New commitments and their intended outcomes should be developed on the basis of advancing equality and human rights, as well as assessed for their consistency with the PfG, NPF and other targets.
Scottish Government should produce a pre-budget statement, in-year reports and a mid-year review in line with international standards. The pre-budget statement should disclose the broad parameters of fiscal policies in advance of the Executive’s Budget Proposal. It should outline the government’s economic forecast, anticipated revenue, expenditures, and debt. In-year reports should include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals, and be issued twice yearly. These should also report the equality and human rights impacts of in-year budgeting allocations or adjustments. The mid-year review should be a comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget, and include a review of economic assumptions and an updated forecast of budget outcomes. These recommendations are consistent with both the Budget Process Review Group report, and the commitments in the Open Government Action Plan.
Improve transparency and public participation in the budget process through the consistent publication of a Citizens’ Budget and an easy read version of each of the key budget documents.
Members of the Executive Team, and senior Scottish Government officials, should deliver clear direction and communication on ensuring equality and human rights objectives and analysis are clearly evidenced and articulated in policy development, and ensure that time and other resources are protected to fulfil impact assessments and other policy analysis to inform policy, spend and revenue decisions.
Organisation and culture
Finance, policy and analyst staff work closely together to produce equalities and human rights analysis of spend, and processes are established to facilitate this joint working.
Knowledge and understanding
Invest in building knowledge and capacity on understanding equality evidence and human rights international standards in order to improve equality and human rights assessment and evaluation of outcomes.
Retain EBAG with an expanded/re-worked name to reflect the drive for equality and human rights budgeting, confirm a set of Terms of Reference for EBAG, and the continuation of the role of independent chair.