Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group minutes: May 2023

Minutes of the group meeting held on 25 May 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Angela O'Hagan (AOH)


  • Naomi Clark (NC)
  • Joe Chalmers (JC)


  • David Holmes (DH)
  • Aidan Grisewood (AG)


  • Rob Priestley (RP)
  • Simon Wakefield (SW)
  • Tom Lamplugh (TL)
  • Ben Walsh (BW)
  • Misa Martincova (MM)
  • Joanne Briggs (JB)
  • Sara Cowan (SC)
  • Ali Hosie (AH)
  • Kenny Stewart (KS)
  • Emma Congreve (EC)


  • Julia McCombie (JMcC)
  • Jillian Matthew (JM)
  • Jacqueline Farmer (JF)


  • Chris Birt (CB)

Welcome and introductions

AOH introduced the session and speakers AG and DH to the group.

Presentation on National Strategy for Economic Transformation

AG delivered a presentation on the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET) under the following themes.


The NSET has established a governance structure and a project portfolio management process with delivery partners and stakeholders in order to produce delivery plans.

Key achievements to date

The NSET has introduced:

Policy Prospectus Outcomes and NSET programmes

The key portfolios from an NSET perspective are:

  • Wellbeing Economy
  • Fair Work and Energy
  • Education and Skills
  • Social Justice

Next steps

The annual report for NSET is due to be published in June and delivery plans will be updated in Autumn. The updates to delivery plans will better reflect the immediate outcomes of the Policy Prospectus published in April.

Pathways: a new approach for women in entrepreneurship

Published in February 2023, the report by Ana Stewart and Mark Logan was an independent review of women in entrepreneurship. Critical findings from the report showed that 1 out of 5 Scottish entrepreneurs were women yet only 2% of institutional investment goes to women-led companies. The report has made 31 recommendations aimed at closing the gender gap in business participation.

Equality Impact Assessments (EQIA)

EQIAs for NSET and its six programmes were published alongside the delivery plans in October 2022.

Presentation on Centres of Expertise

DH delivered a presentation on the Economy Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights (CoE) under the following themes.

Key workstreams

The key workstreams for the centre are:

  • internal infrastructure
  • impact assessment improvement
  • strengthening the evidence base
  • upskilling officials and building capacity
  • working with external experts

Progress so far

The Centre has had full time resource allocated since January 2023. Progress so far includes establishing the CoE’s internal infrastructure, publishing equality impact assessments for the NSET alongside the delivery plan, and delivering foundation training.

Future development and ambition

The ambition of the centre is to:

Measuring progress

Progress in the CoE will be measured both:

  • directly – through activity and participation, feedback from surveys of policy officials, and the quality of equality impact assessments across NSET programmes
  • indirectly – through changes in broader indicators such as those in the equality evidence finder, programme/project impacts, and National Performance Framework indicators

Questions from the group

1. How will the NSET ensure that EQIAs at project and programme level inform relevant decision making going forward and avoid post-hoc analysis being conducted?

Evidence and analysis have supported NSET from the start. Since, by definition the NSET is broad, further exploring specific aspects will help with the iteration of delivery plans. EQIAs will be undertaken on specific policies as they are taken forward. Officials acknowledge the need for improvement in the EQIA process and tools, and that further analysis will inform the revision of delivery plans in the autumn.

2. In relation to pay gaps, gender and disability were mentioned, has there been any focus on minority ethnic groups?

Whilst not mentioned in the presentation, there is an anti-racist employment strategy that was published in December 2022. Key findings from this document were that there is an 11% employment gap between minority ethic groups and white groups across Scotland. The strategy outlines how Scotland aims to be a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025.

3. Stakeholders at the time raised the need for the care sector to be properly reflected in NSET, is this being addressed in reviews?

There is an element in relation to labour participation through care as well as health. This is through child care and enabling people to work. Social care applies here as well.

4. Is there good attendance from officials across government in the training being delivered?

There has been good participation through the policy network, as well as training sessions, with over 90 officials at the first training session and more than 70 at the most recent. As well as this, the Centre has approached policy areas directly at significant stages in their policy development work to arrange specific sessions.

Action: DH to contact SC in relation to feedback on EQIAs

Action: DH to contact AH in relation to open budget survey research

5. How has the strategy itself stood up and/or assisted in response to the cost of living crisis?

Part of the work in relation to cost of living crisis, was to focus on what we can prioritise currently to support business and households. The focus from an NSET perspective was on longer term economic transformation, such as economic resilience.

Any other business

AOH advised the group that Officials would be meeting to discuss the proposed mapping exercise next week with a team directly working on the Policy Prospectus and gave an overview of the areas that are being explored to strengthen the group’s input to the current direction of travel.

Finance update

BW provided an update on the budget focusing on the Medium Term Financial Strategy that was published during this meeting. In relation to the Equality and Fairer Scottish Budget Statement, BW advised the group that they would be seeking feedback over the next few weeks from the group on developed options of direction.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 15 June 2023 on Childrens Rights Budgeting.



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Equality and Budget Advisory Group
Scottish Government
Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit
Area 3H North
Victoria Quay

Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group

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