Publication - Research and analysis

Active Scotland Outcomes: Indicator Equality Analysis

Published: 19 Nov 2015
Part of:

This report presents an analysis of equality data across the indicators from the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework. Many data gaps were highlighted, however, available evidence points to inequality of opportunities and outcomes for all groups with protected characteristics across all the Active Scotland outcomes.

68 page PDF

1.1 MB

68 page PDF

1.1 MB

Active Scotland Outcomes: Indicator Equality Analysis
Background and context

68 page PDF

1.1 MB

Background and context

2.1. Addressing inequalities is a key commitment of the Scottish Government and underpins all the work and efforts encompassed by the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework.

2.2. The Scottish Government undertook Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) on both the delivery and the legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. A range of national legacy programmes have been developed and are being delivered by the Scottish Government with and through partners adopting five underpinning principles, including 'ensuring equality' and 'enabling diversity'.

2.3. The Scottish Government has also developed an Equality Evidence Framework to help public authorities and others gather and use equality evidence, and to strengthen areas where the data coverage is weak. A series of Equality Evidence Reviews have been undertaken on the protected equality characteristics and each includes a chapter on sport describing selected available survey evidence. The Scottish Government's Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2015 summarises progress on policies designed to tackle inequality in physical activity and sport to date.

2.4. Important contributions are also being made by wider partners. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its report "Significant inequalities in Scotland: Identifying significant inequalities and priorities for action" in 2010[1]. The report identified 'access to services' (including leisure services) as one of seven significant inequalities in Scotland. Others, also related to the physical activity outcomes, include: poverty/low income; health; discrimination; social exclusion and lack of participation; and, targeted violence and safety (physical security).

2.5. The EHRC has also developed a measurement framework to enable them to discharge their legal duties to monitor social outcomes and to provide data that may help Government and other public bodies prioritise their activities to meet the public sector duties on equality. The Equality Measurement Framework (EMF) includes several equality indicators and measures directly related to the Active Scotland outcomes, see Table 2.1.

2.6. In May 2015 sportscotland published its corporate plan 2015-19: Raising the Bar. This plan outlines its mission to build a world class sporting system for everyone in Scotland. To deliver on this mission, sportscotland recognises the importance of working in partnership with and providing leadership to the sports sector. As such it has set out priorities underpinning the sporting system, which are for the sports sector as a whole.

2.7. The priority around equalities and inclusion is about ensuring sport is accessible to people, recognising that both inequality and discrimination exist in sport, and that widening access means understanding the needs of people who share the protected characteristics as well as the complexities associated with socio-economic disadvantage and the exclusion that can be experienced in some rural parts of Scotland.

2.8. sportscotland is also working in partnership with the EHRC on an Equality and Sport research project, which aims to consolidate evidence, identify evidence gaps and gather data to improve the sports sector's work around equalities and inclusion. It includes: reviews of existing evidence; a picture of the sports sector's understanding and awareness of equality issues in sport; and experiences of users with protected characteristics of the sport system in Scotland.

2.9. The findings from this research will inform the re-development of sportscotland's equality outcomes and thus its key priorities and activities in this area for the duration of its corporate plan. Learning notes outlining findings from the research will be made available to support all partners working in the sporting system.

Table 2.1: EHRC Equality Measurement Framework - indicators related to Active Scotland Outcomes Framework

Area of life/substantive freedom Indicator Measure
Maintain a healthy lifestyle including exercise, sleep and nutrition Healthy living
  • Proportion who are living a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity
Go out and to use public spaces safely and securely without fear Fear of crime
  • Proportion that feel very unsafe or unsafe being alone at home and in local area (during the day and after dark)
  • Proportion that feel very worried or worried about physical attack, intimidation or acquisitive crime
Access green spaces and the natural world Quality of the local area
  • Average number of problems with local environmental quality cited
  • Proportion able to reach local facilities in reasonable time / fairly easily without private transport


2.10. The report's principal focus is on data and evidence directly related to the Active Scotland outcomes and indicators. The report pulls together key evidence and statistics from existing strands of work that have been undertaken on equality and physical activity to date, addresses some data gaps with further analysis of national survey data where possible and draws on wider evidence where necessary.

2.11. The report presents the most recent baseline data for protected equality characteristics and socioeconomic status across the 19 indicators where data is available from the indicator sources. Information is included from a number of datasets including: Census 2011; Scottish Household Survey (SHS); Scottish Health Survey (SHeS); Audit Scotland; Healthy Living Survey; Hands Up Scotland Survey (HUS); Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS); and Commonwealth Games records. Additional secondary analysis was conducted on the Scottish Household, Scottish Health and Scottish Crime and Justice Surveys.

2.12. Further evidence sources include the Scottish Health Survey Physical Activity Topic report[2], the Scottish Health Survey's equality evidence reviews[3] and wider literature as required. Key messages are drawn from a combination of the above. An overview of availability of data across the indicators by protected characteristics and the survey sources for indicator data is available in Annex A.

2.13. The report seeks to establish a baseline, thus the most recent data available is presented. However, trend information can greatly benefit our understanding of equality issues for the Active Scotland outcomes. Key trend information has been included where such data has already been published.

2.14. The Equality Evidence Framework notes the challenges around collecting equality evidence in Scotland. Reliable data on gender and age is available for a wide range of Active Scotland indicators, however, there are particular issues around collecting information on disability. Providing robust analyses on ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation is often not possible due to the small population numbers which are involved. Specific data issues are discussed under the relevant protected characteristic sections of the report.

2.15. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race/ethnicity, religion or belief, and sexual orientation. The report reflects the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty to: (a) eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; (b) advance equality of opportunity; and (c) foster good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not.

2.16. The public sector equality duty also covers marriage or civil partnerships, but not for all its aims. Marriage or civil partnerships are not covered in this report due to a lack of available evidence or likely causal pathways between marriage or civil partnership status and participation in physical activity and sport, over and above those that are related to age, gender and sexual orientation[4].

2.17. The report describes the available evidence in relation to each protected characteristic in turn. However, many individuals will possess more than one of the protected characteristics and the report seeks to highlight interaction between characteristics where appropriate. For example, those with a disability are more likely to also suffer from socio-economic disadvantage, and both factors are associated with a lower likelihood of meeting physical activity guidelines.

2.18. The report presents available data on the current picture in Scotland but does not provide a review of evidence on barriers, motivations and what works to tackle inequality in sports and physical activity participation. More understanding on these aspects will come from separate 'what works' reviews currently being undertaken on each of the outcomes and also the equality research commissioned by sportscotland and the EHRC.


Email: Justine Geyer