Annex A: Mainstreaming Equality in Scottish Government Agencies
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2019 - Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA)
1. In business year 2017-18 the Scottish Public Pensions Agency continued to ensure we are building a diverse and inclusive culture within our Agency. In support of this commitment:
Learning and Development
2. All staff are required to undertake mandatory training on 'Equality and Diversity' and 'Unconscious Bias'. The Agency have also offered awareness sessions on Disability, Dementia, Mental Wellbeing and Building Personal Resilience.
3. In June 2018, the Agency was awarded the Investors in People - 'Health and Wellbeing Award'. The Award focuses on the Standard's foundations of Leading, Supporting and Improving people, as well as assessing the Agency against three additional constructs of Physical, Psychological and Social Wellbeing. We have trained our own Mental Health First aiders and completed significant training on Mental Health Awareness within the Agency to support both individuals on a personal level and our managers.
4. The Agency continues to offer Modern Apprenticeship opportunities as well as working collaboratively with our colleagues at 'Developing Young Workforce' to support both pupil and student placements. Through this initiative we attend local school career events throughout the year reflecting our commitment to supporting our local community.
5. As part of our Agency Target Operating Model project we will look at the impact the project will have on our people, in particular colleagues who are on alternative working patterns and our part-time workers.
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2019 - Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB)
1. Learning, Development and Performance Management: Fairness at Work sessions are included as a mandatory part of all inductions. A series of staff awareness seminars is delivered every year. Since April 2017, topics have included mindfulness, carers support awareness and guide dogs awareness. Further training included an awareness session on Corporate Parenting. This session's aims included the raising of awareness about what it means to be care experienced through listening to the voices of care experienced people. It also increased the knowledge and understanding of the agency's role as a corporate parent and helped to identify areas to improve corporate parenting and collaboration with other organisations.
2. Two Equality and Diversity Sessions were also delivered. These reinforced the Scottish Government's Fairness at Work policy and looked at other topics raised by staff e.g. political correctness and #MeToo. A selection interviewing training session was also delivered and as part of the training all attendees had to complete Unconscious Bias training. This training helps participants to understand unconscious bias and how it affects attitudes, behaviours and decision-making. To provide support to members of staff who regularly deal with vulnerable customers and threats of violence or suicide, the agency also invested in the delivery of Mental Health First Aid Training and Resilience Training.
3. As the agency develops its policies, we consider the impact that it will have on people. AiB carries out Equality Impact Assessments which helps us consider equality issues, in particular the impact and barriers on people who share 'protected characteristics' i.e. age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race and religion or belief. Each assessment is unique to each policy.
4. At present, the agency asks applicants applying for bankruptcy a range of diversity questions to help us consider the impact of our policies. The agency is currently reviewing the information it collates with a view to introducing a consistent approach across all available statutory debt solutions.
Equality consideration in decision making:
5. The standard template for all AiB committee meeting papers includes a section to detail potential equality or diversity implications of proposed recommendations or changes to process. This ensures that equality issues are considered and recorded for all decisions, not just those subject to full equality impact assessments.
6. In line with legislative requirements, AiB has recently published its Corporate Parenting Plan. The agency also has a vulnerable person policy. The agency deals with people who are experiencing financial difficulty and the majority of them are vulnerable. The policy was drafted in consultation with team leaders, internal customer service, the senior management team, input and requests through the Advisory Board (representing debtors, creditors, third sector and private money advice) as well as feedback from the Money Advice Trust and mental health specialists.
Access to information and services:
7. AiB responds quickly to any requests for information in alternative languages and formats to ensure that there are no barriers to accessing information and services. On request AiB arranges for interpreters to attend meetings with Citizens Advice representatives to provide important information in relation to the insolvency process, options and consequences. AiB is responsible for the administration of a number of websites. All of the websites comply with website accessibility standards and can be accessed on all devices to ensure further compatibility.
8. Where possible the agency uses the Scottish Government supported business framework. A supported factory/business is "an establishment where more than 30% of the workers are disabled persons who by reason of the nature or severity of their disability are unable to take up work in the open labour market". Supported Factories and Businesses have a valuable role in assisting people with disabilities to integrate into the labour market and in helping to improve their overall independence and wellbeing, which is crucial in building a healthier and fairer Scotland. The most recent example includes the purchase of signage for the office.
