5. Background to Equality and Fairer Scotland considerations for Test & Protect
In the decisions that the Scottish Government makes, it must consider how they meet the three needs of the public sector equality duty. There is also a requirement under the Fairer Scotland Duty (which forms part of the Equality Act 2010) to actively consider ('pay due regard' to) how to reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage. In order to address those needs and requirements, and to fulfil our legal duties, we have sought to assess impacts across the range of protected characteristics and socio-economic disadvantage as specified in the Equality Act 2010 based upon existing and developing evidence.
"We recognise that the response to Covid-19 itself is likely to have a disproportionate impact on low-income households, with the ask to self-isolate being a specific challenge. We considered the effect of Test and Protect on people with one or more of the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010."
Given the importance of fulfilling this duty, between August – March 2021, we worked to consider the measures against the needs of the general equality duty as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010:
to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
We have also considered whether the measures could constitute direct and/or indirect discrimination and has balanced this against the need to minimise the harm to public health caused by Covid-19.
Specifically, the EQIA assesses any impacts of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the needs relevant to a public authority's duty to meet the public sector equality duty.
The needs are to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
- Advance equality of opportunity; and
- Foster good relations
In addition the Fairer Scotland Duty Impact Assessment considers how we can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage when making strategic decisions about Test and Protect.