Organisation and culture
Feedback on the process of producing the EFSBS suggests that insufficient staff time is allocated for assessing the equalities and human rights impacts of policy and budgeting decisions; that this work is not always seen as a priority; and that in some instances it is considered an added burden rather than an essential tool for improving policymaking and ensuring fair and effective use of public money. The new strategy on mainstreaming equalities and human rights across government is an opportunity to restate the requirements for equalities and human rights analysis to be supported, and for integration to be implemented by management.
Ministerial and parliamentary commitment to open budgets and to equalities and human rights budgeting are essential to supporting the allocation of more resources and higher priority to this work within Scottish Government. Improved parliamentary scrutiny will be required if progress is to be made and sustained.
Senior civil servants should take a personal responsibility in scrutinising key new budget commitments in terms of equality and human rights as part of core governance processes, including that:
23. Senior officials should prioritise and allocate adequate staff time to be trained on, and to undertake robust equality and human rights analysis of both policy and budgets.
24. Equality and human rights responsibilities should be clearly articulated within performance management systems for all staff.
25. Finance, policy and analyst staff should be supported by senior officials to work closely together to produce equalities and human rights analysis of spend, and processes are established to facilitate this joint working.
26. Cross-portfolio working must become the norm in tackling inequalities and promoting human rights in relation to formulating policy and spending commitments.
27. Ministers’ own awareness and commitment to routinely request analysis of how proposed budgets would impact on equalities and human rights, and how to take this analysis into account when making final decisions on budget allocations, should be increased at portfolio level and across Cabinet. Ministerial training should be considered.