The Scope of the Equality Impact Assessment
It was necessary to make and lay these Regulations urgently to seek to reduce the public health risks posed by coronavirus from those travelling to Scotland, in order to reduce the risk of the introduction of new infections of Covid-19 into the community.
These measures are deemed necessary to maintain compliance with the public health guidance and limit the further spread of the disease. The Regulations have required to be made urgently in Scotland as part of a four nation approach of new public health measures at the UK border to help, as above, prevent further spread of the coronavirus and a possible second wave.
On that basis, there has been limited opportunity to gather evidence on the possible impacts of the Regulations. However, given the importance of assessing the impact on each of the protected characteristics, the Scottish Government has considered the measures against the needs of the general equality duty as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. The Scottish Government has also considered whether the measures could constitute direct and/or indirect discrimination.
Specifically, the EQIA assesses any impacts of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the needs relevant to a public authority’s duty to meet the public sector equality duty.
The needs are to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
- Advance equality of opportunity; and
- Foster good relations
The pace of the work on this has meant limited consultation with external stakeholders in Scotland. However, this EQIA has sought to use existing and emerging information and evidence and analysis, as part and parcel of the decision making process.
There has been discussion and dialogue by the Scottish Government with Police Scotland, The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Border Force in Scotland, Public Health Scotland and the Office of the Information Commissioner, which has shaped how the policy in Scotland is implemented. In developing these Regulations the Scottish Government has also sought the views of other external organisations where possible. These include Disabled People’s Organisations such as Inclusion Scotland, Disability Equality Scotland, British Deaf Association Scotland, the Chair of the Scottish Independent Living Coalition, VOX Scotland, Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) and Deaf Scotland; and organisations concerned with women’s equality in the workplace and society, such as Engender and Close the Gap.
The Scottish Government has considered the evidence gathered and the inputs provided, both in implementation of the Regulations and as part of our review of the impact of the Regulations. These in turn will help in the consideration of the existing and potential impacts – negative and positive – that these Regulations might have on each of the protected characteristics. It is recognised that the equality duty is not just about negating or mitigating negative impacts, as we also have a positive duty to promote equality. Therefore it should be recognised that mitigating actions do not stand alone and form part of that wider consideration of the duty.