
Barriers for women
These figures show very positive improvements, however, there remain longer-term challenges for women in Scotland's workforce.
Women tend to be employed in lower-skilled jobs, paid less, and are more likely to be underemployed than men. Occupational segregation is also key - women are more likely to work in particular occupations or sectors. Further, women may 'downgrade' in order to obtain part-time work, for example, to fit in with caring responsibilities. 
Time-based underemployment rates are generally higher for women reflecting the higher prevalence of part-time work amongst women compared to men. Since the 2008 recession there has been a greater increase in the number of women working part-time who are underemployed than for men (an increase of 23,500 for women compared to an increase of 22,500 for men over the same time period). 
Caring responsibilities remain the most prevalent reason (40.6 %) for parttime working by women in the UK (6.5% for men).  The evidence suggests that the greater female part-time working can be as a result of a lack of options for women, as time underemployment data shows that female involuntary part time work as a percentage of total part-time employment in UK was 14.9% in 2013 (having risen nearly 6.9 percentage points since 2007) compared with 38.3% for men (having risen 18 percentage points since 2007).
The Scottish Government understands that the cost of childcare can be a major concern for families and a barrier to work for many parents, especially women. That is why we have strong ambitions to transform early learning and childcare to match the best in Europe.
We want a high quality, flexible system that is affordable and accessible for all children and families and we have already increased the amount of funded early learning and childcare through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 to 600 hours for all 3 and 4 year olds, which is more than anywhere else in the UK. In addition, we have also extended this entitlement to our most vulnerable and disadvantaged 2 year olds. From August this year, we will extend this further to include those 2 year olds who would be eligible under the Free School Lunches criteria; this will represent around 27% of all 2 year olds.
We are also increasing flexibility through the Children and Young People Act in order to support working parents. The Act introduces a new duty on local authorities which requires them to consult at least once every two years with representative groups of local parents on patterns of provision which best meet their needs. This will allow local authorities to plan how they will reconfigure services to better meet the needs of working parents and should introduce a greater level of flexibility and choice in to the system, year on year.
In the years ahead we want to build on the current system to almost double the number of hours to 30 a week of funded early learning and childcare by the end of the next parliament, and we have started planning for this expansion.
Gender pay gap
Evidence also shows that 57% of all women in employment are employed in medium-low or low skilled occupations compared with only 37% of men.  These factors contribute to the gender pay gap.
In 2013, the gender pay gap in Scotland, measured using the median for full-time hourly earnings excluding overtime, fell from 8.4% to 7.7%. Using the mean as a measure it was 13.3%, down from 13.9%. However in 2014, it increased to 9.0% using the median but fell to 11.5% using the mean measurement.
Table: Gender pay gap over time, Scotland, 1999 and 2006-2014, using the median 
|Gender Pay Gap - Scotland||16.7%||10.6%||11.9%||10.8%||8.5%||7.4%||6.6%||8.4%||7.7%||9.0%|
a Employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period
was not affected by absence.
b Workplace based estimates.
c Estimates for 1999 and 2006-2010 based on Standard Occupational Classification 2000 ( SOC 2000). Estimates for 2011-2014 are based on Standard Occupational Classification 2010 ( SOC 2010).
d Estimates for 2014 are provisional.
There are a number of different factors driving the increase in the gender pay gap in Scotland, including those affecting employment sectors and occupations, earnings percentiles and the age of the workforce:
- Male full-time workers earn more on average than female full-time workers across the majority of the industrial and occupational groups.
- Women have lower hourly earnings than men across all age groups. For example, the gender pay gap has almost doubled between 2013 and 2014 in the 16-24 year olds age group.
- The gender pay gap increased for low earners between 2013 to 2014, while decreasing at the opposite end of the earning spectrum with a lower pay gap for high earners.
Future Work on Outcome Indicators
We understand that further analysis of the available statistical data on women and employment is required as underneath the top level indicators lies a layer of more complex factors that impact on women's participation in the labour market.
We also know that for some women the barriers faced in the workplace can be compounded by other forms of inequality that they face. For example we know that: 
- Older women in the UK aged between 50 and 59 earn on average 17.9% less than their male counterparts, facing a gender pay gap significantly larger than the UK-wide pay gap of 9.4%.
- Although educational qualifications data routinely demonstrate higher attainment by young women, for example in 2012-13, 60.9% of young women left school with highest attainment of Higher or above compared to 50.7% of young men, this position is not reflected in employment with 57% of all women employed in medium-low or low‑skilled occupations compared with only 37% of men.
- Female minority ethnic employment rates are typically more than 15 percentage points lower than that of minority ethnic men. This is around two to three times higher than the gap of around 8 percentage points between the employment rates for all males and females living in Scotland.
- Female employment rates for disabled women aged 16-24 were more than 13 percentage points lower than employment rates of non-disabled 16-24 year-old women.
The Scottish Government has also begun to analyse the underlying trends effecting the pay gap figures to better understand the factors dictating its fluctuation from year to year, including the intersectional inequality that many women face. This work will be developed further over the next two years.
