Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group minutes: September 2022

Minutes from the group meeting held on 29 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Professor Angela O'Hagan (AOH)


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


  • Rob Priestley (RP)
  • Tom Russon (TR)
  • David Holmes (DH)
  • Dr Emma Congreve (EC)
  • Chris Birt (CB)
  • Kenny Stewart (KS)
  • Sara Cowan (SC)
  • Dr Alison Hosie (AH)
  • Nuala Gormley (NG) - update on the Emergency Budget Review


  • Julia McCombie (JMc), Scottish Government
  • Jacqueline Farmer (JF), Audit Scotland
  • Jillian Matthew (JM), Audit Scotland


  • Jamie MacDougall (JMac)
  • Simon Wakefield (SW)
  • Elisabeth Campbell (EC)
  • Tom Lamplugh (TL)
  • Dougie McLaren (DM)
  • Ben Walsh (BW)
  • Joanna Anderson (JA)
  • Mirren Kelly (MK)

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions 

AOH welcomed the group, updated on apologies and outlined the agenda.

RP provided an update on the Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group recommendations responses, noting that these were under development.

Action: RP will provide AOH a written update on Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group recommendations responses.

Membership - Confirmation on any requests to membership changes

Members were asked for feedback on a form and function paper prior to this meeting. There were no further comments from the members on the changes proposed in the paper and they were content with the feedback that they had previously provided throughout the process.

AOH updated the group that DM would be replaced with JMac in terms of membership changes. There would still be scope for DM to attend topical meetings in the future.

It was agreed that Audit Scotland would remain as observers and not members. This was due to auditing purposes.

AOH also noted that the Office of the Chief Economic Advisor had not been in attendance in recent Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group meetings. DH was previously the representative but has since moved post.

No further changes to membership were noted.

Action: Secretariat to add new Office of the Chief Economic Advisor colleagues to attendee list for future Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group meetings.

Review of Programme for Government - comments and reflections

Reflections from Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group members were discussed in relation to the most recent Programme for Government.

It was noted that members were aware that it had been reported that the focus of the Programme for Government would be in relation to the Cost of Living Crisis, however the members felt that this made it difficult to understand what was new revenue and what was already existing for other policy areas within the announcement. They agreed that it would be useful if this information would appear in the next budget review.

CB provided information about how the Scottish Parliament Information Centre broke down the Programme for Government to better understand where the £3 billion announced to help with the cost of living was broken down. Audit Scotland had also picked up these issues in their report on child poverty.

Further comments were given about how this Programme for Government was shorter than previous years. It was agreed that there was very little analysis on the impact to different groups.

Members also expressed their disappointed with the equality and human rights statements within the Programme for Government document. Comments included it: being “pretty light”, having broad commitments to Human Rights commitments but no resource attached and that there was no progressive realisation in the human rights section. Further to this, it was agreed that there was no alignment of objectives and outcomes specifically in relation to Scottish Government equality outcomes. There was concern that if this transparency is not evident at a high level within the Programme for Government document, then it is unlikely to be taking place in specific policy areas.

Queries were also raised on how the processes in the Programme for Government to the draft budget would be aligned and how much the budget would pick up or reflect changes from the Programme for Government.

Members highlighted that it was a structural weakness to not embed equality and human rights analysis in this work and that this gap needs to be addressed. It was noted that the process should be undertaken following a preventative approach, especially if the analysis is already there.

Work plan for 2023 - using Programme for Government to determine 2023 deep dives

Members discussed options for the forthcoming 2023 work plan. Specific areas are listed below (dates are provisional and may be subject to change):

National Care Service review - November 2022

Members noted that they would like to see where allocated budget is being spent within the National Care Service. They requested input from the analysts who can give insight into the statistics and data, as well as, the policy makers. The group would be interested in progress from the aspirations set out.

It was noted that it would also be good to look at the wider issues within Social Care in 2023 also.

Drug Deaths deep dive - December 2022

Members noted that they would like an update on where money, allocated before the Programme for Government, was and is being spent. They requested analysts to attend the meeting alongside the policy makers to better understand how Equality and Human Rights are being impacted in this work.

Human Rights Bill and Human Rights resourcing - January 2023

Members raised resourcing within the Scottish Government, noting in particular the need to ensure that resourcing and capacity is dedicated human rights in policy analysis and development, human rights education and training and the work on the forthcoming Human Rights Bill. It was noted that it may also be useful to invite speakers to cover on Human Rights budgeting.

Children’s rights budgeting

It was noted that children’s budgeting had been increasingly discussed within Scottish Government and an update from Aidan Flegg from the Children’s Rights Team would be welcomed.

In relation to childcare, members requested to understand where the new spend is coming from and how outcomes are being assessed and framed.

Employment, employability and child poverty

Members requested an update on the recent change to the Best Start Grant. In particular, they were keen to understand the nature of the change and the impact of it.

National Care Service update

Members noted that they would welcome the opportunity for the National Care Service team to return later in the year and to update them on the operationalising of Social Care as well as an analysis on spend and outcome.

The following rolling items were suggested for the group’s interests: Public Sector Equality Duty; mainstreaming updates; National Advisory Council on Women and Girls and National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

It would be useful to have an update on the Public Sector Equality Duty especially now that the consultation analysis has been received.

Any other business

Update on Emergency Budget Review

NG gave an overview of the forthcoming Scottish Government Emergency Budget Review with updates following the Deputy First Minister’s previous statements. Members noted the intention to publish the Emergency Budget Review on week commencing the 24 October 2022 and that there had been strong signals from the Deputy First Minister that some commitments would need to be shifted in order to meet some of the inflation-related pressures emerging in 2022.

Members noted the update and expressed concern in relation to the human rights and equalities analysis of this work

National Advisory Council on Women and Girls scrutiny process

RP provided an update on the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls recommendations around gender budgeting and putting it on a statutory footing. He informed the group that the Scottish Government had responded to the first stage of scrutiny questions and there would be an accountability day in January next year.

AOH noted that members had discussed this previously and that she had been involved in the scrutiny phase. It was noted that it would be useful for members to review this further.

Action: Secretariat to invite National Advisory Council on Women and Girls co-chairs to International Comparators session.

AOH advised the group that Northern Irish colleagues were looking for the opportunity to meet with both internal and external members of the group to discuss ‘advancing gender and human rights budgeting’. AOH undertook to get in touch directly to provide further information and arrange dates.

Action: AOH requested update from DH on the Centre of Expertise for Economy.

The next meeting for the Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group is scheduled for 27 October 2022.



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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