Scotland's Programme for Government 2020-21 includes a commitment to undertake a desk-based review of past and current initiatives to tackle systemic racism. The purpose of this is to inform the future work of Scottish Government on race equality, particularly in pursuit of the visions and goals set out in the Race Equality Framework 2016-30. With nine years remaining in the Framework's implementation period, Scottish Government aims to ensure that the work undertaken is as robust and impactful as possible. It also seeks to understand how this work can best reflect the principles set out within the Framework, and to further develop an explicitly anti-racist approach to race equality.
CRER has been commissioned by Scottish Government to support the implementation of this review, with a focus on exploring opportunities for better practice.
This review report details the findings of a programme of research into previous Scottish race equality strategies. This refers to externally-facing strategies only. Published diversity strategies which form part of external equality policy have been included, but internal equality related employment policies and practices such as dignity at work or grievance and disciplinary documents are outwith the remit of this review.
Legislation is also excluded from the review, although it is noted that the planned review of the Scottish Specific Public Sector Equality Duty regulations and debate on the incorporation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination into Scots law may have relevance for future policy on race equality.
Lack of detailed evaluation of previous strategies makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions on the various approaches taken. However, there are examples of practice throughout which may be useful in the current context. Likewise, there are examples of approaches which may not have worked well in the past, and can now be improved upon.
The review examines the recurring themes within previous strategies, trends over time and, where possible, practical factors such as implementation and reporting mechanisms. It offers examples of future approaches which Scottish Government may wish to consider in maximising the effectiveness of future policy and practice, specifically from an anti-racist perspective.
There are multiple opportunities to address the entrenched inequalities that need to be tackled in Scotland. As explored in the section on designing effective race equality policy, in order to effectively create change, the policy making process must be carefully constructed. The examples provided across the two main sections of this report (the first on themes and trends, the second on designing anti-racist strategies) should therefore not be regarded as set-in-stone recommendations for action, but as inspiration to inform a robust policy making process.
As this is a wide ranging review, the examples provided are also wide ranging. A summary of these considerations for the future is provided at Appendix 1.