Women's Position in the Economy and in Employment is reflected more comprehensively in Scottish Government Economic Policy and Strategies by 2017
Our response to tackling women's inequality in employment is to ensure that we develop our understanding of the barriers they face to develop a response which addresses these issues, which is then embedded into our economic policies and strategies.
Scotland's Economic Strategy, published on 3 March 2015, sets out an overarching framework for achieving the two mutually supportive goals of increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality in Scotland. It forms the strategic plan for existing and all future Scottish Government policy and prioritises boosting investment and innovation, maintaining our focus on increasing internationalisation and supporting inclusive growth.
The Economic Strategy recognises that maximising economic opportunities for women to participate fully in the economy, and the wider social role they provide, is key to improving economic performance and tackling inequality.
The Strategy commits to accelerating the Scottish Government's interventions to support this outcome in the future.
- We have set out an ambition to almost double the number of free hours of childcare to 30 hours per week by the end of the next Parliament.
- We have set a voluntary target for all organisations to achieve gender parity on their boards by 2020, with a commitment to legislate on this issue, with regards to public boards, as soon as we have the powers to do so.
The Government has developed a systematic approach to assessing budget decisions for their impact on equality groups. Assessing the equality impact of policy proposals and related spending in this way allows the experiences of different groups to be actively taken into account. This means that budgets can be effectively targeted to benefit specific groups, and helps to avoid or mitigate particular negative impacts.
The equality assessment of the budget is presented in an Equality Statement, published each year alongside the Scottish Draft Budget.
50:50 by 2020
In the Scottish Government's Programme for Government published in November 2014, we have committed to launching the Partnership for Change, bringing together an alliance of organisations across the public, private and third sectors, who are committed to increasing the diversity of boards and the talent pipeline to work towards gender balance - 50:50 by 2020.
Scottish Business Pledge
The 50:50 by 2020 commitment fits within the overarching Scottish Business Pledge, which invites companies to support company and inclusive growth by committing to innovation, internationalisation, paying the living wage, playing an active role in their local communities and supporting Invest in Youth.
Fair Work Convention
The First Minister also confirmed in the Programme for Government that we would establish a Fair Work Convention. The Convention will prioritise the promotion of the living wage, but have a wider role, championing a partnership approach between government, businesses, the trade unions, the third sector and local government. It will therefore contribute to our work to tackle the gender pay gap and occupational segregation.
Such an approach recognises that sustainable growth has a social dimension; that fairness supports and underpins long-term prosperity.
The Convention will provide independent advice to the Scottish Government on matters relating to innovative and productive workplaces, industrial relations, fair work and the Living Wage in Scotland to support the Scottish Government's objective to reduce inequality, promote diversity and equality and increase sustainable economic growth.
Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy set out how we will implement the recommendations of the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce. By doing so, we will work with partners including Skills Development Scotland and local government to reduce gender imbalance in skills and training provision and tackle gender stereotyping to ensure young women consider all the opportunities in their local labour market.
Scotland's Women in Enterprise Action Framework
Scotland's Women in Enterprise Action Framework (codeveloped by Women's Enterprise Scotland and the Scottish Government), is the only one of its kind in Europe. It was developed following extensive review of good practice at an international level, as well as pan-Scotland consultation. The proposed actions address the issues of mentoring and networking; role-models; markets and finance; and gender specific support.
Scottish Government Maximising Economic Opportunities For Women In Scotland Report
To support our understanding of the issues effecting women, last month the Scottish Government published its report, Maximising Economic Opportunities for Women in Scotland, which provides a detailed explanation of features of economic outcomes for women in Scotland and their recent trends. The report also explores the key barriers to women's economic opportunities and seeks to learn from the experiences of other countries.
Many of the issues presented in the 'Maximising Economic Opportunities for Women in Scotland' report were discussed at the sixth meeting of the First Minister's Council of Economic Advisers ( CEA), held on 12 November 2014. 
The Council highlighted the importance of continued efforts to expand childcare provision, while also recognising the importance of STEM and a continued focus on this area was strongly encouraged.
There are a number of activities and strands of work that will we will continue to develop between now and 2017, which were included in the equality outcome published in 2013.
We will continue to work over the next two years to increase the understanding across government of the issues relating to men and women's employment and position in the economy and the importance and benefits of gender equality for other outcomes. This will be taken forward via the Strategic Group on Women and Work chaired by the Minister for Youth and Women's Employment, and supported by the Fair Work Convention.
The Scottish Government Equality And Human Rights Analysis work programme for 2015-16 will include work to analyse gender pay gap historical trends, to conclude on likely future trajectories for the pay gap and issues that policies may need to be sensitive to. It will also provide a summary of international policy perspectives on the pay gap, for example to what extent policies are focused on directly tackling the pay gap itself, or focused on underlying drivers such as discrimination, family friendly policies etc.
