Introduction: Equality at the Heart of What We Do
The Scottish Government's Purpose:
To focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.
Equality is part of the aspiration and ambition which we have for Scotland. We want a society that is fair and just, in which all can participate, flourish and benefit, where we respect and value diversity, and where we work together to build a buoyant and successful country.
However, equality evidence tells us that it is still a way to go until all of Scotland can truly be able to fulfil their potential:
"Women are more likely to be on low pay than men." (1)
"In 2011 in Scotland the employment rate for disabled people was 46.3% compared to an overall employment rate of 70.7%." (2)
"Respondents to the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey who declared being gay or lesbian were more likely to have been victims of crime (29%) compared with the average for Scotland as a whole (18%)." (3)
"Experience of fuel poverty is much more likely in households containing someone aged over 60." (4)
"Roman Catholics are more likely to live in the most deprived 15% areas of Scotland than other Christian religion groups." (5)
"In 2011 in Scotland the employment rate for people from ethnic minority groups was 61.7% compared to an overall employment rate of 70.7%." (6)
(1) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings ( ASHE), 2008
(2) Annual Population Survey
(3) Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2010-11
(4) Scottish House Condition Survey 2010
(5) Scottish Household Survey 2009/10 and 2001 Census
(6) Annual Population Survey
A vast majority of people in Scotland believe that Scotland should do everything it can to get rid of all kinds of prejudice (see Annex A: Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010: Attitudes to discrimination and positive action).
Furthermore at this time of public spending cuts and measures to reform welfare there is widespread recognition of the real difficulties facing people across communities in Scotland. There are particular impacts for women and disabled people (see Annex B: Welfare Reform and Equality Groups). The Scottish Government has developed a programme of support by way of mitigation.
We face an unprecedented challenge to deliver improved outcomes whilst making optimal use of increasingly limited resources.
Prejudice, discrimination and inequality can breed dissention and frustrate community cohesion, cause damage to individuals and lead to an increase in the demand on public services and public resources.
More than ever we need to ensure that all the people of Scotland, regardless of their background, are able to fully participate in society. Our success as a nation depends on building a society where barriers to opportunities are removed.
Equality is at the heart of the business of the Scottish Government. We have pursued a consistent drive to mainstream equality across all of our activities and to see it develop as an integral part of policy making and decision taking.
Equality is reflected in our National Performance Framework, Government Economic Strategy and the Scottish Budget. It is integral to initiatives such as Public Service Reform and the Early Years Collaborative.
This mainstreaming is supported by the public sector equality duty which we believe is a helpful instrument in securing improved outcomes for the people of Scotland. The Scottish specific duties provide a robust framework to ensure its delivery.
The Scottish Government's legislation and policies have been shaped with reference to the different experiences and needs of equality groups and a number have been developed to specifically address issues of concern.
Setting our Equality Outcomes, as a policy maker and as an employer, provides us with a fresh opportunity to make a step change in our performance on equality and to make a difference to people's lives.
Having up to date, extensive and reliable data on equality groups is crucial if we are to improve equality outcomes. Therefore, one of the focus areas for us has been improving our equality data. In that context, engagement with equality groups is a key element. We continue to improve our engagement but recognise the need to be more effective in reaching wider audiences and more innovative in our approaches to our use of social media and technology.
We have a number of cross-government groups: on occupational segregation, Gypsies/Travellers, violence against women and disability.
Equality impact assessment of policies helps us to deliver better policy and better outcomes for the people of Scotland.
The Scottish Government wants to be confident that its financial decisions help deliver positive equality outcomes for all in Scotland. We want to ensure our pounds and pence contribute to greater equality. This is at the heart of Scottish Ministers' ambitions for a socially just nation.
Since 2009, we have developed a systematic approach to how we consider our budget decisions for their impact on equality groups. Information on the equality analysis and assessment of spending plans is provided in the Equality Budget Statement published alongside the draft Scottish Budget. To help us with this complex process we are supported by an Equality and Budget Advisory Group ( EBAG), which consists of external members and Government officials.
We have been developing support to raise awareness among the wider public sector on the procurement duty as contained within the Scottish specific duties.
We are adapting the way we communicate our messages to take into account the different needs of equality groups.
As an employer, we want to be an organisation that is more reflective of the communities that we serve.
We need to know that the working environment for our staff is fair, secure and productive. Gathering information about the equality characteristics of employees enables us to find out whether our equality policies are working and helps us to uncover unlawful discrimination and disadvantage.
In this report we also include information on mainstreaming processes in Agencies.
Structure of the Report
The report consists of two parts.
- Part 1 provides our report on mainstreaming equality.
- Part 2 provides information on our Equality Outcomes.
The report also provides a series of annexes.
The work of the Scottish Government is carried out by Directorates and Agencies. This report covers all Scottish Government Directorates and the following Agencies:
- Accountant in Bankruptcy
- Disclosure Scotland
- Education Scotland
- Historic Scotland
- Scottish Public Pensions Agency
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland
- Transport Scotland
The Scottish Prison Service, an Agency, has produced its own report, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, a distinct part of the Scottish Government, has chosen to produce its own report.
Explanations regarding the coverage in relation to equal pay and employee data are given in the relevant sections.
Scottish Ministers will report on progress no later than the end of April 2015. That report will provide further information on mainstreaming, including employment and gender pay gap data. It will also include an update on the progress made to achieve the equality outcomes.
Email: Graeme Bryce, Graeme.Bryce@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House