9. Skills4bills is a project where employees of the Accountant in Bankruptcy volunteer to visit local primary schools to show pupils, aged 10-11, how to be financially savvy. This is done through a game called Skills4bills which is primarily delivered to local schools on an ad hoc basis. These sessions are delivered in conjunction with other financial education initiatives run by the schools with a view to firmly establish an understanding of financial awareness.
10. At Accountant in Bankruptcy, we've seen the Developing the Young Workforce programme both plug our resourcing gaps over the summer holiday period and help ambitious and enthusiastic young people gain vital skills to help them on the road to meaningful careers. The agency received a highly commended certificate from the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce for its work.
11. The agency is also very active in providing opportunities for Modern Apprentices. The agency currently employs six modern apprentices, who perform a range of roles within the agency.
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2019 - Education Scotland
Education Scotland integrates equality into its work and takes account of the duties in all of its programmes, approaches and interventions. Highlights include:
- Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC): Evidence is also emerging from SAC activity to demonstrate that reasonable adjustments (Equality Act) are being made to support children and young people with protected characteristics. For example, investment in speech and language development, additional support for speakers of English as an Additional Language, and/or funding educational psychologists, counsellors and nurture bases. Evidence from the interim evaluation of the Challenge shows that, whilst participants in the Schools Programme favoured targeted approaches, there was still a considerable number of interventions that were universally targeted and a smaller number of interventions were targeted according to another criterion; for example, pupils with additional support needs or English as an additional language;
- Equality and Diversity Network: Education Scotland engages with a wide range of equality groups, representing stakeholders across the protected characteristics. The Equality and Diversity Network offers advice to Education Scotland in respect of diversity and equality, and collaborates on specific projects. More recently this has involved consulting them on our new Equality Strategy and Policy and Corporate Parenting Plan. Network participants are also involved in advice and guidance about curricular developments, such as health and wellbeing benchmarks, and in reporting to Education Scotland aspects of research and campaigning linked to equalities;
- Support the development of positive relationships in schools and early learning and childcare settings: Education Scotland contributes to the development and implementation of policies, guidance and provide professional learning in approaches which support positive relationships in schools. As a result, schools are developing an ethos and climate where all children and young people; parents and carers and staff are valued and included and this will promote the equality of all of those with protected characteristics. Schools are using an increasing range of strategies and approaches that promote inclusion and diversity and recognise the rights of all children and young people. By specifically recognising children's rights, schools are increasingly taking into account those which specifically support children and young people with protected characteristics, e.g. Articles 14, 22, 23 and 30;
- Promoting equality practices: Education Scotland provides high quality support and guidance to educational establishments on how to deliver their duties on equality and diversity. We populate the National Improvement Hub (Hub) with a range of resources which promote equality and diversity. Examples include: Anti-sectarian resources; The Golden Rule; The Heritage and Inclusion Project; Glasgow Girls - Campaigning for the rights of asylum seekers; Learning journey: A celebration of Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland; Heritage and Inclusion Project - Supporting young women from Black, Minority, Ethnicity (BME) backgrounds in secondary school; and Addressing Inclusion - Effectively Challenging Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia;
- Nurturing approaches: Ongoing guidance and support around the links between nurturing approaches; Adverse Childhood Experiences and trauma informed practice has been taken forward. Practitioners recognise the impact that early adversity and trauma can have on children and young people, and can recognise how to support them. This includes recognising the needs of specific children and young people with protected characteristics such as disability (including care experienced) and religion or belief;
- Families and Communities and Parental Engagement and Involvement: We have provided new and updated information on Parentzone Scotland regarding additional support needs and signposting to external sources for further information and support and provided information for Gypsy/Traveller communities and refugee parents. Families with children with additional support are supported through provision of information and signposting to services. Families from Gypsy/Traveller communities have access to increased support regarding education and parental engagement in learning. Parents have access to appropriate information to support them to be involved and engaged in their children's education and learning regardless of their background;
- Improving Gender Balance (IGB) Pilot Programme: The three year Improving Gender Balance (IGB) Pilot Programme concluded in March 2018. Over the three year period, five school clusters were involved in the work to develop effective approaches to addressing unconscious bias and tackling stereotypes. A comprehensive suite of resources is now available on our Hub to help centres and schools improve gender balance. These include case studies, videos, a photobank, action guides for different sectors and an animation specifically designed to encourage creative thinking around tackling gender bias and prejudice. The IGB Project officers have engaged with a wide range of partner organisations to help them address unconscious bias and tackle stereotypes through their programmes. Professional learning is now being offered to a range of centres, schools and authorities to extend the learning from the IGB Pilot. This includes training for the team of 11 Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) Officers located in eight local authorities; and
- Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is currently being rolled out by Education Scotland in 25 local authorities.