We have also stated that we will reflect the progress with regard to the economic framework and modelling in future Equality Budget Statements and Government Economic Strategies, with the support of the Equality Budget Advisory Group (EBAG).
Our understanding of the issues will also be informed by drawing on the evidence which becomes available from the forthcoming reports on occupational segregation and equal pay published by public authorities.
We will also undertake an audit of Scottish Government key strategic documents this year and again in 2017.
Actions we are taking to deliver our Equality and Diversity Matters outcome are helping us to explore the breadth and depth of understanding among Scottish Government staff of key equality and diversity issues, the extent to which they feel confident about these issues and what could be done to assist them in developing their confidence. There are obvious links to the Women and Employment equality outcome and we will continue to work to build awareness among staff of the need to ensure policies properly reflect our communities, e.g. work with public bodies' sponsor teams to encourage sign up to the 50:50 by 2020 Programme for Government commitment.
Strategic Group on Women and Work
As stated previously, overseeing all of the Scottish Government's work to improve outcomes for women in employment is the Strategic Group on Women and Work, established in 2013.
Cross Directorate Working Group on Occupational Segregation
This includes the direction given to the Scottish Government's Cross Government Working Group on Occupational Segregation (CDWGOS).
Public Bodies and Corporate Diversity Programme Board
In December 2013 the Scottish Government established its Public Bodies and Corporate Diversity Programme Board.
The Scottish Government has been working with its partners under the auspices of the Strategy for Justice in Scotland to improve and bring greater cohesion to the justice system. We have been clear from the outset about the importance of ensuring equality is woven into the work and have set up structures to make sure that happens. We also recognise the need for improvement in disabled people's access to justice and in the data and evidence to measure progress. Our collaboration with stakeholders and engagement with disabled people's organisations is immensely valuable in this regard and we have drawn on their reports and evidence to inform our work.
This report outlines the progress made in putting into place a number of actions that are designed to assist disabled people and to improve their outcomes. We are also working across Government to identify and report on the progress being made in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities ( UNCRPD). The Scottish Government will work closely with disabled people's organisations ( DPOs) to publish a Draft Disability Delivery Plan in June 2015 for consultation on its commitments to implementing the Convention. This will be finalised in December 2015 for the UN Disability Committee's examination on the UK's progress in 2016.
Justice Board and Strategy for Justice in Scotland
Equality is a central theme in the vision for justice in Scotland outlined in the Justice Strategy 2012, with its focus on creating an inclusive and respectful society in which all people and communities live in safety and have the opportunity to lead fulfilled lives. The Justice Board was set up to lead the justice system in delivering the outcomes in the Strategy through a collaborative and proactive approach. It was established in August 2011 and comprises the Chief Executives and equivalent leaders of the key justice organisations. The Justice Board is chaired by the Scottish Government. Reporting to the Justice Board, an Equality and Diversity sub-group strategically coordinates resource and effort so that the Scottish Government and justice organisations can successfully improve services and implement reforms through effective partnerships.
Criminal Justice Disability Project Team ( CJDPT)
The Justice Board oversees six sub-groups. One of these is the Equality and Diversity Sub-Group and within its remit, a project team - The Criminal Justice Disability Project Team ( CJDPT) - has been tasked to deliver an action plan to increase access to criminal justice for disabled people. The action plan progresses 81 recommendations from the following three reports, which were undertaken in consultation with disabled people:
- Justice Disability Steering Group Report
- Hidden in Plain Sight - Equality and Human Rights Commission
- Out in the Open - Equality and Human Rights Commission
The CJDPT has members from all the main criminal justice organisations and specifically focuses on access to criminal justice for disabled people. In progressing the Scottish Government's commitments to the Disability Delivery Plan of the UNCRPD, good practice models and expertise gained in this project will be transferrable to other areas of justice.
The CJDPT is supported by the Criminal Justice Disability Advisory Group ( DAG). The DAG was established in December 2014 and comprises 15 organisations representing disabled people. This responds to suggestions made in the ILIS report 'Justice is Served' which suggested that: justice organisations and disabled people should be better connected; that the justice profession would benefit from the expertise of DPOs; and that a national forum should be set up on access to justice for disabled people which would include disabled people and representatives from the justice sector.
Improving Access to Justice
While disabled people, like all people, will have a variety of experiences in accessing justice there is evidence that access can be more difficult for disabled people. This is identified in the Access to Justice report 2010 and the Scottish Government equality outcome published in 2013.
The needs of disabled people are being considered as part of a series of reforms across the justice system. The Scottish Government is working with both statutory and non-statutory bodies and the third sector to improve access to justice for disabled people, by providing funding and coordinating activity. This can be seen by the establishment of the Criminal Justice Disability Project, the Making Advice Work programme and the justice contribution to implementation of 'The Keys to Life'. There is ongoing constructive dialogue between the Scottish Government and Scottish Legal Aid Board around independent living to assist in increasing the opportunities and capacity of disabled people and older people to exercise their rights.
