Publication - Research and analysis

Consultation on the socio-economic duty: analysis of responses

Published: 23 Nov 2017

A summary of responses to the Consultation on the Socio-Economic Duty and the Scottish Government's response.

24 page PDF

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24 page PDF

429.0 kB

Consultation on the socio-economic duty: analysis of responses
Section 2 – The public authorities covered by the duty

24 page PDF

429.0 kB

Section 2 – The public authorities covered by the duty

The consultation document proposed that the following Scottish public authorities be bound by the duty:

Scottish Ministers:

  • The Scottish Government
  • Accountant in Bankruptcy
  • Disclosure Scotland
  • Education Scotland
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Scottish Public Pensions Agency
  • Student Awards Agency for Scotland
  • Transport Scotland
  • Scottish Social Security Agency (once established)

Local Authorities

NHS Health Scotland

Integration Joint Boards

Regional Health Boards

The Scottish Police Authority

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise

Respondents thought that the duty should apply to all of the listed public authorities, and various additions were also suggested.

Some respondents called for the duty to apply to all public bodies (see for the full list of public bodies in Scotland), and others named specific public bodies that should be added, including:

  • Cairngorms National Park Authority
  • Care Inspectorate
  • Community Justice Scotland
  • Creative Scotland
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority
  • Scottish Agricultural Wages Board
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA)
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Scottish Futures Trust
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority
  • Scottish Social Services Council
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Sportscotland
  • VisitScotland
  • Scottish Water
  • Special Health Boards
  • Territorial Health Boards
  • Revenue Scotland
  • Scottish Fiscal Commission
  • Audit Scotland
  • Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

It was suggested that the organisations bound by the duty should be the same as for other related duties, such as the Public Sector Equality Duty, the Community Empowerment Act 2015, and the Human Rights Act 1998. This would mean extending it to, for example, Scottish Licensing Boards, Regional Transport Partnerships, colleges, universities, fire and rescue authorities, and private or voluntary sector bodies when carrying out public functions (as defined by the Human Rights Act 1998).

Other suggestions included applying the duty to the Scottish Parliament, and to UK Government bodies in relation to devolved functions.

Scottish Government response

The Scottish Government has considered views from respondents carefully and, where it is appropriate to add other public bodies to the list, we intend to do so. As the consultation made clear, the Equality Act 2010 restricts Scottish Ministers in determining which Scottish public bodies can be listed. Bodies must have similar or equivalent functions to one of the English public bodies set out in the Act. Note that in some cases bodies suggested by respondents led the Scottish Government to consider whether it would be possible to broaden the original list out to other public body types. In some cases, public bodies that are now likely to be listed have not been specifically suggested by respondents, because it is possible to do so. We want to make sure we get the final list right, however, and will be carefully checking to ensure that equivalence between bodies in the Act has been correctly determined.

As indicated in the response to Section 1, the Scottish Government intends to monitor carefully how the duty operates in practice over the next three years, in conjunction with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is the regulator of the new duty. Where there are emerging examples of gaps – for example, where poor decision making has been made by a body not listed under the duty – we will consider whether it would be possible to list other bodies via an alternative legislative approach.