Reporting, Monitoring and Reviewing
- In all inspection activity, the rights of, and support for, learners with protected characteristics and/or those who are care experienced are explored with school leaders, staff, parents, partners, and where appropriate, learners themselves. Areas of strength are identified, along with any aspects for improvement;
- How good is our school? (fourth edition) (HGIOS?4) has a strong focus on equality. The set of quality indicators (QIs) and toolkit are designed to reflect the rapidly developing context within which schools operate. Inspection uses the quality indicators in HGIOS?4 to evaluate the capacity for improvement in the school;
- During the time period of this report, new online pre-inspection questionnaires are being embedded into practice. Children and young people being inspected from P4 upwards are able to share views on their experience of school. Equality monitoring is being enhanced and scrutinised to a greater depth to ensure as an organisation we are capturing, analysing and acting on the views of individual learners with protected characteristics;
- We have updated our safeguarding inspection approaches to ensure and increase focus on those from protected characteristic groups and our corporate parenting duties. The safeguarding self-evaluation inspection forms request schools/centres to submit specific information related to care experienced learners. Our safeguarding inspection advice note details our expectations of schools and centres in relation to recording bullying incidents linked to protected characteristics;
- As we carry out our duties, staff across the organisation are more aware of our child protection and safeguarding policy and promote equity for all. Staff are aware of the rights of care experienced children and promote these rights with external partners and stakeholders;
- During 2017/18, most early year settings and the majority of special, primary and secondary schools received a good evaluation or better in Q.I. 3.1. Evidence from inspection shows that staff in schools are undertaking professional learning to improve their understanding of supporting young people with protected characteristics. In most schools, young people with additional support needs have their needs met well, and, are supported effectively to feel included. Staff in most schools work well with a range of partners to support their work in improving outcomes for young people facing challenges, including care experienced, young carers and those with protected characteristics. Most schools provide good opportunities for young people to learn about equalities and to challenge discrimination with partners contributions playing an important role. In a few schools young people did not have enough opportunities to explore equalities and diversity; and
- Personal and social education/health and wellbeing thematic inspection 2017-18: The thematic inspection reported that across all sectors, children and young people are developing an appropriate understanding of respect and to value diversity through rights-based learning. Equality of different groups including LGBTI is being promoted well in most secondary schools. It also reported that staff benefit from professional learning and resources provided by specialist partners, although resources require to be regularly refreshed. Increased staff awareness and use of guidance available on the teaching of LGBTI issues is required, particularly in early learning and childcare settings, primary and special schools. Overall, the thematic inspection concluded that a greater focus on learning about all aspects of equalities and a wider range of groups is required especially in the early years and primary settings.
Children and young people's participation
- We facilitate a national network of Young Ambassadors for Inclusion who are young people who require additional support and who are supported to give their views on how to make education more inclusive. They have created a film about their experiences and professional learning materials have been developed to promote more inclusive practice in schools;
- In order to ensure further support and specifically take account of the needs of particular groups of children and young people, and school context, a learner participation professional learning resource is being developed to be delivered to practitioners and further links and materials are being developed for the Hub. Links will be made where possible to promoting the participation of a range of young people with specific protected characteristics, such as religion and belief and disability, and will also include those children who are care experienced; and
- As a result, A wider range of children and young people are being given the opportunity and support to participate in the life of the school, including all of those children and young people with protected characteristics. Specific support is available to support individual children with a protected characteristic, e.g. communication aids to support those with a disability; and, adherence to cultures and traditions of specific religious groups to enable them to fully participate in school life.
Representing Scotland: Working with the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education (EASNIE)
- Education Scotland provides the Representative Board member for Scotland for the in European Agency in Special Needs and Inclusive Education (EASNIE). Scotland is an active and participative member of EASNIE;
- The EASNIE is an independent and self-governing organisation established by 32 member countries to act as their platform for collaboration regarding the development of provision for learners with special educational needs across Europe; and
- Our work is impacting positively including in influencing policy review e.g. in relation to mainstreaming education for those with disabilities; promoting Scotland's inclusion and equality profile internationally; Scotland is providing leadership in influencing project direction and in sharing inclusion and equality practices across European countries; and learning from EASNIE research analysis has contributed to discussions on the governance review.