We know that there are issues to address. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2012-13 showed that the prevalence of civil legal problems is higher for disabled people at 32% as opposed to 23% in the general population. In addition, only 37% of disabled people had solved their problems whereas 51% without a disability had succeeded in resolving their problems.
The report produced by Independent Living in Scotland (ILiS) in April 2015 'Justice is Served - Disabled People's Access to Justice' advises that 70% of disabled people know little or nothing about their rights. This is compounded, they argued, by a lack of independent advocacy in Scotland and few places for disabled people to go to get targeted advice.
Addressing the Barriers
The Access to Justice Report 2010 identified a number of barriers which prevent access to justice. Some of the action being taken to address barriers and promote access to justice are described below.
Physical access to buildings
The CJDPT has developed a standard template to evaluate accessibility of sites and services of the seven criminal justice partners for disabled people. A programme of site audits is being progressed to identify barriers within the estate and 102 accessibility audits across the organisations have been completed to date. An improvement programme for each organisation will be considered and implemented based on the findings of these audits to improve accessibility for disabled people. These will be reflected in the equality mainstreaming reports of these organisations at a later date and in the UNCRPD Draft Delivery Plan.
The Scottish Government's Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, in 2010 showed that 93% of those surveyed believed that providing information about public services in 'easy read' formats for people with learning disabilities is a good use of government money.
The CJDPT is coordinating a review by September 2015 of the written communications issued by all of the seven partner organisations, and will identify the priority communications used by disabled people and provide these in alternative formats from the current PDF format, including Easy Read version. This will be a commitment in the UNCRPD Draft Delivery Plan.
The Letter of Rights
To enable people to understand exactly what their rights are when they are detained in a police station, a Letter of Rights is provided by Police Scotland in English. Versions of the letter in other formats, such as Braille, audio and British Sign Language, can be requested if required. An updated Letter of Rights was published by the Scottish Government in January 2015 and is available in 34 different languages. An accessible easy-read version of the text is also available.
Additional Q&A for people under the age of 18 can be provided and, where police consider that a person needs additional help to understand their situation and their rights, an Appropriate Adult will be made available to provide this support. The Letter of Rights was developed through engagement with a wide range of groups including DPOs. In terms of monitoring and evaluation, the Scottish Government will consider the requirement to update the Letter of Rights further after the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill completes its Parliamentary process. At that stage, the Scottish Government will engage with stakeholders, including DPOs on the effectiveness of the letter in its current form.
Video Conferencing - the Justice Digital Strategy
The Justice Digital Strategy is an ambitious programme to use digital technology to transform the way justice is delivered, including how advice can be sought and delivered. As part of this, video conferencing is being piloted in courts, prisons and police stations. This will help inform the development of live video conferencing TV links throughout the justice system which will benefit disabled people and those who live in institutions and rural areas.
Video conferencing will enhance disabled prisoners' welfare by reducing travel and the time held in overcrowded holding cells for what might only be a short court appearance. It will also improve access to legal advice and services for disabled people in rural areas.
Provision of advice and support
People with learning disabilities
People with learning disabilities or difficulties, accused or suspected of committing a crime will often require extra support to help them understand the criminal justice system and to ensure that the treatment they receive within that system is fair and equal to other people in the same situation.
There is a challenge in identifying robust statistics on the numbers of people with learning disabilities in prison. It is estimated that between 20-30% of the prison population require some form of support. A Scottish Prison Service pilot project at HMP Shotts and HMYOI Polmont in 2013-14 demonstrated that the prison population:
- has significantly higher levels of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD)
- has significant levels of historic brain trauma
A second stage pilot will begin at HMYOI Polmont in May 2015 to consider the development and implementation of joint care pathways for people identified with potential learning disability/difficulties between learning services, health services and prison regimes. This will expand to include HMP and YOI Cornton Vale and HMP Glenochil. The screening tool across the three prisons will enable implementation of a second stage study under one single NHS Board.
The Scottish Government's learning disability strategy 'The Keys to Life' is a 10-year plan to improve the quality of life for people with learning disabilities to live independently in the community. In keeping with one of the key justice recommendations, the Scottish Government is providing funding of approximately £100,000 per annum for three years from 2014-17 to establish the The Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities Network (SOLD). This is a partnership between People First Scotland and ARC Scotland. The SOLD Network aims to reduce offending and improve support for people with learning disabilities who are offenders in Scotland.
The SOLD network will be advised and guided by a steering group consisting of lead professionals and people with learning disabilities. It is delivering a three-year programme of activity up to 2017.
Tackling Negative Attitudes
Disability Harassment and Hate Crime
Negative attitudes towards disabled people can also find expression through harassment, hostility and hate crime. The report Equality and Human Rights Commission 2011 Hidden in Plain Sight refers to studies that indicate that disabled people may be more likely to be victims of antisocial behaviour. As such, disabled people need confidence to report these crimes to the police and support to do so.
