Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights - anti-racist policy making: review

Findings of a research programme into Scottish race equality strategies since 2000. The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) was commissioned to support the implementation of this review, with a focus on exploring opportunities for better practice.

Appendix 1: Considerations for future policy

This section gathers together the key examples of issues to consider and suggestions for future policy made throughout the report. As in the wider report, these relate to a) key themes and trends (the entrenched inequalities which policy aims to tackle and how this might be done effectively), and b) designing and delivering effective policy from an anti-racist perspective.

Considerations relating to key themes and trends

Overarching issues

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Developing clear mechanisms for leadership, responsibility and accountability on race equality across all directorates, including levers for ensuring commitments and actions are implemented and reported on in a timely fashion
  • Creating joined-up approaches to capacity building, particularly in light of the commitments on training for public sector staff within the Race Equality Framework for Scotland
  • Planning an approach going forward from the end of the Equality Evidence Strategy 2017-2021 which addresses the remaining gaps and standardisation issues with ethnicity data (particularly around reporting on the National Performance Framework and on ensuring granular disaggregation of data to match Scotland's Census ethnicity categories)
  • Seeking opportunities to use procurement and funding processes to lever equality commitments from external organisations through contract compliance
  • Maximising the potential of the new Equality and Human Rights Fund by embedding criteria and evaluation processes that support evidence based approaches to tackling inequalities and promoting equality

Community cohesion and safety

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Development of (and funding for) preventative anti-racist initiatives based on evidence of what works to create attitude and behaviour change, with evaluation mechanisms designed to strengthen this evidence base, reflecting the Equality and Human Rights Commission's principles for evaluation of anti-prejudice work (developed by CRER on behalf of the Commission)[181]
  • Considering how community cohesion more broadly can be strengthened through national and local policy approaches, with a focus on reaching those in the majority ethnic community who are not engaging positively with people outside their own ethnic group
  • Mechanisms to build capacity on race equality within the Police Force and the wider justice system
  • Reviewing representation of minority ethnic groups throughout the justice sector in line with Census 2022 statistics when available
  • Opportunities to improve connections between minority ethnic communities / community organisations and Police Scotland

Participation and representation

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Working through relevant directorates and national agencies to increase access to mainstream participation in arts, culture, heritage and leisure funding or programmes
  • Seeking opportunities to target specific, under-represented ethnic groups for public appointments, and ways to improve diversity at Chair level
  • Identifying the factors underlying the success of positive action measures regarding public appointments and transferrable learning to improve practice in other areas of under-representation

Education and lifelong learning

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Developing quality, consistent and sustainable approaches to capacity building on race equality from Initial Teacher Education stage onwards
  • Evaluating the work undertaken in support of the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland agenda to identify what has been achieved, where the gaps are and what more needs to be done to improve diversity in teaching
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of the current voluntary approach to recording and monitoring prejudice-based bullying and racist incidents using SEEMiS, with a view to improving this and consideration of the potential to develop a mandatory approach
  • Investigating how schools and teachers address racist bullying and racist incidents in order to identify opportunities to strengthen good practice and eliminate poor practice
  • Reviewing the availability and use in policy making of education data disaggregated by ethnicity (particularly relating to Gypsy/Traveller pupils, but also datasets where disaggregation has regressed such as exclusions and free school meals)
  • Building on the work begun by Education Scotland to look at the race equality implications of Curriculum for Excellence and how it can strengthen diversity in the curriculum, anti-racist learning opportunities and approaches to improve the wellbeing of minority ethnic pupils
  • Working with ELC providers to increase access to ELC for minority ethnic families

Employability, employment and income

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Levers for increasing workforce diversity in the public, private and voluntary sectors (including reviewing the effectiveness of past initiatives such as the Workplace Equality Fund, which initially attracted few applications focussing on race equality)
  • Commissioning research on the impact of Universal Credit on BME people in Scotland
  • Ensuring that child poverty and poverty strategies include action specifically focussed on minority ethnic communities
  • Maximising the number of Scottish Government vacancies advertised externally in order to widen the diversity of potential applicants