Scottish Learning Festival
Scotland welcomed over 11,000 visitors during the Scottish Learning Festivals of 2017 and 2018 who took part in a varied programme in September 2018. A number of seminars which explored equality and Inclusion were delivered. These included the findings of the Personal and Social Education thematic Inspection, Young Inclusion Ambassadors and Nurture.
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2019 - Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
1. As a service delivery organisation, Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) recognise that students' experience of accessing Higher Education is shaped by the services we provide and how effectively we engage with our customers and stakeholders. We therefore introduced a set of specific SAAS values last year in consultation with staff and stakeholders - one of which is 'Inclusive and Enabling'.
Inclusive and Enabling
2. SAAS have organised a number of initiatives for staff this year which have focused on equality, diversity and inclusion. This included the launch of Inclusive and Enabling week which ran from 8-12 January 2018 and will run again in January 2019. The aim of last year's event was to continue to strive to create a more diverse organisation, allowing everyone to be themselves at work, knowing they will be treated fairly and supported to achieve their potential.
3. Fourteen interactive sessions were delivered which examined culture, prejudice and discrimination, resilience, unconscious bias, and local policies and procedures. Linking Education and Disability (LEAD) Scotland, Carers Trust, Police Scotland and One Parent Families Scotland were amongst the stakeholders we collaborated with to deliver bespoke sessions. The event was well attended, positively received and feedback found that all staff confirmed they learned something from the sessions.
4. Since the launch of Inclusive and Enabling week, work on diversity and equality has continued. Mandatory equality and diversity training was rolled out to all staff. To consolidate the learning gained, a number of diversity objective workshops were carried out with staff and line managers. The aim was to construct meaningful personal diversity objectives for the 2018-19 reporting year. The output of the sessions were shared with all staff to form part of the objective setting for the year ahead and helped to ensure diversity objectives reflect the SAAS values and diversity of our workforce and stakeholders.
5. Following the roll out of equality and diversity training, disability equality training was delivered to equip staff with a working knowledge of disability issues which allow them to recognise discriminatory language and understand the distinction between 'disability' and 'impairment'. This was delivered by the Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCiL) in partnership with Inclusion Scotland.
6. SAAS worked with the Scottish Trans Alliance to deliver a series of transgender and inclusive language awareness sessions to provide staff with an understanding of gender identity and gender expression.
7. SAAS are committed to making a positive impact on the local communities in which we operate. The Agency have signed up to the "Social Impact Pledge", a Scottish Government initiative aimed at increasing the social impact of public sector organisations across Scotland. We have formed a group made up of staff from across the organisation to take this work forward.
8. SAAS pledged to work with local charities and volunteering organisations which has resulted in the following outcomes:
- A dementia awareness session was delivered to staff which provided tools and signposted individuals to sources of support;
- A charitable bake sale was held which raised £635 and all proceeds went to Alzheimer Scotland;
- A Strawberry and Cream day was held which raised £220 for the Lifeboat Fund;
- A number of staff participated in a volunteering project in collaboration with Social Bite as part of their drive to end homelessness in Scotland. This included assisting with volunteering work to help finish the Social Bite village in preparation for the first residents moving in which required general maintenance and cleaning tasks. Staff also assisted with a project to move a member of the Social Bite team into permanent accommodation; and
- A coffee morning was held which raised £550 for MacMillan Cancer Support.
Year of Young People
9. SAAS were proud to have championed the Scottish Government's Year of Young People (YOYP). In collaboration with our partners YoungScot, we included a number of YOYP ambassadors in the design and delivery of our SAAS National Stakeholder conference.
10. We have also worked closely with the YOYP ambassadors and young people across SAAS staff to co-develop and co-design an animation aimed at S2-S4 school pupils. This is a high level awareness video to help school pupils make decisions about their future academic choices by introducing them to SAAS launched by the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science in December 2018.
11. We also provided a number of opportunities to our young workforce which include:
- In partnership with Career Ready, we supported two members of staff to participate as mentors in the Career Ready Mentorship Programme which resulted in us welcoming two young people to undertake a four week placement in the Agency;
- Recruited 29 Modern Apprentices and supported 14 of our existing Modern Apprentices through their Scottish Vocational Qualification and interview, resulting in the offer of a permanent post; and
- Supported a member of staff to undertake the Young Scotland Programme.
12. We were delighted to obtain formal recognition as an Investor in People, adding to our achievement as an Investor in Young People in the previous year.
