Scotland's Programme for Government 2020-21 included a commitment to undertake a desk-based review of past and current initiatives to tackle systemic racism. The purpose of this was 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. Scottish Government aims to ensure that the work undertaken is as robust and impactful as possible. It seeks to underpin this with an explicitly anti-racist approach to policy making on race equality.
The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) was commissioned by Scottish Government to support the implementation of this review, with a focus on exploring opportunities for better practice. Comprehensive findings were reported to Scottish Government under the title Anti-racist policy making: Learning from the first 20 years of Scottish devolution.
The results of the review clearly demonstrated that, over the past twenty years of devolved race equality policy in Scotland, the same themes and priorities were present across the national strategies, reflecting the entrenched inequalities they aim to tackle. Despite this, progress has been limited. This suggests that although the focus has been in the right place, design and/or implementation has missed its mark. The way in which strategies are designed and implemented is, in many ways, just as important as their content.
This briefing report provides a small selection of highlights for strategic policy making from the 128 page review report. It concentrates on two particular aspects – anti-racist principles for effective practice and learning for specific policy areas. The content differs substantially from that of the review, as a wide range of themes and considerations had to be synthesised.
There are multiple opportunities to address the entrenched inequalities that need to be tackled in Scotland. However, in order to effectively create change, the policy making process must be carefully constructed. These considerations for future policy are therefore deliberately broad. The considerations presented here should not be regarded as set-in-stone recommendations for action, but as inspiration to inform a robust policy making process.