A poll by Scope in the UK suggested that 56% of disabled people say they have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of a condition or impairment and 50% said they experience discrimination on either a daily or weekly basis. In 2013-14, 154 charges were reported with an aggravation of prejudice relating to disability, 12% more than in 2012-13 (17 additional charges). There is a broad consensus however that this type of crime continues to be under reported compared to other forms of hate crime. Both Police Scotland and COPFS are engaged in a variety of activities aimed at increasing the level of awareness, especially amongst disability communities, that hate crime is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Court proceedings were commenced in respect of 126 charges (82%) reported in 2013-14, a higher proportion than in previous years. In total 130 (84%) of charges led to court proceedings, including those not separately prosecuted, but which may have been incorporated into other charges for the same accused.
Raising awareness of hate crime to increase access to advice and reporting
During the period 2012-14 the Scottish Government funded a project for Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability ( SCLD) to raise awareness of disability hate crime among adults with learning disabilities. This innovative project involved professional actors and people with learning disabilities co-performing in a play called 'Who Do I Turn To?'. This project reached over 1,000 people, raising awareness on hate crime and providing access to Easy Read guidance, professional online good practice guidance and support to service users. The project was shortlisted as a finalist in the Scottish Community Safety Awards.
Hate crime awareness in the Deaf community
The Scottish Government provided funding to British Deaf Association of £180,000 for 2012-15 to develop resources and information in British Sign Language ( BSL). The project was to raise awareness on hate crime, its underlying causes and to improve reporting within the Deaf community. Research is currently being produced and will be available by June 2015, from evaluation reports of over 300 people who attended awareness events. 80 participants in the programme will be involved in a research report for the Scottish Government. Findings of the report will reflect if there is increased awareness through reported incidents of hate crime from BSL users, and on partnerships with a wide range of other organisations.
Social Media Hate Crime Campaign
In 2014, the Scottish Government launched its first hate crime publicity campaign which incorporated a focus on disability hate crime. This joined-up approach is the preferred method for initiating similar campaigns in future as it represented value for money with potentially 3,775 people reached through social media for each £1 spent. From the evaluation study, the campaign was well received in the media and social media, with prominent emotive stories in Scottish national newspapers and on radio and TV making the biggest impact. Toolkits were developed for involved organisations to disseminate through their networks. It was reported that there is increased confidence in third party reporting centres and it is hoped that this will be reflected in the hate crime statistics issued in June this year.
Advice about Welfare Rights
Our equality outcome also referred to the impact of cuts in public spending and welfare reform measures on disabled people and the need for advice and support in this area.
The Scottish Government's report 'Financial Impacts of Welfare Reforms on Disabled People in Scotland' published in April 2014 identified that disabled people face a disproportionate loss of income as a result of these reforms. As part of the mitigation of the impact of welfare reform the Scottish Government has taken a range of measures to help those affected and this has included supporting the increase in the provision of advice. Funding of £5.1 million from 2013-15 was provided towards a jointly funded programme Making Advice Work ( MAW), managed by the Scottish Legal Aid Board including funding of £2.35 million from the Money Advice Service. The Scottish Government's funding for this programme focusses on improving access to advice for people in Scotland affected by welfare reform.
An additional specific stream of funding, totalling £1 million for 2013-15 focused on priority groups and seven projects were funded to help disabled people specifically. Some of these projects have been extended to September 2015. This funding was to ensure access of assistance to resolve problems and achieve sustainable solutions in ways best suited to individual disabled people's needs. It also focused on overcoming barriers and finding new and innovative ways of delivering help with particular focus on preventative help.
An evaluation of this stream of funding is currently underway and is expected to be completed later this year. The results of this will be reflected in the next progress report.
Within the longer-term outcome that all children and young people will be able to make the most of the education opportunities available to them to reach their full potential, there will be progress by 2017 in the experience of those with protected characteristics who are currently disadvantaged or underperforming
Scottish education is doing better but it is clear that we must do more. In the 2014 Programme for Government, the First Minister made it clear that improving school attainment for all and closing the attainment gap is a Scottish Government priority. To do that we need to address the inequalities which exist. Some inequalities are clearly related directly to protected characteristics, while some, such as social background, are not.
To help measure the progress of children and young people with protected characteristics who were disadvantaged or underperforming, indicators are used, where available, relating to attainment, positive destinations,  exclusions  and attendance,  given that increased levels of attendance show positive pupil engagement in their learning. Data from the 2012-13 school year is used as a comparison to the baseline April 2013 report which predominantly drew on 2010-11 data.
There are barriers to measuring progress in some cases, for example: where changes in definitions used in schools data mean comparisons between years are unreliable; where it is considered inappropriate to collect data across the whole school population for some protected characteristics; and where small numbers or fluctuations in numbers for some groups mean that data is not reliable and not usable. We will continue to look for ways to overcome barriers. As an example, the Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research Group ( BiSSR), chaired by the Scottish Government, will be including in its next study of behaviour in schools, questions relating to protected characteristics, fostering good relations and eradicating bullying.