SAAS Excellence Awards
13. Linked to our SAAS Corporate values to put our customers and staff at the centre of everything we do, we continue to celebrate and recognise staff achievements through our staff Excellence Awards. This is a great opportunity for staff to nominate each other and acknowledge the continued effort of individual colleagues and teams, and is fully inclusive to all staff at all grades.
Recruitment Selection Process
14. We are committed to the Disability Confident Employer Scheme and guarantee interviews to all disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for a post.
15. We developed and launched our Workforce Planning Strategy which reflects the Agency's current and future workforce needs based on our corporate goals and objectives.
16. SAAS have adopted anonymised recruitment (name-blind recruitment) for external campaigns. By removing the candidate's name and other personal information, such as their nationality or the university they attended, we aim to ensure that people will be judged on merit and not on their background, race or gender.
17. As part of the recommendations which arose from the Scottish Government Student Support Review, SAAS have been allocated £150,000 to extend our outreach, communications and engagement programme to strengthen the child poverty offer. We will focus on high risk groups - lone parents, young families, ethnic minorities and families with disabled children - and will provide targeted support by raising awareness of our services to those who need it most. This was highlighted in the Programme for Government 2018-2019 - Chapter 3 The Best Place to Grow Up and Learn.
18. We are working with a wide range of third sector organisations, charities and communities to discuss developing bespoke targeted inclusive literature which has now been produced in alternative languages.
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2019 - Social Security Scotland
On 1 September 2018, the Scottish Social Security Agency (the Agency) came into being as an Executive Agency. The Agency is taking on new benefits one at a time starting with 'Wave 1' which includes Carer's Allowance Supplement, Best Start Grant and Funeral Expense Assistance. 'Wave 2' is still in development by the wider Scottish Government Social Security Programme.
The Agency is committed to mainstreaming equality and this is reflected by our four strategic objectives set out in our Interim Corporate Plan:
1. Dignity, fairness and respect
2. Equality and tackling poverty
3. Efficiency and environment
4. Economy, society and environment
There are various actions underpinning each objective and one is a commitment to develop an Equality Strategy in 2018/19. The strategy will be the main vehicle to make sure we mainstream equality and will manage all the work we are doing in this area. The strategy will have far reaching equality outcomes and also make links to the Scottish Government Social Security equality outcome. The strategy is in its early stages of development and will be developed during 2018/19.
Examples of specific work to date to Mainstream Equality are outlined below.
Principles: All aspects of the Agency are being developed in accordance with the legislative principles established in section 1 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018. Collectively these principles speak to the creation of a system with equality at its heart and are reflected in the approach we take on co-design of services, adaptations we put in place to make them more inclusive and widen eligibility, and through our operational and local delivery approaches. They also influence our organisational strategic approaches and are clearly visible within our strategies for Continuous Improvement, Data Protection and Corporate Assurance.
Charter: The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 places a duty on Ministers to create a social security Charter. The Charter will ensure that the principles are carried from high level legislative ambitions into everyday delivery, meaningfully improving the experience of individuals. This includes action specifically aimed at advancing equality and non-discrimination. The Charter has been co-designed with the people of Scotland. We are bound by the Charter and this means that, as well as ensuring that the right people receive the right payments at the right time, we must also take care to treat people with dignity and respect and must carry out our work in ways which comply with the Act, the principles, and the Charter.
Inclusive Information: We are committed to communicate inclusively, in ways which meet the needs of the people we serve. The foundations of what we have in place come from the work of the Programme and we are able to provide communications and correspondence in various alternative formats such as braille and easy read, and in various languages including Gaelic. Clients are also able to communicate with the Agency via multiple channels. This is something we are building on and are working actively with stakeholders to make sure that inclusive communication is something that is embedded throughout the Agency.
Equality Impact: Equality impact has been included on the Governance Checklist for our Executive Advisory Body papers to ensure policy and diversity implications are considered for proposed recommendations or changes to process. As part of the Equality Strategy, we will also develop a robust Equality Impact Assessment process to influence any new projects/changes to operational policy.
Stakeholder Communication: Together between the Programme and ourselves will continue to use Experience Panels to help shape the delivery of social security and seek to ensure equality groups are fairly represented. We also have an Engagement and Relationships Strategy to build engagement with equalities groups.
Data: We will be collecting equality data from clients from the introduction of Best Start Grant. We will use this data to look at how the Agency's processes work for different groups of people and where evidence suggests changes are needed, make sure that opportunities to advance equality is not missed. We will also report on this within our Annual Report as there is a specific obligation in this set out in Section 20 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.
