Anti-racism in Scotland: progress review 2023

Detailed examination of progress made on commitments contained within the Race Equality Framework (2016-2030) and the Immediate Priorities Plan (2021-2023).

2. Executive Summary

The Scottish Government is determined to show leadership in addressing inequality, tackling racism & dismantling the barriers that prevent people from racialised minorities[3] from realising their potential; as well as supporting them to realise their human rights.

Understanding racism and taking a truly anti-racism position means acknowledging the existence of formal and informal structural, institutional and cultural processes that place minoritised groups at a disadvantage within Scotland in relation to the majority.

Our Race Equality Framework (REF) for Scotland published in 2016 sets out this overarching ambition for race equality in Scotland, which we aim to achieve by 2030. This report takes stock of what we have achieved to date in relation to the goals set out in the REF, as well as the actions of the more recent Immediate Priorities Plan (IPP). The IPP set out the delivery of our race equality priorities in order to ensure a fair and equal recovery from COVID-19 as per the recommendations provided to us by the Expert Reference Group on COVID-19 and Ethnicity.

The report provides a detailed examination of progress made under the REF and the IPP. Content has been mapped according to the six themes of the REF:

Theme 1: Overarching work

Theme 2: Community cohesion and safety

Theme 3: Participation and representation

Theme 4: Education and lifelong learning

Theme 5: Employability, employment and income

Theme 6: Health and home

Theme 1: Overarching work

Vision: Our Vision for a fairer Scotland is that by 2030 Scotland is a place where people are healthier, happier and treated with respect, and where opportunities, wealth and power are spread more equally. The Race Equality Framework aims to ensure that this vision is achieved equally for people from all ethnicities, helping to build a Scotland where we all share a common sense of purpose and belonging.

  • Ensuring robust accountability and scrutiny of Scottish Government’s commitments to embedding antiracism across its work and that of the public sector via a newly established Anti-Racism Observatory for Scotland.
  • Building a Scotland that is an inclusive, safe and prosperous place to live that recognises the value of and celebrates the diversity of its people, and where we protect, respect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination. (Strengthening the Public Sector Equality Duty – PSED)
  • Developing a Scottish Civil Service that has the knowledge, skills and confidence to embed and promote equalities, including antiracism across their work.
  • Enhancing the human rights of women, disabled people and racialised minorities through the development of new human rights legislation in Scotland which will incorporate four United Nations Human Rights treaties into Scots law, within the limits of devolved competence (Human Rights Bill).
  • Strengthening Scotland’s equality evidence base enabling policy makers to develop sound and inclusive policy to improve service delivery and outcomes for all people in Scotland (Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP).
  • Supporting race equality organisations in Scotland via the Equality and Human Rights Fund to advise, support and empower racialised minorities and combat the cost of living crisis.

Theme 2: Community Cohesion and Safety

Vision: We build good race relations and community cohesion across all communities, and all minority ethnic[4] individuals feel safe, protected and included, and experience less racism

  • Tackling hatred and prejudice in Scotland through delivery of the Hate Crime Strategy for Scotland which sets out our key priorities for tackling hatred and prejudice, including implementation of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021.
  • Enhancing data quality across the justice system wide, to better understand and serve the needs of Scotland’s communities via the Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence.
  • Improving how complaints against Police Scotland are handled, bringing greater transparency, fairness and accessibility to systems, policies and processes via a Bill on Police Complaints and Misconduct Handling to be introduced in the parliamentary session 2022-23.
  • Improving equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within Police Scotland. The launch of Police Scotland’s Policing Together Strategy brings together multiple strands of work from across Police Scotland, bolstered by the Chief Constable’s commitment to ensure there is no tolerance for misogyny, racism and discrimination in the ranks or across wider society.
  • Ensuring Stop and Search by Police Scotland is carried out with fairness, integrity and respect, and irrespective of ethnicity via the Stop and Search Code of Practice.

Theme 3: Participation and Representation

Vision: Minority ethnic participation and representation is valued, effective, fair and proportionate at all levels of political, community and public life.

  • Increasing diversity within public boards through encouraging people from racialised minorities to apply for public appointments, for those applications to be successful, and for the conditions to be right for people to be able to give their best when they are on a board. (Public Appointments - Race Equality Action Plan 2019 – 2022)
  • Improving the way people take part in open policy-making and delivering services through a newly launched Participation Framework, which provides a guide to good practice in participation work across Scottish Government, including information about participatory methods and when to use them, and signposts to further resources.
  • Empowering communities (including racialised minorities) to develop cultural activities through the Creative Communities Programme, which seeks to extend high quality opportunities for people to take part in culture, including in areas with more limited opportunities and lower levels of cultural engagement.
  • Addressing Scotland’s involvement in empire, colonialism, and historic slavery using museum collections and museum spaces based on the recommendations of the Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums Steering Group led by Sir Geoff Palmer.