As the summary below shows,  the gap in achievement between those with and those without a disability is narrowing. However, we need to do more to further narrow the gap.
The outcome in terms of attainment for school leavers with a recorded disability has been improving over the last two years. Data on attainment for secondary and special school leavers shows an increase in average tariff score for pupils with a disability from 157 in 2011-12 to 175 in 2012-13, a rise of 18 points. This is encouraging given that the average tariff score for pupils who are not disabled rose by only one point over this period - from 406 to 407.
Data on leaver destinations for secondary and special school leavers also presents an improving picture showing an increase in pupils recorded with a disability moving into an initial positive destination - from 81.8% in 2011-12 to 85.0% in 2012-13, i.e. an increase of 3.2 percentage points. This is again encouraging as it compares to a 1.6 percentage point increase over the same period for non-disabled leavers (figures of 89.7% and 91.3% for 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively) although the gap is still too wide.
The following tables include data on pupils with additional support needs related to dyslexia and illustrate this improving picture.
Leavers' average tariff score for pupils with dyslexia
|School year||Average tariff score|
Secondary and Special school destinations % data for pupils with dyslexia 2011-12 and in 2012-13 
|Reason for additional support||School year||No. of leavers||Higher Ed||Further Ed||Training||Employment||Voluntary work||Activity agreement||% leavers moving to an initial positive destination|
Schools and authorities are identifying more children and young people with dyslexia using the national definition and more and more young people with dyslexia are improving the number of qualifications they gain and achieving a positive destination.
Between the periods 2009-10 and 2012-13 the rate of exclusions has dropped for pupils with a disability and for pupils who are not disabled. However, the reduction has been less for disabled children and young people. In 2012-13 exclusion rates were 63 per 1,000 pupils for pupils with a disability recorded and 31 per 1,000 for non-disabled pupils (compared to 70 and 44 respectively in 2009-10). So, in 2012-13, pupils with a disability recorded were twice as likely to be excluded as pupils without a disability.
Pupils with a disability continue to have a very slightly lower attendance rate at school than their non-disabled peers. In 2012-13 attendance rates were 91.9% for pupils with a disability recorded and 93.7% for non-disabled pupils (compared to 92% and 93.3% respectively in 2009-10). This shows a very slight drop in the attendance rate for pupils with a disability between 2009-10 and 2012-13. Statistics for attendance for the 2014-15 academic year will be available in October 2015  .
Action that the Scottish Government/Education Scotland have taken to support progress towards the equality outcome for pupils with a disability includes:
Accessibility strategies guidance - The Scottish Government published in autumn 2014 the revised guidance Planning improvements for disabled pupils' access to education  The guidance, developed following consultation with stakeholders,  supports responsible bodies (education authorities, independent and grant-aided schools) to fulfil their statutory duty to develop and publish Accessibility Strategies. The guidance is clear around advancing equality of opportunity and improving the physical environment to enable better access to education and associated services for disabled pupils. It helps education authorities to engage disabled pupils in their learning and to include them in school as fully as possible.
Dyslexia activity - The Scottish Government recognises the early identification of dyslexia as a priority for all our schools and Education Scotland published Making Sense: Education for Children and Young People with Dyslexia in Scotland  in May 2013. This followed the introduction in September 2012 of an enhanced Dyslexia Toolkit  to help all teachers address the needs of children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties. We can see from the data above that there is already evidence of progress for young people who receive additional support for learning because of dyslexia (that is around 11% of pupils who receive additional support).
Autism activity - We launched the Autism Toolbox website  in April 2014 to help teachers and educational support staff meet the needs of pupils with autism. This online national tool will encourage best practice for all education staff in schools to support pupils with autism and provide a forum for continually updating and disseminating good practice. This work falls under the Scottish Government and COSLA's Autism Strategy  in which £13.4 million is invested over the next four years - £3.4 million more than originally pledged. Progress is already being seen and future impact of the toolkit will be monitored centrally through annual data on attainment and positive destinations for leavers with additional support needs.
Early Years activity - In terms of activity around early years, we have continued to prioritise participation of early learning and childcare for those who are most vulnerable or disadvantaged in the first instance. We also make sure that expansion of early learning and childcare, most recently through the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, is promoted to those children with additional support needs ( ASN) or a disability, e.g. through our statutory guidance. We expect this to have an impact on the numbers of children with additional support needs in nurseries and will be monitoring this through the ELC (Early Learning and Childcare) Census,  published in December each year, with particular interest in the impact on children with disabilities.
In 2014, children with additional support needs accounted for 9.4% of registrations with local authority or partnership early learning childcare providers. This was an increase from 8.4% in 2013, and 8.3% in 2012. Of those children with additional support needs, the 2014 data shows slight increases in the percentage of registrations for all groups compared to 2013 (a breakdown is not available for 2012, i.e. children with language, speech and communication needs; children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties; children with a visual or hearing impairment, or who are deafblind; and children with a learning disability).