Recruitment: The Agency aims to employ a workforce reflective of the full spectrum of Scottish society and the people we serve. To achieve this we've started work to make our recruitment process open and accessible so that people from all parts of society hear about our jobs and feel able to apply for them. Activities undertaken include:
1. Removal of minimum qualification criteria for entry level posts;
2. Working with equalities groups, stakeholders and partners to identify issues and barriers in our recruitment literature and process and taking action minimise or remove these;
3. Dozens of roadshows and information sessions in local communities where information on jobs is provided along with practical advice and coaching on how to submit a positive application;
4. Constructive feedback offered to unsuccessful candidates at each stage of the process with a view to supporting them to reapply for future vacancies; and
5. Offering jobs that have genuine flexibility in terms of hours of work for those that need it and a willingness to discuss individual needs and circumstances.
Learning - We want our staff to have an understanding of the benefits environment and what the day-to-day experiences of our clients can be like. Our Client Advisors to date have had learning inputs from MECOPP, Carer's Trust and Dementia Friendly online learning from partners including Citizens' Advice. We will continue to broaden these as we introduce each new benefit and consider more widely training on equality and diversity that goes further than the mandatory courses.
Buildings/Environment - It is important to us that our buildings work for our staff and the people we serve and that they support our culture of dignity, fairness and respect. In shortlisting our interim buildings in Dundee and Glasgow we considered physical accessibility and will develop a long-term property strategy that builds on this work as we consider permanent locations.
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2019 - Disclosure Scotland (DS)
Disclosure Scotland's approach to mainstreaming equalities during 2017-18 has focused on inclusiveness and valuing difference within DS and meeting the needs of the wider community by designing inclusive services. There has been an increased emphasis on the importance of behaviour at work through projects such as the creation of a DS Vision, Mission and Values and our DS Induction Review. In our role as a policy maker and service provider we have collaborated with equality communities and communities of interest to meet the aspirations of a fairer more equal society.
Vision, Mission and Values
In 2017 DS created our Vision, Mission and Values. This involved a DS wide consultation with all of our staff and our external stakeholders resulting in our new Mission, vision and values which placed inclusiveness at the heart of our values.
We are an inclusive organisation, enriched by diversity, where individual needs are supported and where people are treated with respect.
We use the Vision, Mission and Values to inform our business priorities and draw on to influence the approach we take as we strive to achieve our goals. To mainstream diversity we have endeavoured to embed this at each stage of the employee journey. Another first was an internal audit on Culture and Leadership commissioned by DS. Part of the remit for the audit was that DS's Vision, Mission and Values is incorporated throughout DS Strategic Planning, including risk management, monitoring and reporting. One of the audit findings was for a formal idea/suggestion scheme which is now being implemented.
During 2018, DS carried out a review of the Induction Process. As inclusion is one of our values, we made this a central tenet of the new process. A large part of our Corporate Induction Event focuses on diversity. This includes sessions from the Diversity and Inclusion Team and from the People Advice and Wellbeing Manager. Our Marketplace event invites members of the Scottish Government networks to the Induction to meet with new starts. Our last event had representatives from the LGBTI Allies Network, the Race and Equality Network and the Mental Health and Wellbeing Network. The plan is to increase the number of Networks represented. This approach is helping to develop an inclusive culture in which everyone treats all colleagues and service users with equal dignity and respect.
Fairness at Work Sessions
These were offered and delivered to all Disclosure Scotland staff in 2017/18 - this included over 250 permanent staff. The Scottish Government Fairness at Work policy, which applies to Disclosure Scotland staff, aims to eliminate discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation in the working environment. The Fairness at Work sessions were suggested by the Disclosure Scotland People Engagement Group, following an analysis of the People Survey results in 2017. All the sessions were introduced and supported by the Chief Executive of Disclosure Scotland. The sessions covered all forms of grievances and highlighted the different methods and support options available to staff to raise concerns should this be necessary.
The effectiveness of the Fairness at Work sessions will continue to be reviewed, alongside the number of formal cases raised to ensure the training and support provided to staff and managers remains fit-for-purpose.
All Staff Events
Our first All Staff Event was held in 2018. This brought considerations such as accessibility for all, having appropriate levels of personal space and access to amenities.
To reassure colleagues with anxiety issues, our CE advised, in her opening statement, that break-out sessions were voluntary and that staff could attend as they wished or take breaks away from the event. During the CEO address, we discussed our Vision, Mission & especially Values and this was expanded on with real world examples during one of the breakout sessions along with expected standards of behaviour and a question and answer session where staff could voice any concerns or queries.
