Coronavirus (COVID-19): phase 3 measures - equality and fairer Scotland impact assessment

Second overview of the range of poverty and equality impacts evidenced in relation to the complex range of measures that were taken as we followed the Route Map out of the crisis.

2. Scope of this Document

This document sets out the evidence we have gathered in relation to the actual or likely impacts of the implemented measures of Phase 3 on different people, based on protected characteristics and socio-economic disadvantage, as well as describing a range of activities that we have put in place to protect rights, to mitigate negative impacts, to promote positive impacts, and advance equality or good relations.

Decisions and policy responses aim to balance the risks and harms overall and for specific groups. They try to identify significant and ongoing harms before they occur but in such an unprecedented situation there are likely to be some unintended and undiagnosed consequences, therefore the Scottish Government will continue to consider newly identified evidence, as it relates to each of the protected characteristics, and will make further adjustments, as appropriate.

The first report[12] provided an overview of the general health, social and economic impacts by protected characteristic and socio-economic disadvantage. These are not repeated here. There is a steady stream of new evidence from the public and third sector, from academia and from various think-tanks, all of which agree with a broad conclusion that harm has been felt across all of society, but that the impact of COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting on some people and particularly those with one or more of the protected characteristics and / or who were already less well-off.[13] These impacts are both structural and specific in nature. Many impacts deriving from structural inequality are too large and complex to be mitigated by a specific measure that releases aspects of society from lockdown. However, this document still attempts to identify such issues and includes mitigating actions that are designed to eliminate discrimination and advance equality related to the ongoing changes in the measure where possible. It also confirms the intention that our equality, human rights and Fairer Scotland duties will be fundamental to the strategic approach to social and economic renewal alongside our analysis of the four harms.

Given the breadth of activity covered in the Route Map, this narrative document provides a strategic overview for the measures. However, based on stakeholder and Scottish Government policy feedback there are three changes to the approach used in the evidence assessment for Phases 1 and 2.

First, in the Phase 1 and 2 report an Annex was provided which set out for each section of the Route Map (e.g. ‘Getting Around’), the key measures over the phases, the likely impacts of the change and the differential impacts, where they were known. Feedback from stakeholders and Scottish Government policy leads suggested that the categories should be analysed measure by measure since issues differed between measures in the categories. As a result, the Annex for Phase 3 provides one template for each measure. This assessment is based on the current analysis using supporting evidence and research, including that from stakeholders.

Secondly, some stakeholders were concerned that although the templates described mitigating activity they did not explicitly refer the analysis to the requirements of the general duty, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, which requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity. In recognition of stakeholder concerns, the template for the overview has been modified to make this more transparent.

Finally, in publishing the Phase 1 and 2 report it was clear that many activities have been carried out in addition to the Route Map policy measures, which were devised to reduce the harm caused by lockdown and the subsequent easing of restrictions. These responses were not discussed in the first report but Section 5 of this document provides information on a selection of wider work that the Scottish Government is doing, or has done, to support people’s ability to comply with measures, to protect their rights or to reduce the harm caused by measures. This is not meant to be comprehensive but to help the reader understand the range of supportive action taken during the early months of the pandemic.



Back to top