Equality Budget Advisory Group minutes: June 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 23 June 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Professor Angela O'Hagan (Chair)
  • Trevor Owen, Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit, SG
  • Kerrie McCrae-Morton, Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit, SG
  • Aiden Flegg, Children’s Rights Unit, SG
  • Alison Hosie, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Carol Brown, Social Care Analysis Unit, SG
  • Fiona Bennett, Social Care and NCS Finance Unit, SG
  • Gerard Hanlon, Social Care and NCS Finance, SG
  • Judith Telford, NCS, Local Structures and Rights, SG
  • Lawrence Mearns, Children’s Rights Unit, SG
  • Sharon McGuire, SCNCSD-Improving Standards and Quality- Carer Unit, SG
  • Tom Lamplugh, Social Policy Unit, SG
  • Vinita Narayan, Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit, SG
  • Emma Congreve, Fraser of Allander Institute
  • Kenny Stewart, EHRC
  • Mirren Kelly, COSLA
  • Sara Cowan, SWBG

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions

The Chair introduced the meeting and outlined the Agenda.

National Care Service

The Chair handed over to Judith who gave an overview of the human rights based approach (HRBA) taken to design the National Care Service (NCS). She explained that the Bill was laid in Parliament week beginning 20th June 2022.

Judith explained the main objectives of the NCS for which they are developing a programme of work to mainstream equality and human rights. This includes improving capability amongst officials to apply a HRBA, establishing support and leadership structures and facilitating engagement with equality and human rights stakeholders. She also explained that the Bill is a framework Bill which will enable local solutions to be delivered so that best outcomes can be delivered in terms of access and support. Investment in care is increasing by 25% over the lifetime of this parliament which is equivalent to more than £840 million of increased investment.

The Chair said that it is a complex area but it is very encouraging to see the work done so far. It is also good to see that scrutiny is being built into the Bill.

Other points raised by the group were –

  • it’s very difficult to understand the financial position and where funding has gone to social care. Is some of it already in budget lines or not? Impossible to find the right information. On the Financial Memorandum there needs to be more information on how much money will be spent on setting up the NCS and how much will go into services. What will the process be for this and what are the plans for this after the legislation?
  • it may come out in the business case but there was a commitment to do the opportunity cost assessment and what the investment will be in investing in services now compared to a new service. When will we see this?
  • again, it may be too early but what kind of processes will there be to support the scrutiny and monitoring of the realisation of rights in services and processes?
  • it is good to see the range of publications and their accessibility
  • on unpaid carers, where do the assumptions of the levels of unpaid care come from and the data on the level of unpaid carers that will be left in the system?

On the first point, the NCS team said they would be happy to pick this up in more detailed conversation at a later time. In regards to the £840 million increase this will be mainly through local government spending (over £500 million). The Financial Memorandum was difficult as it’s an enabling Bill. It will be difficult to cost the service at the moment but the Team has tried to include as much as possible and potential costs that the Bill would intend to introduce. It’s not a catch all of how much social care spending will be. Wider analysis will come through in the programme business case which will be published late summer. The team expect the costs will be different from those in the Financial Memorandum as we go into more detail and do more of the co-design work.


NCS Team to pick up with Emma on specific costings of NCS.

The opportunity costs will come out in the business case. The team don’t have the data or time to do this at a very granular detail but will set out some of the different options. The Financial Memorandum does set out some of the costs of current social care at the moment.

On scrutiny and monitoring, the team want to build on a wider equality and human rights monitoring system which is tied into the range of data available. They are working with equality data colleagues on this and will be thinking about this in the NCS Charter, similar to the social security charter. There will be a real focus on continuous improvement and we see this as the beginning of the process and how they’ll monitor progress.

In addition to this, it’s clear that the team will need to assess the benefits of the NCS and think about how this is done. Work is ongoing around improving equality data and there is a big strand of work going on to improve social care data. This will firstly look at care home data then build from there. They are still mapping the data but will be looking at what is needed from this. Also working with the ONS on the inclusive data task force and data of care homes. Need work done on lived experience data and will be looking at how to make improvements here. Finally, they are working with public health Scotland and linking in on their equality data work.