Prior to March 2018, Disclosure Scotland's processing work took place 24/7, 5 days a week. As a result of the implementation of a project to transfer significant volumes to Disclosure and Barring Services, shift working was no longer a requirement for Disclosure Scotland, impacting on 131 staff.
Recognising the impact on individuals: lifestyle, financial and general uncertainty, a programme of support and consultation was delivered. This included:
- Regular communications including a route for confidential, personal enquiries;
- Access to financial advice;
- Ex gratia payment to contribute towards loss of shift allowance and consultation on when this should be paid;
- Flexibility of agreeing new working patterns/hours within the Scottish Governments, Flexible Working Policy. This allowed all staff to secure their preferred working pattern; and
- Taster sessions on dayshift.
The culture between nightshift and dayshift was very different. To create a more inclusive organisation, new teams were formed, bringing together a mix of people from different shift patterns. These were introduced through team away days.
As a result of the programme of support and consultation the move to day shift working for our staff was successful.
Our invitations to events have been reviewed to incorporate more inclusive language and we ask delegates if they require a signer, easy read documents or a portable hearing induction loop or anything else that will help them participate in the workshop.
Disclosure Scotland Diversity Monitoring Project 2017
In 2017, there was a recognition that our completion rate for diversity monitoring information was low. A campaign was launched to improve the completion rates and thereby the accuracy of overall data.
This campaign included awareness sessions, a poster campaign and a leaflet drop as part of our communications plan.
Disclosure Scotland Diversity Monitoring Completion Rates
|31 May 17 Completed||31 Dec 17 Completed||% increase or decrease from March 17|
|39.4%||46.1%||6.7% (Since 31 May 17)|
Since we last reported in 2017, we have continued to improve data and evidence to strengthen our work and inform the decisions that we take. An analyses of diversity data was incorporated into the Workforce Planning Group meetings.
Developing the Young Workforce
DS continues to work with and support Developing the Young Workforce (DYW). This year DS took part in Promoting Public Sector Careers in Schools, a national initiative organised by DYW. This involved DS staff, including one of our Modern Apprentices, visiting a local school and delivering a session to pupils to raise awareness of the breadth of careers available within the public sector.
DS also marked the 3rd year of involvement in the Career Ready Programme. The programme helps to provide students from lower income families with the confidence, skills and network to achieve their potential by providing mentoring opportunities and a 4-week internship for pupils in S5 and S6. Our Organisational Development and Change (ODC) team have also worked with DYW to deliver Career Ready Masterclasses to develop interview skills for S5 and S6 pupils in Glasgow Schools.
Disclosure Scotland is a registered national corporate parent under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which placed legal responsibilities on Scottish Ministers to promote the wellbeing of care-experienced people. Part of this journey has involved building relationships with Who Cares Scotland. The DS Corporate Parenting Plan for the next four years was developed with involvement from Who Cares Scotland and promises that we are "committed to supporting Scottish Ministers in their role as corporate parents". The plan is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it remains relevant.
As part of our Corporate Parenting Duty, we work with MCR Pathways to provide care experienced pupils with a mentor. Mentors build aspiration and are a gateway to opportunities, including university, college and education. So far, eight DS staff have volunteered to become mentors.
Designing Inclusive Services
When the user research team in Disclosure Scotland were testing our services with users they found that the way we are asking people about their gender did not meet the needs of all users. Through the user research, we identified that this question was excluding Trans and non-binary people and also realised this was an issue for other organisations. A working group was set up which included government departments (from UK and some governments of the devolved nations), as well as third-sector groups who had knowledge of this topic. As a result of the research Disclosure Scotland are seeking approval to remove the gender question from our Police Act 1997 Disclosure Forms.
Disclosure Scotland's user research team have included a wide range of people in the design of our new online service, including people with:
- low cognitive skills;
- blind or partially sighted;
- BSL (British Sign Language) users; and
- Low/no digital skills.
All user research with the above groups takes place in an environment where people feel safe and comfortable. We have conducted home and workplace visits with people who use assistive technology e.g. screen readers and screen magnifiers. Adjustments have been made to how we approach these sessions to ensure they are inclusive and allow people to participate. As a result of accessibility testing, the team identified some issues for people using screen readers which led to design and development changes to our new online service, ensuring it is more accessible for people with disabilities.
The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Review Team launched a public consultation during 2018 on how to simplify and modernise the system.