There is a long history of boys doing less well than girls in terms of educational outcomes. It should be noted that more boys (62%) than girls (38%) are identified as having additional support needs. The most recent statistics show that outcomes in attainment and positive leaver destinations for boys and girls continue to improve. While the gap is closing in terms of positive destinations, the gap is not closing for tariff scores ( attainment).
Average tariff score and % in a positive follow-up destination by gender, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13
|Average tariff score||% in a positive follow-up destination|
The table below shows that although there have been significant reductions in the numbers of exclusions over the past few years, boys are still more likely to be excluded from school than girls.
Cases of exclusion and rate per 1,000 pupils by gender, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2012-13
|Cases of exclusion||Rate per 1,000 pupils|
There have been improvements for boys and girls in rates of attendance and there continues to be little difference between boys and girls at 93.7% and 93.5% respectively in 2012-13 (compared to 93.2% and 93% in 2010-11).
Action that the Scottish Government/Education Scotland have taken to support progress towards the equality outcome for pupils who might be disadvantaged or underperforming because of their gender includes:
Gender-based bullying - respect me, the Scottish Government-funded national anti-bullying service (see under 'bullying' below and supplementary information), has begun work on a key objective to develop and lead a partnership around gender-based bullying and violence.
Raising attainment - see information under the section 'Race'.
The picture across the outcomes measures for ethnic groups continues to be very mixed. Recent data  show that the pattern continues of most children and young people from minority ethnic groups achieving high rates of attainment and positive leaver destinations and in 2012/13 the highest rates were achieved by those with a Chinese ethnicity.
On the other hand, white Scottish pupils (around 91% of pupils) and those whose ethnicity is Not Known/Not Disclosed (around 1% of pupils) have the lowest rates for attainment and positive leaver destinations.  A significant challenge is therefore to raise the attainment of the largest ethnic group which is white Scottish pupils, and within that group, boys in particular (see section on sex (gender)).
In terms of minority ethnic groups, one group in particular - Gypsy/Traveller children and young people - continue to experience barriers to learning and therefore currently underperform quite significantly compared to other ethnic groups. There is little positive evidence that Gypsy/Traveller children and young people are making progress as successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. (See also equality outcome progress report for Gypsy/Travellers.)
Data for 2012-13 shows that most children and young people from minority ethnic groups have low rates of exclusion, with the lowest rates for those with Asian ethnicity - 10 exclusions per 1,000 pupils. White Scottish pupils and those whose ethnicity is Not Known/ Not Disclosed have the highest rates of exclusion at, respectively, 34 and 32 exclusions per 1,000 pupils. The overall average is 33 exclusions per 1,000 pupils. Analyses at more detailed ethnicity breakdowns are not possible due to small numbers.
Attendance data continues to show a much more even pattern of attendance across ethnic groupings although pupils with Chinese ethnicities have the highest attendance rates (96.3% attendance) and those with White-Gypsy/Traveller (79.1%) or 'Other' (91.9%) ethnicities have the lowest rates of attendance. It is positive that attendance continues to improve year on year for children and young people in all ethnic groups in Scotland (although changes in data recording means that direct comparisons with previous years are made with caution). For example a 96.3% rate of attendance for Asian Chinese pupils in 2012-13 compared to a 95.5% attendance rate in 2010-11, and an average 95.7% attendance rate across African, Black and Caribbean groups in 2012-13 compared to in 93.4% in 2010-11. To put this in context, overall pupils' rate of attendance has increased from 93.1 per cent in 2010-11 to 93.6 per cent in 2012-13.
Percentage attendance by ethnic background, 2012-13(1)
|Mixed or multiple ethnic groups||93.9|
|Not disclosed/not known||93.0|
* see detailed breakdown in table below
Percentage attendance by those with White non-Scottish ethnic background, 2012-13 (see note above)
|White - Gypsy/Traveller||79.1|
|White - Other British||94.2|
|White - Irish||94.1|
|White - Polish||90.2|
|White - Other||92.2|
Action that the Scottish Government/Education Scotland have taken to support progress towards the equality outcome for pupils who might be disadvantaged or underperforming because of their race includes:
Gypsy/Travellers - The Scottish Government formed, in 2013, a Scottish Traveller Education Review Group ( STERG) to work to improve the equality of access to education for the children of all Travellers in Scotland. STERG's work was put on hold pending clarity on how it would fit within the Scottish Government overarching strategy and action plan for Gypsy/Travellers which is being developed and due to publish summer 2015. The Scottish Government also continues to fund and support the Scottish Traveller Education Programme ( STEP). (See also equality outcome progress report for Gypsy/Travellers.)
Raising attainment - The Scottish Government and all our partners have a strong shared commitment to raising attainment and achievement for all and closing the equity gap between children and young people who are most and least advantaged. Evidence shows that this includes the largest ethnic group in our schools which is white Scottish pupils.