Finally, there is some work going on around how to make a real difference to the lives of unpaid carers and reducing the numbers of them as part of the NCS work. There is currently £8 million set out to allow for unpaid carers to have breaks.

The Team also provided the following information -

The Chair thanked everyone for the contributions and said that it would be good for the group to think collectively about the data gaps for unpaid carers. It would also be good for the Secretariat to schedule a follow up conversation beginning 2023 so as to understand the co-design process and the equality and human rights being built into the design and implementation for the NCS.


Follow up meeting to be planned for early 2023 on NCS.

Child Rights Budgeting

Lawrence and Aiden discussed Children’s Rights budgeting and the work they are planning on this. They emphasised  that Section 11 commits SG to set up a scheme on Children’s right which will include budgeting. The children’s rights are separate from the Human rights bill but working closely together.

The group thanked Lawrence and Aiden for their contributions and had the following thoughts

  • the approach to child rights budgeting is different to equality budgeting as there is the legislative push behind it. It would be good to have someone from child rights budgeting on EBAG and EBAGs focus on child poverty would link into this
  • it is good to see grounded knowledge of rights and why this needs to be done. What do the team see as the main priorities for implementing child rights budgeting?
  • the group want to learn from the process that the child rights team are doing and noted that their work is so parallel to the EBAG recommendations. It would be good to have a conversation between the Secretariat, Angela and Lawrence how they can be more involved in EBAG work

Aiden and Lawrence thanked the group for their feedback and questions. They noted the need to have greater transparency and accessibility in terms of impact analysis. There is a need to understand the impacts of resource but this is not an easy process and we need to know what is and isn’t available in terms of data to help this and how detailed this information is. It is also important to recognise that this is an iterative process. There will be annual reporting on how we are progressing childrens’ rights and the team will be engaging children and young people as well as human rights commission on this. 

Trevor praised Aiden and Lawrence and said there is a focus and ambition between them which is good. Trevor mentioned that the priority matters in the policy process which explores PSED and mentioned EBAG can suggest scrutiny. Ben said that they too would take forward conversations with the child rights team.


Secretariat to organise meeting with child rights team and Chair.

Secretariat to work with Angela to think about how child rights budgeting can be integrated into EBAG work.

Form and function

Trevor presented the Form and Function paper to the Group. The Chair said that she would send through some comments on specific points in the paper.

Other members made the following comments

  • the group want to get more information as to how decisions are made and how equality and human rights evidence feeds into that. Also on the bullet for PSED, not sure we need to have PSED in explicit remit. EBAG have engaged in that quite well and are more interested in how PSED should lead to better analysis and impact assessments
  • there is a need to think about what the feedback loop is to follow actions from the group’s recommendations and how decisions have been made differently following engagement with EBAG. This should be included in the paper
  • EBAG already has quite a broad remit and wonder whether the group can look at how we focus existing remit a bit more. Also, it would be interesting to look at the use of framework bills and what the impact of this is on scrutinising the work as there are concerns around the use of them
  • the group want to move to scrutinising the process of how SG emphasises to delivery partners the need to act and monitor how public finance is working towards the realisation of equality and human rights

Trevor thanked members for their input. He noted that we want to be clear in prioritising the policy processes that EBAG want to engage with but will look at redrafting this specific line in the paper. On PSED, we just want it to be explicit in how the budget furthers equality. Need to think about EBAGs work plan for the next year and will pick this up with the Chair.


Group to send written comments to Secretariat

Secretariat to follow up with Chair on Form and Function.

Any other business

Trevor updated the group on staffing changes and that he would be moving to the Human Rights Bill Team and Rob Priestly will take over his post. The Chair anticipate that Trevor will still be heavily involved with EBAG given the group’s thoughts on framework bills and thanked him for his work on EBAG.

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