Theme 4: Education and Lifelong Learning

Vision: Everyone has the opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment without disadvantage in relation to racial inequality or racism.

  • Supporting reform in the education system through the Anti-Racism in Education Programme to develop and embed anti-racism and culturally-responsive leadership and practice throughout the curriculum, strengthening resources and approaches to prevent and respond to racist incidents, and diversifying the education workforce in Scotland to ensure that it reflects and supports the racial diversity of modern Scotland.
  • Supporting all young people to achieve their potential, including those from ethnic minorities by working collaboratively with third sector organisations and Developing Young Workforce (DYW) Regional Groups to increase work-based learning and employer engagement opportunities for those who would benefit most.
  • Supporting racialised minorities to experience better outcomes in completing further and higher education through the development of guidance for colleges and universities on setting evidence based, measurable equality outcomes for the period 2021-2025.

Theme 5: Employment and Employability

Vision: Minority ethnic people have equal, fair and proportionate access to employment and representation at all levels, grades and occupation types in Scotland’s workforce and experience fewer labour market, workplace and income inequalities.

  • Addressing the barriers and disadvantages experienced by racialised minorities in the labour market in Scotland via our Anti-Racist Employment Strategy published in December 2022.
  • Enabling employers to assess their training needs, develop their own learning pathways and access good quality anti-racism training for all levels in an organisation via our anti-racism workplace training framework due for completion by the end of 2025.
  • Tackling child poverty amongst families from racialised minorities via the Best Start, Bright Futures: tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022 to 2026
  • Ensuring our national budget takes into account the needs of those with protected characteristics via the Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget Statement.
  • Providing person-centred support for people further from the labour market, including people from minority ethnic communities to move towards and into fair and sustained work via investment of £23.5 million to Fair Start Scotland (FSS) delivery in 2022/23.
  • Recognising validating and valuing the skills people bring to Scotland through our Skills Recognition Scotland (SRS) programme.
  • Delivering our vision to be a world-leading diverse employer where racial equality is achieved via the Scottish Government Race recruitment and retention action plan (RRRAP).

Theme 6: Health and Housing

Vision: Minority ethnic communities in Scotland have equality in physical and mental health as far as is achievable, have effective healthcare appropriate to their needs and experience fewer inequalities in housing and home life.

  • Pursuing equity of access, experience and outcomes for racialised minorities, and addressing structural racism within health and social care, with oversight provided by the Racialised Health Inequalities in Health and Social Care in Scotland Steering Group.
  • Strengthening alignment of mental health policy with work to tackle poverty and reduce inequality via our Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan.
  • Addressing the mental health inequalities made worse by the pandemic via the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for adults.
  • Improving health and social care workplace cultures by listening to the voices of racially minoritied staff across the NHS and providing them with opportunities to share resources and support one another (NHS National Ethnic Minority Forum (EMF)).
  • Developing systems leadership at all levels across health, social care and social work that promotes the core values of kindness, inclusion, compassion and collaboration (Leading to Change Programme).
  • Improving our understanding of the housing needs of racialised groups Housing needs of minority ethnic groups evidence review.
  • Delivering our ambition for everyone to have a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to be (Housing to 2040).

Outstanding IPP actions

Action #: 23 Systemic Recommendation 12 – A measure of racism.

Action #: 34 Data Recommendation 13 – Reporting Data by Ethnicity 13 a – dashboard.

Action #: 30 Develop a CHI field for ethnicity (Health & Social Care).

Action #: 31 Primary Care Ethnicity Data Collection (Health & Social Care).

Outstanding REF actions

3.3 Engage with senior public body leaders to promote race equality and diversity issues through their senior management forums, equality and HR networks and with the Scottish Government sponsors.

10.3 Further review the Scottish Government grant funding process to see what more can be done to promote equal opportunities, for example by making action to progress board diversity a requirement of funding.

11.3 Work with stakeholders with expertise in race equality and community engagement to develop a relevant resource to sit alongside the National Standards for Community Engagement which addresses the issues raised in the framework development process around public sector engagement with minority ethnic communities.

23.1 Work with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in their delivery of the Equality Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland, to ensure that the number of individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds who are apprentices increases to equal the population share by 2021. This will be reviewed annually.

25.3 Consider the role that targets might play to address under-representation of minority ethnic staff within the public sector.



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