Since devolution, successive Scottish Governments have committed to gender and equality budgeting. Some significant advances have been made and recognised internationally. However, progress has not been even in pace or reach. With the recommendations for renewal post-COVID, the opportunity of incorporation of human rights law, the evidence base from analysis of the Scottish Budget process and considerable evidence from international practice, the parliamentary term 2021-26 is a key opportunity to advance and secure further actions to make Scotland’s budget process a key mechanism for advancing equality and securing human rights. Immediate actions on training to build knowledge and improve the quality of published equality and human rights analysis, along with making changes in the analytical tools used and collaboration across departments, need to be prioritised. Externally-facing actions on budget transparency and the publication of documentation are also priorities that align with work elsewhere within Scottish Government. Acknowledging the contribution of EBAG in driving change, along with the EFSBS – unique within the UK – and resourcing EBAG and analytical support to sustain momentum are also essential in delivering the recommendations in this plan.
These recommendations represent the deliberation of external members of EBAG and the insight and contributions of a range of Scottish Government officials. Our primary request is that the Scottish Government now takes these recommendations and produces an action plan to drive forward our shared ambition to advance equality and realise human rights. I commend this report to ministers and look forward to supporting its implementation.
Independent Chair of the Equality Budget Advisory Group