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.

1: Race Equality Policy in Scotland: Themes and trends

This section provides a summary of common themes in Scottish race equality policy, Scottish Government/Executive's strategic approaches to addressing these and direction of travel on creating change within these themes.

The number of commitments relating to specific types of activity, commitments or actions are presented in order to demonstrate the volume of activity over the past twenty years in these areas. It should be noted that, in many cases, almost identical commitments have been made repeatedly over time.

In some cases, this is understandable; a changing workforce, for example, necessitates new commitments to training and capacity building in each iteration of race equality strategy. Likewise, each document includes commitments on implementation and monitoring of the strategy itself and related work.

Some policy areas have required a consistent focus in order to create and maintain greater racial equality (for example public appointments, where the review identified that consistent effort had resulted in some gains; this is explored in Participation and Representation section.

In other cases, however, commitments repeated over time may indicate that previous action has not tackled the issue at hand.

Some specific examples include:

  • Commitments to strengthen the availability of data disaggregated by ethnicity
    • Almost every report contained commitments in this area; a co-ordinated, strategic approach which ensures all those responsible for producing data within Scottish Government actively ensure disaggregation is undertaken and gaps addressed would resolve this
  • Setting of targets for public sector workforce diversity
    • Workforce representation remains a significant concern, and target setting was featured in strategies published in 2000, 2002, 2008, 2016, 2017 and 2021
    • Over time, these targets were more likely to simply state 'representative of the population' rather than giving specific percentages; this creates a moving target which cannot always be effectively benchmarked
  • Strengthening diversity in the curriculum
    • This was a feature of strategies in 2001, 2008, 2016 and 2018, and is one of four workstreams within Scottish Government's 2020-21 race equality and anti-racism in education work programme
  • Improving approaches to racist incident recording and monitoring in the Police Force
    • Commitments of this nature were repeated in 2001, 2002 and 2005
    • This remains a significant issue; although this data is still collected by Police Scotland, no published racist incident data is available after 2013-14

The themes and trends section attempts to highlight areas such as these where racial inequalities remain entrenched, in order to support the prioritisation of future action. It provides an overview of evidence on racial inequalities related to each theme and, where it can be established, information on how these have changed over time.

The final part of each theme's section focusses on identifying areas which may need particular attention in future work to meet the visions and goals of the Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030. These considerations for future policy are deliberately broad. Analysis of previous strategy has clearly demonstrated that, whilst learning from past initiatives is valuable, identifying specific actions to address priorities in the present requires additional evidence gathering and policy making processes to reflect the current context. Accordingly, although this review suggests areas where action should be considered, it does not attempt to prescribe what that action should be.

The themes are drawn together under the key policy areas set out in the Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030:

  • Overarching Issues
  • Community Cohesion and Safety
  • Participation and Representation
  • Education and Lifelong Learning
  • Employability, Employment and Income
  • Health and Home

Additional sections draw out key themes and trends in the approaches to race equality in Scotland's national agencies, and in the solutions proposed through community involvement.



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