Cross Justice Working Group on Race and Workforce: progress report

Progress report from short life working group set up to provide a strategic and cohesive approach to tackling barriers to employment across the justice system and to support cross system learning.

Annex E: Past and current initiatives undertaken within the Justice Sector

Police Scotland

Police Scotland has developed an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (Employment) Framework which is based on engagement sessions with key stakeholders including representatives from People and Development (P&D), diversity staff associations and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

The Framework aligns to the PSoS People Strategy – Empower, Enable and Develop Our People (2018-2021) which has EDI employment considerations mainstreamed into the Strategy and the supporting delivery plans.

The Framework sets out how the organisation should deliver its business and the parameters within which decisions can be made. Fundamentally it sets out the organisational commitment towards an inclusive culture that attracts, develops and retains a diverse and representative workforce.

The employment focused Joint Equality Outcomes for Policing (5-8) were developed to align with and support the delivery of the EDI Employment Framework.

The Framework was approved by Police Scotland's Strategic Leadership Board in December 2020 and progressed through the SPA People Committee in May 2021.

The delivery of this framework is being supported by work that is ongoing to mainstream relevant actions into all levels of Police Scotland's planning activity including the Annual Policing Plan, DCC/DCO Delivery Plans, Divisional/Departmental Annual Delivery Plans, Local People Plans and Diversity Action Plans, which are being developed.

The Diversity Action Plans are being developed through 'Talk Truth to Power' sessions with diversity staff associations. In these sessions attendees are invited to openly discuss their personal experiences in a safe space and to express what action they feel could support the organisation in creating a more inclusive culture. The approach is to listen first and act second; to understand the experiences of people who are facing barriers in the organisation and to develop plans setting out specific actions Police Scotland will take to address concerns and deliver its' inclusion agenda.

In addition, Police Scotland have many on-going initiatives and activities to further support the recruitment, retention and development of a diverse and representative workforce:

The Positive Action Team (PAT) form part of Police Scotland's People and Development, Recruitment Department where it plays a key role in attracting under-represented groups to join the police service. The PAT's original remit was exclusively to promote the organisation to those from an ethnic minority background; however the team now support recruitment across other protected characteristics. One of a number of events held by the PAT is the flagship race diversity event; the 'Introduction to Policing Programme.' It is designed to support members of minority ethnic communities learn more about policing through awareness events and on-going support through the recruitment process.

Furthermore work is on-going to undertake a full review of the Standard Entrance Test (SET) with a view to reducing any adverse impact on minority ethnic candidates, particularly those for whom English is not their first language. The review is being led by an external provider who are leaders in educational and occupational assessments. The revised SET is currently in the testing phase.

A number of training and development programmes are being designed and piloted by Police Scotland. One such programme is the RISE Programme (Raise, Improve, Support and Empower). It was designed by Leadership, Training and Development (LTD) to support 15 BME females from various ranks and roles across policing. The programme included Clarity 4D assessments for all participants, support and coaching from leadership and talent specialists and bespoke CPD sessions. The programme pilot concluded on 31 March 2021 and it is being formally evaluated with a view to further role out.

Senior Leadership Programmes are also being developed, Your Leadership Matters' launched on the 12 April 2021 for superintendent and staff equivalent roles across Police Scotland and SPA. EDI is a key theme throughout the 3-month programme. The programme recently concluded and will be evaluated with a view to providing similar programmes in future.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) aspires to have a workforce which is representative of the people and communities of Scotland that we serve and this is reflected in the Fire & Rescue Framework for Scotland 2016 and SFRS Strategic Plan 2019-22.

Underpinning this strategic corporate commitment is the SFRS Balancing the Workforce Strategy and Action Plan.

The Balancing the Workforce Action Plan outlines the benefits of diversifying the workforce and details the priorities and actions the Service is currently taking to address the underrepresentation of minority groups and women in the workforce. Actions being implemented include targeted campaigning and open days tailored to specific community groups including ethnic minority communities.

SFRS's Equality and Diversity Charter sets out the strategic direction for mainstreaming equality, including race equality into governance and culture, service provision and employment practice.

SFRS works closely with its partner organisation the Asian Fire Service Association to raise awareness of issues specific to ethnic minority communities including intersectionality between race and other characteristics such as sexual orientation and mental health. Our senior leadership Equality Champions for Race complement our education and engagement activities by providing visible senior management commitment to our equality priorities.

SFRS shares the Scottish Government's ambitions for an inclusive economy and equality of employment opportunity for all. This Strategy supports the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework and National Outcomes.