Health and home

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • How best to implement the recommendations of the Expert Reference Group on Covid-19 and Ethnicity
  • Co-ordinated approaches to capacity building on race equality in the health sector, taking into account its size and complexity
  • Strengthening the availability of consistent, robust housing data disaggregated by ethnicity
  • Targeted work to address minority ethnic communities' disproportionate concentration in the private rented sector and disparities in overcrowding and housing quality

National agencies

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, if possible, to identify ways to strengthen enforcement of the Scottish specific public sector equality duties
  • Assisting national agencies to 'join up' their approaches to seeking expertise and capacity building on race equality
  • Identifying incentives to motivate national agencies to increase their focus on embedding race equality, accompanied by disincentives for inaction (for example, working with audit and inspection bodies and using levers such as outcomes agreements and funding requirements)
  • Building on the work begun through the 2021 Race and Employment Summit, where public bodies were asked to sign up to a joint statement committing to tackling institutional racism and implementing the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Committee's inquiry report on race equality, employment and skills

Community involvement

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Working with race equality stakeholders to develop shared principles on the involvement of minority ethnic communities and those who represent their interests
  • Assessing the extent to which involvement with race equality stakeholders meets the National Standards for Community Engagement
  • Reviewing the outcomes of previous minority ethnic engagement in consultation and involvement in order to address possible weaknesses in practice within policy making which may be limiting its influence
  • Identifying and addressing any capacity building needs amongst civil servants responsible for engaging and involving race equality stakeholders

Considerations relating to policy design and delivery

Anti-racist policy making

Anti-racist approaches to policy making would reflect principles such as:

  • Redressing power hierarchies inherent in current approaches to policy development, including the impact of lack of representation of minority ethnic people in positions of influence and decision making roles
  • Correcting economic, political and social imbalances created by white privilege and entrenched racial inequalities through positive action and other forms of targeted action
  • Implementing structural and systemic solutions to racial inequalities – changing policy and practice, as opposed to 'sticking plaster' approaches which treat the effects of structural racism rather than its origins
  • Avoiding the deficit model which downplays structural racism in favour of explanations related to personal capacity, culturally specific attitudes and behaviours or individual choices (often replicating racist stereotypes and/or minimising the role of racism in creating and maintaining inequalities)
  • Rights based approaches which recognise that inaction on racism and racial inequalities breaches the rights of minority ethnic people; other potential imperatives for action which may be more palatable and avoid disrupting the racial contract, such as 'the business case' for equality, are counterproductive
  • Intersectional approaches particularly recognising the specific inequalities facing minority ethnic women[182]
  • Overcoming discomfort or reticence that policy makers may have around frank discussion of race and racism, and other manifestations of white fragility which could impact policy making
  • Policy making based on robust evidence about the nature and prevalence of racial inequalities and racism, as well as 'what works' to create change
  • Effective, meaningful involvement of minority ethnic people and organisations with tangible impacts on policy development
  • Building capacity on race equality and anti-racism, with recognition that it is not the responsibility of minority ethnic people to 'educate' policy makers
  • Creating interest convergence by providing strong imperatives for policy makers to come together with race equality stakeholders and identify solutions
  • Prioritising effective, measurable action to secure race equality over and above the optics of ethos and rhetoric on race equality

Sustainability and continuity

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Building stronger evaluation mechanisms into strategy during the development process (the Equality and Human Rights Commission's principles for meaningful evaluation of anti-prejudice work, developed by CRER, are useful for planning evaluation of any aspects of race equality policy)[183]
  • Sharing the results of evaluation, with equal value placed on evidence of what works and what does not work; seeing the latter as a learning process rather than a 'failure'
  • Benchmarking exercises to gather baseline data on inequalities, from sources which can be regularly revisited through progress monitoring to identify change over time in relation to commitments and actions
  • Measures to ensure continuity of knowledge about race equality policy and its implementation within teams and directorates, for example maintaining a detailed progress tracker which can be accessed by all and is part of hand-over if key staff move or leave their position
  • In the absence of a sustainable knowledge base on racial inequalities and what works to change them, it is vital that race equality policy development makes the best use of the evidence which can be gathered