There are a range of activities to tackle this attainment gap, including the Raising Attainment for All  Programme which is working with over 180 schools across Scotland to drive forward sustainable and consistent improvement, and the £1.5 million Access to Education fund, which aims to reduce the barriers to learning experienced by pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Going forward, this work will be complemented by the Scottish Attainment Challenge  announced in February 2015 and the introduction of a legal requirement for local authorities to introduce measures to reduce the attainment gap. There is some evidence that the gap in attainment between the most and least advantaged is beginning to close.
"Many children and young people experience bullying because
they are 'different' or because they are perceived to be different.
A recognition of prejudice-based bullying underpins and informs all
of our work."
(From the respect me website)
The Scottish Government understands that bullying can impact negatively on attendance and attainment leading to disadvantage and potentially under performance. Children with some protected characteristics, such as disabled children or children from some ethnic groups, may also be more susceptible to bullying. The progress towards the equality outcome, set out in this report by protected characteristic, may therefore be accredited to some extent to anti-bullying work by the Scottish Government and Education Scotland.
Data on bullying, including prejudice-based bullying, is not collected centrally in Scotland. The National Approach to Anti-Bullying  is clear that recording and monitoring of bullying incidents is essential, but best carried out locally where it can be understood and acted upon.
Action that the Scottish Government/Education Scotland has taken to support progress towards the equality outcome for pupils who might be disadvantaged or underperforming due to bullying related to a protected characteristic includes:
Support for respect me - The Scottish Government continues to fund and support respect me  , Scotland's anti-bullying service. respect me work with local authorities and all those working with children and young people, to build confidence and capacity to tackle bullying effectively.
Education Scotland activity - Education Scotland also continue to provide support around promoting positive relationships with children and young people, which includes providing support and resources around anti-bullying strategies. They provide schools with support and resources to help them promote understanding and tackle prejudice around equality and inclusion through the curriculum. The Dealing with Homophobia and Homophobic Bullying in Scottish Schools, Toolkit Resource for Teachers,  for example, can be used by teachers to address equalities issues in the context of the values, purposes and principles of Curriculum for Excellence.
Scottish Government Guidance - In November 2013 the Scottish Government published Guidance on Developing Policies to Promote the Safe and Responsible Use of Mobile Technology in Schools  . This was developed by a sub-group of the Scottish Advisory Group on Relationships and Behaviour in Schools ( SAGRABIS is jointly chaired by the Minister for Science and Scotland's Languages and COSLA) in response to the 2012 Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research  which identified concerns around the misuse of mobile phones in schools. The guidance supports schools and local authorities to develop policies designed to protect staff and children and young people from harassment and abuse which can arise from the misuse of such technology.
Following stakeholder engagement, the Scottish Government published revised guidance  for teachers on the conduct of teaching relationships, sexual health and parenthood education ( RSHP) within the Health and Wellbeing organiser of Curriculum for Excellence, in December 2014. The intention is that RSHP education should be inclusive of, and responsive to, all, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Research activity - The Scottish Government commissioned respect me to undertake research to obtain a picture of how children and young people experience bullying in Scotland. The research report Bullying in Scotland 2014  , published in November 2014, along with the Teachers Report 2014: Homophobic Bullying in Scotland's Schools  published by Stonewall, will inform future policy development.
In addition, Education Scotland have provided advice to the Equality and Human Rights Commission ( EHRC), respect me and LGBT Youth around researching prejudicebased bullying in schools in Scotland and the report Prejudice-based bullying in Scottish schools was published by EHRC in March 2015.  Education Scotland is now working with EHRC on the next steps.
This report describes some specific work aimed at ensuring that "there will be progress by 2017 in the experience of those with protected characteristics who are currently disadvantaged or underperforming". This work sits within the context of the Programme for Government which sets out what will be done more broadly to provide the support, the opportunities and the right environment for all children and young people in Scotland to thrive, including:
- The introduction of a Read, Write, Count literacy and numeracy campaign for P1-P3. This campaign will include parental support and assertive outreach activity to ensure the most vulnerable children in Scotland can access its benefits.
- Education Scotland appointing an Attainment Advisor for each local authority.
- Continued support to the 'Raising Attainment for All Programme', a quality improvement collaborative consisting of 23 local authorities and over 180 schools, with further authorities expected to join shortly.
- Continued support to improve the learning and teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in schools; as well as enabling all young people to have the opportunity to learn two languages in addition to their mother tongue (1+2 model).
- The introduction of an Education Bill aimed at improving children's rights and which will require local authorities to introduce measures to reduce the attainment gap and report on their progress.
In addition, the First Minister launched the Scottish Attainment Challenge in February 2015,  backed by the £100 million Attainment Scotland Fund over four years. The fund is intended to drive forward improvements in educational outcomes in Scotland's most disadvantaged communities. It will focus on literacy, numeracy and health and well-being in the primary sector and the Scottish Government will work closely with local authorities to establish the right improvement plan for their context.
Email: Mainstreaming Equality Team, MainstreamingEquality@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House