Scottish Prison Service

We have continued our commitment to equality and diversity through activities being taken forward under the Public Sector Equality Duties, seeking to tackle and eliminate all forms of discrimination against SPS' staff and those in custody, including multiple and intersectional discrimination and racial discrimination against people of colour. We have published our commitment through both our Equality Outcomes, and through the development of our 2020 – 2023 Diversity Action Plan, which forms the framework for all our diversity activities.

Our Corporate Plan took forward our commitment to Equality and Human Rights stating "Underpinning everything that we do, is our commitment to fulfilling and, where possible, going beyond our obligations under Equality and Human Rights legislation, both as an employer and as a public sector service provider. We place the needs and rights of those who work for us, those in our care and their victims at the centre of our policies and practices. In doing so we aim to create an inclusive environment which, through accessible communication, empowers individuals to participate in and shape the decisions which affect them".

We continue to take opportunities to challenge recruitment and selection bias, and have taken steps, including the removal of minimal qualification requirements where unnecessary, to reduce potential barriers to recruitment. In 2021 we introduced external recruitment routes to our middle operational management roles, and a review of the associated activities within this campaign will be undertaken to ensure the selection processes used, as far as possible, removed any barriers to attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce.

All new and revised SPS policies continue to be subject to an Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment (EHRIA) prior to implementation, ensuring we meet the statutory duties imposed under the Equality Act 2010, by assessing if any new or revised policy may have a differential impact on a particular protected characteristic in relation to equality, diversity and human rights.

Employees leaving SPS are offered the opportunity to participate in the organisational exit interview process, providing us with feedback on the employee experience of working for SPS, enabling the organisation to build their understanding of the lived experiences of employees.

We continue to support the mental wellbeing of our employees, and we have published our employee Health and Well-being plan, encompassing a wide range of actions to support positive mental health, improve wellbeing and tackle stigma associated with mental health. A key deliverable under our plan was the creation of a new employee Attendance Management policy, and this was launched in April 2021.

We have committed to increasing the completion rates of employees providing their diversity monitoring information, and we will explore the ability to export candidate information from our electronic system (ATS) into our HR system (e-HR) as part of the HR Digital Transformation work.

To assist our understanding of the barriers to entry and progression for specific groups within society, we have encouraged our staff to participate in the research being undertaken by the Cross Justice Working Group, and feedback from that research will inform the diversity actions we will take forward.

Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service

COPFS created the Equality Ambassador role in 2012 which has now grown to over 50 ambassadors. COPFS equality ambassadors are volunteers from across our workforce who represent the protected characteristics within the Equality Act (2010) Ambassadors are a source of support for our employees. They are also responsible for engaging with external groups across the country, providing our employees with guidance when dealing with victims and witnesses, raising awareness and providing expert advice on issues relating to cases involving those who have a protected characteristic. They also are part of our two-way mentoring programme, which matches up staff with leaders in COPFS.

There are six Equality Ambassadors for race, including ambassadors with a specific interest in race and how it intersects with other protected characteristics, including dyslexia, gender and LGBT issues.

Two-way Mentoring Programme

Each of the COPFS ambassadors has been provided with the opportunity to engage in a two-way mentoring programme, commenced in 2018, whereby they are partnered with a senior member of staff. This programme was developed to increase senior staff awareness of protected characteristics whilst the ambassadors receive senior staff mentoring for their future development. We have formally captured feedback on the programme with 100% of the participants stating that the programme is worthwhile and thought provoking and that their knowledge of equality matters had increased as a result of participation. Each participant also stated they would recommend the programme to another colleague. Plans are in place to further roll out this programme to a wider pool of senior managers.

The ambassadors have also created an internal video that explains the two-way mentoring programme.

COPFS has been a member since 2012 and in 2014 won awards for Representative Workforce, Inclusive Communications, Inclusive Recruitment and the Equalities and Inclusion Champion of the Year Award for our staff member who set up our Proud in COPFS Staff Network. In 2020 COPFS completed their TIDE (Talent Inclusion & Diversity Evaluation) benchmarking questionnaire and achieved a Bronze award.

The TIDE mark allows an organisation to measure progress in equality, diversity, and inclusion both year on year and in comparison, with their peers. We were 2nd ranked within the legal sector. Plans are already in progress to complete the TIDE mark in 2021 so that we assess how we have performed during a year where the majority of our staff have worked from home.

To quote from the enei TIDE mark:

"Full inclusion is a temporary state few organisations will ever achieve. However, the best recognise this and understand that a drive for continuous improvement is in the best interest of the organisation, their employees and stakeholders."

