Attendees and apologies
- Angela O'Hagan (AOH)
- Nick Bland (NB)
- Rob Priestley (RP)
- Tom Lamplugh (TL)
- Simon Wakefield (SW)
- Michaela Martincova
- Ben Walsh (BW)
- Joanne Briggs (JB)
- Emma Congreve (EC)
- Joanna Anderson (JA)
- Sara Cowan (SC)
- Jillian Matthew (JM)
- Julia McCombie (JMcC)
- Joe Chalmers (JC)
- Naomi Clark (NC)
- Ali Hosie (AH)
- Chris Birt (CB)
- Jacqui Farmer (JF)
- Kenny Stewart (KS)
- Mirren Kelly (MK)
- David Holmes (DH)
- Tom Russon (TR)
Items and actions
Items and actions
AOH welcomed the group and outlined the meeting agenda. The meeting focus was on group engagement and consideration of the workplan. AOH gave an update on the Violence Against Women and Girls strategic review of funding report, due to be published at the start of June.
Action: Secretariat team to set up outstanding meetings on the action tracker.
Discussion on wider changes in Scottish Government
AOH acknowledged the appointment of the new First Minister as well as the Cabinet and Ministerial appointments.
Due to the publication of the First Minister’s policy prospectus on the 18 April, AOH noted that the group should consider what further engagement with SG policy areas is required to assist taking forward the groups recommendations.
RP provided an update on the responses to the EBAG 2021 recommendations and how they relate to the policy prospectus. The prospectus outlines a commitment to embed equality, inclusion, and human rights into all areas of policy within government.
The responses have been developed however the Scottish Government needs to ensure that they are practical, deliverable and resourced with the timescales for implementation. These variables in turn need to also be aligned with the changing priorities form the prospectus. It was confirmed that this should all be done before pre-budget scrutiny. SC noted that it was positive to hear that a timeline would be attached to actions coming out of the EHRBAG recommendations.
AOH welcomed the update, acknowledging the challenges of having cabinet reshuffle but also understanding of the progress that has been made. She noted the importance of reminding ministers, who have moved portfolios, about the importance of EHRBAG.
Action: Secretariat team to arrange meetings with Deputy first Minister as well as other relevant Cabinet Secretaries and/or Minsters to meet with the Chair of EHRBAG
EC noted that engaging with the new Cabinet Officials and Ministers is a good way for the group to reaffirm their priorities.
EHRBAG priorities and next steps
In relation to the policy prospectus, TL suggested that a mapping exercise across the commitments. This was backed by group members with further discussion on making the exercise meaningful. The exercise would follow budget allocation on specific policy areas across government. This would allow for better understanding on budget implications through allocation, impact, process, and procedure.
BW gave further breakdown of the exercise and how analysis of the prospectus alongside budget decisions would allow the Scottish Government to get a view of the process overall demonstrating yearly analysis of where gaps are a better overall fiscal transparency.
AOH noted that this exercise would give a better understanding of adjustments that may be needed on the workplan whilst still aligning with the EHRBAG recommendation responses. It would also help in advance of the pre-budget scrutiny period.
Action: Secretariat team to explore feasibility of EHRBAG mapping exercise across the new FM’s policy prospectus. AOH to pick up with secretariat team directly.
Review of EHRBAG workplan
Despite the updates from the policy prospectus, it was agreed that there would be no immediate change to the workplan. Group members would need to consider the value of having another session on the National Care Service in August. If this session is to happen, it would explore how budget allocations are presented. Engagement with public bodies will be fully considered from 2024.
Considerations on form and function
AOH invited members, who would like to be considered for the new role of Deputy Chair to contact the secretariat team.
Any other business
AOH mentioned the work that is being undertaken within the Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights within the Economy Directorate, where colleagues are working alongside the WiSE Centre for Economic Justice on targeted capability building. AOH will provide a further update on this at the May meeting.
EC gave an update on the work being undertaken by the Scottish Fiscal Commission noting that it would be of use to engage with them. AOH agreed to this suggestion and agreed that it would be beneficial to invite them to July’s meeting.
Action: EC to check availability of Scottish Fiscal Commission ahead of July’s meeting.
Updates from finance
BW gave an update on the budget stating the schedule has been sent to the new Deputy First Minister for consideration and the focus is outcomes related. Exchequer colleagues are working to ensure that all relevant information is available to aid the Deputy First Minister into her transition to the new role.
NB also noted that the both the new Deputy First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance have former Social Justice experience which will be valuable for their new roles. NB has scheduled engagement with the Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees next week and ensure that she is kept up to date with the ongoing work of EHRBAG.
AOH requested an update on the Equality and Fairer Scottish Budget Statement which was provided by BW. BW stated that advice is being given to the Deputy First Minister, which will reference both Equalities, and Human Rights Impact Assessments whenever budget is mentioned. BW also mentioned upcoming engagement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
BW raised that it would be good to arrange further engagement with group members to discuss preferred options, in relation to the EFSBS, over the upcoming months.
The next meeting for the Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group is on the National Strategy of Economic Transformation and is scheduled for Thursday 25 May.
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