Gathering evidence

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Renewing the Equality Evidence Strategy when it comes to its end in 2021, informed by a full review of the availability of ethnicity disaggregated data, how this is presented within Equality Evidence Finder and how use of both data and evidence from involvement can be maximised in policy making
  • Implementing the data and evidence related recommendations of the Expert Reference Group on Covid-19 and Ethnicity, and considering the implications of these for data beyond health policy where relevant
  • Working to improve coverage of ethnicity disaggregated data in relation to the National Performance Framework[184]
  • Capacity building activities for policy makers on collating and using ethnicity evidence
  • Ensuring that revisions to data collection and publication processes are subject to Equality Impact Assessment in order to avoid creating future data gaps
  • Working with stakeholders to improve the coherence, consistency and sustainability of mechanisms for gathering evidence from those with lived experience of racism (e.g. involving minority ethnic community members and minority ethnic led organisations).

Identifying solutions

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • High quality capacity building on race equality for policy makers, with a particular focus on how to interpret and prioritise evidence from an anti-racist perspective
  • Policy planning processes which begin with the desired outcome and work backwards to identify viable, meaningful, measurable actions
  • Requiring all race equality actions to be agreed with the relevant policy area and formally 'signed off' by a named person at an appropriate level of seniority before publication, linking this to implementation and progress reporting

Partnership working to identify solutions

Challenges which need to be overcome in order for the full potential of advisory groups and other partnership approaches to identifying solutions to be realised include:

  • The people represented on the group all need sufficient practical experience in the relevant policy area; avoiding involvement for involvement's sake
  • Capacity building for policy makers on race equality and anti-racism will often be needed, so that group members have a shared understanding to work from
  • Senior civil servant or Ministerial level support needs to be available to the group, so that those with sufficient authority can ensure its work is unimpeded, has access to all relevant information and contacts, and that its recommendations are implemented
  • Decisions about how to proceed with making and implementing recommendations need to be focussed on what will work to tackle racial inequality (and as discussed previously, civil servants need to feel a sense of leadership and confidence to assert solutions which are evidence based and reflect an anti-racist perspective)
  • The temptation to leave aside more innovative or challenging suggestions in favour of suggestions in line with the status quo should be recognised and avoided, but likewise, ambitious but vague or unworkable suggestions should also be set aside

Setting anti-racist actions

Actions designed from an anti-racist perspective might be expected to:

  • Reflect anti-racist principles
  • Express the change to be achieved in the lives of people from minority ethnic communities
  • Feature milestones, targets or similar specified goals
  • Clearly link to progress indicators, ideally in numeric / percentage based terms, which can be robustly measured through data or ongoing research

Designing effective strategic plans

An effective strategic plan on race equality might be expected to have the following qualities:

  • Synergy across all relevant policy areas, with both specific actions arising from the strategy and actions within mainstream areas of policy or other strategies which reflect the content and aims of the strategy (balancing targeted and mainstreamed approaches)
  • An attached delivery plan with performance indicators, measurable targets and milestones, timescales and responsibilities[185]
  • Mechanisms for implementation, evaluation, monitoring and progress reporting which are embedded in work plans and/or objectives
  • Strong accountability, transparency and scrutiny arrangements

Strengthening implementation

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Mandatory personal and/or departmental objectives linked to implementation of a strategy
  • Inclusion of risk and mitigation sections (identifying reasons why actions might fail and assigning means of mitigating along with assigning responsibility for this)
  • Formation of groups with a scrutiny function, both internal and including external stakeholders
  • Assigning responsibility for actions to specific post holders
  • Monitoring and progress reporting mechanisms
  • Proactive leadership on implementation at all levels of the organisation
  • Requiring verbal and written reports on implementation in regular departmental reporting processes
  • Measures to improve continuity and sustainability of implementation, particularly where staff move around and responsibility must transfer to another team member

Reporting on progress

Scottish Government may wish to consider:

  • Reporting on each action individually, for clarity
  • Demonstrating the change over time in the issue which an action or commitment aims to address
  • Where a commitment has not been met, explaining why and what else is being done to address the relevant inequalities
  • Reporting on an annual basis to allow a cycle of monitoring and reporting to develop



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