Law Society of Scotland

Past (and ongoing) initiatives

  • We have supported the Scottish Ethnic Minority Lawyers' Association since before it formally came into being (i.e. we met with one of the founders prior to launch). We have hosted their events, promote their events, suggest speakers for events, and our staff team and office-bearers routinely speak at events.
  • We have supported Fair Justice System For Scotland for a number of years and staff and office-bearers have spoken at their events which we also promote to our membership.
  • We have represented individuals and groups of members when it comes to matters of equality within the justice sector. This includes Baptised Sikh members not being able to enter certain premises with a Kirpan. We worked with stakeholders to find a positive way forward.
  • We have held a focus group (and also ingathered some evidence from people who were keen to attend but could not do so in person) with law students, trainees and newly qualified solicitors from a BAME background to learn about their experiences of the route to qualification. An article about this work is here (a follow-up building on this by one of our members, Rupa Mooker of MacRoberts, was published yesterday).
  • Since the publication of our last major census of the profession 'Profile of the Profession' in late 2018 we have met with nearly 1,000 solicitors by offering CPD and direct meetings about equality always including a focus on race.
  • In 2019/20, we worked closely with the Scottish Government as they hosted three roundtables of members on areas of diversity in the legal profession. Each meeting was chaired by Ash Denham MSP, the Minister for Community Safety. The first related to gender & sexual orientation and the last one on widening access. The middle roundtable, however, focused on ethnicity, race and religion.
  • We have recently built in unconscious bias training to the Practice Management Course – the mandatory course that all new partners must undertake. This will continue going forward.
  • We have a commercial tie-up with Rare Recruitment. This is a software system that contextualises recruitment processes for traineeships. More information can be found here. A small number of firms took part last year via our tie-up – this gets them access to Rare's software for a much cheaper price than they would otherwise get. We know that via our tie-up or separately over 20% of traineeships in Scotland use this software.
  • Rare contextualises the achievement of all candidates. It is quite clear though from feedback from participating firms that this leads to a greater diversity of applicant, interviewee, and successful candidates. This will benefit future trainees from BAME backgrounds and, also, white future trainees from less advantaged backgrounds.
  • We operate an inclusion calendar highlighting important festivals, events and celebrations. This has included video campaigns for Eid, Diwali, and Bandi Chhor Divas; a series of blogs for Black History Month, Rosh Hashanah, and Chinese New Year. We also held an Eid lunch earlier in 2021.


  • We run a role models campaign called ''One profession, many journeys'. These cover people from various backgrounds including one LGBTQ+ solicitor; one care-experienced trainee; a Sikh solicitor; a disabled solicitor; and a solicitor who has become a partner at a large firm having been the first in her family to go to university. We intend to add to this in early course.
  • Our wider Careers & Outreach work necessarily covers a wider remit that simply careers advice. Many of the schools we work with via our Street Law (which is Scotland's largest public legal education programme) have higher than average populations of BAME pupils.
  • In 2020, we hosted a ''Celebrating Inclusion'' law fair. This brought together students from all of Scotland's LLB providers and many law firms. We also ensured that all of the major organisations with an interest in equality (e.g SEMLA, Women in Law Scotland, the Glass Network etc) had time to speak to the law students.
  • The LawScot Foundation is a charity we established which gives grants, and provides mentors, for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are working with small numbers at this stage (25 total grants) but over 20% of those who have received monies from the Foundation are from a BAME background.
  • Last year we collated diversity data for the first time at practising certificate renewal. The biggest change we will make this year is at PC renewal September through October. This is the process where members renew their practising certificate. We now know that at least 3.38% of our membership are from a BAME background and for solicitors under the age of 30 this is 6.9%. This information is available on our website and may well be useful to many in the sector as a benchmarking tool.
  • We have recently met with Black Professionals Scotland and hope to host an event with them in early course.
  • To better understand the experience of our BAME members we have established a Racial Inclusion Group. They are undertaking a literature review, discussions with members and future members, and speaking to justice sector stakeholders. The group will report its findings later in the year.

Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service

SCTS has an Equalities Outcomes Action Plan 2019 – 2023 which currently includes the following equality outcomes:

We will promote awareness and understanding of equality and diversity within our organisation by:

  • promoting the value of submitting and collecting appropriate equality monitoring data;
  • introducing Inclusion Ambassadors with specialist knowledge of the protected characteristics;
  • supporting and developing the function of the SCTS Staff Equality Engagement Network (SEEN);
  • offering awareness sessions for members of our staff and introducing bespoke e-learning;
  • introducing a Reverse Mentoring scheme.