The team have engaged with a wide range of people from grassroots community organisations, equality communities, practitioners and stakeholders to conduct the PVG Review. A number of PVG review consultation feedback sessions were held to inform the policy.
This report outlines the progress DS has made towards Scottish Government equality outcomes. It also underlines our ongoing commitment to mainstreaming equality by reducing discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and inclusiveness both within DS and in the wider community.
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2019 - Transport Scotland
Over the last 12 months, we have focused on our staff wellbeing, and in particular mental wellbeing. We delivered Mental Health First Aid training sessions to staff and as a result we now have 25 fully trained Mental Health First Aiders in place across our organisation.
We have developed a Mental Health Action Plan which supports our vision to be an organisation whose culture and actions recognise and reflect the importance of good mental health and wellbeing and which provides effective support to colleagues when they need it.
Our approach is to integrate good mental health practices into our everyday operations at all levels of the organisation by embedding a set of mental health core standards.
We continue to fill a variety of roles through advertising for modern apprentices. We have had a great experience and success at helping a diverse range of apprentices through their vocational qualifications.
Over the last 7 years our staff have been involved in mentoring school pupils as part of the Career Ready programme. Staff and pupils work together over a two-year period to develop a range of skills required for the world of work. As part of the programme, pupils take part in a 4 week paid internship placement that sees them take on roles across our organisation.
We continue to develop our graduate engineering scheme, and over the last 12 months have made particular efforts to encourage interest from a wider representation of society.
We continue to ensure across all of our roads projects/contracts that designs are delivered in accordance with our 'Roads for All' guidance. A good practice guide for Roads.
A737 Dalry Bypass
The project contractor aims to procure from Supported Businesses in Scotland as much as possible. On this particular scheme, one such business has been utilised to produce scheme sign boards for the site.
The Contractor has also undertaken an extensive liaison programme with local schools, allowing its trained Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) ambassadors to visit, promote and encourage children to see Engineering as a great career option. Ambassadors discuss the various roles within the industry such as Civil Engineers, Environmental and Health and Safety, engaging the children in engineering challenges to spark interest. The challenges allow pupils to apply their own ideas into methods of construction.
The contractor has also worked in partnership with Ayrshires Developing the Young Workforce team, participating in careers events promoting the Construction/Engineering industry as a career choice for local students. Many of the Contractors STEM ambassadors are women, which assists with promoting careers in Construction and Engineering with the aim of encouraging a greater gender balance across the profession.
Transport Bill - The provisions within the wide-ranging Bill aim to ensure Scotland's transport network operates with greater efficiency, better accessibility, and with improved air quality in its towns and cities. The legislative measures will help to empower Scotland's local authorities and establish consistent standards to make transport easier, cleaner and smarter than ever before, therefore supporting the Scottish Government's aspirations to deliver a safe, efficient, cost-effective and sustainable transport system for the benefit of the people of Scotland.
National Transport Strategy (NTS) - Will set out a successor transport strategy for Scotland for the next 20 years.
- The NTS Review has been progressed through a three-pillar approach:
- collaborative working with partners with working groups focused on key issues, opportunities and challenges for our future transport system;
- developing a robust evidence base to support policy choices;
- engaging with stakeholders and citizens across Scotland to give them a greater say in the development of transport policy;
- A period of engagement and collaboration with stakeholders will take place during 2019 prior to formal public consultation on the draft strategy including business sector engagement;
- The NTS Review has four thematic Working Groups, each of which is co-chaired by external transport partners and Transport Scotland and membership consists of transport deliver partners, academics and third sector groups; and
- Members of the Tackling Inequality Working Group include HITRANS, Citizens' Advice Scotland, STUC, CalMac and Bus Users Scotland, among others. Over a series of meetings, the group discussed a number of transport inequality issues.
Our Sustainable and Active Travel team manage a number of grants to promote Active Travel, many of these supporting the drive to reduce inequalities. Key one is our £2 million Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open fund grant where community groups receive small grants to promote Sustainable and active travel. Recent successful examples include:
- Gaydio, a LGB&T radio station in Glasgow to promote sustainable and active travel;
- Deaf Scotland to help Increase the accessible information; and
- Scottish Borders Council to develop a bus app to encourage more public transport use for the over 60's.
Other smaller grants include Cycling UK to deliver Wheelness, an initiative to improve people's mental and physical health, wealth and happiness by supporting them to cycle for everyday journeys.
For Programme for Government this year, we have committed to delivering a subsidised bike hire scheme for jobseekers, modern apprentices, young people and students.