We will improve the accessibility of our services by:

  • creating a bespoke page on our website that deals entirely with accessibility information and guidance;
  • scoping the use of online interpreting and support services at public counters to facilitate ad hoc general enquiries, payment of financial penalties etc
  • promoting use of online support services e.g. the Next Generation Text Service, 'contactSCOTLAND-BSL' and telephone interpreting, by updating our website pages and raising awareness among members of SCTS staff;
  • implementing recommendations from the Enabling Jury Service Report
  • working with other justice agencies to increase the pool of qualified and suitably experienced BSL/English and deaf/blind interpreters working in the justice system.

We will improve accessibility to our employment by:

  • engaging with a variety of local communities in order to raise awareness of the critical role the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service plays in the justice system;
  • introducing the SCTS Recruitment and Resourcing Strategy with a particular focus on developing SCTS as a socially inclusive employer;
  • improving accessibility to the recruitment section of our website;
  • introducing an inclusive work placement scheme in order to assist people to gain work experience; and in preparation for same to raise associated.

Scottish Legal Aid Board

SLAB's current equality outcomes for 2021-23 include:

1. People with disabilities and people who speak languages other than English can access our services and funding of appropriate communication support with ease

2. SLAB gathers and uses equality data to inform our policies and improve our services

3. SLAB employees maintain good mental and physical health during the covid-19 pandemic and recovery phase.

Within our Equality Outcomes Plan 2021-23 SLAB stated the following in relation to Race Equality: In November 2020 the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee published a report on its Race Equality, Employment and Skills inquiry. Although the timing of the inquiry report and SLAB's strategic planning has not aligned, SLAB is able to commit to three actions that we believe will help us to set more concrete outcomes in 2023. The actions we will take include:

  • We will review our recruitment procedures and practice using the Scottish Government's recruitment toolkit designed to support employers to better recruit more people from minority ethnic backgrounds and make the necessary changes.
  • We have already committed to a review of our people related policies and our recruitment policy has been identified as a priority. We will use the Scottish Government's toolkit to inform this review. Priority policies will be reviewed over an initial two year period and by early 2023.
  • Our review of our people related policies and setting of measures to better understand the equality impact of those policies will inform future action and outcomes to achieve race equality.
  • This work will lead to improved measurement of the impact of our policies that we will use to inform future employee equality outcomes. We will deliver this through our equality impact assessment process which includes race equality. As noted above, priority policies will be reviewed over an initial two year period and by early 2023.
  • We will voluntarily record and publish our ethnicity pay gap and produce an action plan to deliver identified outcomes.
  • We currently monitor our ethnicity pay gap and will publish this with our next equality outcomes report in April 2023. Alongside this we will identify outcomes we can take as appropriate.
  • As well as being involved in the Cross Justice Working Group on Race and Workforce, SLAB is also involved in the Cross Justice System Working Group on Race Data and Evidence which aims to improve data collection and the analysis of this data in understanding the experience of different ethnic groups within the Justice system.

Community Justice Scotland

CJS is currently running three projects; Diversity and Inclusion, EQHRIA and Performance Management, all of these projects aim to increase CJS awareness, understanding and deliver on changes to encourage a more diverse and inclusive organisation.

Background: CJS workforce could be more diverse, as an organisation we need to work to understand the reasons behind this and identify what else we should be doing across all aspects of the business. CJS is a very small organisation with less than 40 employees, we have been steadily growing since being established in 2017. CJS is committed to being representative of the community we serve and while we are representative across other protected characteristics, we are not where we would like to be in terms of race diversity. The projects will enable CJS to understand the reasons behind this and identify what we can do better, we would like to identify what the barrier are and make changes to remove these.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Project aims are:

1. The D&I Project would seek to understand what are the current barriers for D&I within CJS processes, particularly focused on; Recruitment; attracting candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds to apply for posts, application and interview, selection phases.

2. Identify internally what CJS could do more of to be more inclusive and encourage diversity; Particularly; internal support mechanisms, reviewing of internal policies and procedures and aligning these with our D&I policy and People Strategy, identify possibilities for D&I groups/networks who promote diversity across the organisation to grow awareness, to identify gaps and where relevant make recommendations for improvement.

3. Create a CJS D&I pledge.


1. Recommendations paper for recruitment and selection processes.

2. Recommendations paper for internal networks and support mechanisms.

3. A D&I pledge, with smart objectives.

The above project will have crossovers with establishing a new EQHRIA process, and developing a new way to manage performance internally. CJS hopes to deliver on all three projects 2021 – 2022.



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