3. Relevant legislation and policy
This section provides an overview of the relevant legislation and policy to the RAP and ARES. A detailed policy review is provided in Appendix C.
3.1 Relevant legislation
The FSDA assesses the impacts of each of the actions within the RAP and ARES and will help to demonstrate Scottish Government's compliance with the Fairer Scotland Duty (part 1 of the Equality Act 2010), to which it has a legal duty to consider in the delivery of its policies, programmes, and projects and apply to strategic decisions.
3.1.1 Fairer Scotland Duty
Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, the 'Fairer Scotland Duty', places a legal responsibility on the relevant authorities to actively consider how they can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage. The Scottish Government, when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise its functions, must have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage. This differs from the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under Section 149 of the Equality Act which considers only reducing inequalities of opportunity. Public bodies may wish to publish a written assessment under the Fairer Scotland Duty, demonstrating how they have considered inequalities of outcome when making any major strategic decision.
'The Fairer Scotland Duty - Guidance for Public Bodies' (Scottish Government, 2021) identifies a need to consider both 'communities of place' and 'communities of interest' in terms of people who share an experience and are particularly impacted by socio-economic disadvantage. Key lenses through which socio-economic disadvantage can be considered include:
- Low/no wealth
- Low income
- Area deprivation
- Socio-economic background
- Material deprivation
The inequalities of outcome that people can face because of socio-economic disadvantage include:
- Poorer skills and attainment
- Lower health life expectancy
- Lower quality, less secure and lower paid work
- Greater chance of being a victim of crime
- Less chance of being treated with dignity and respect
3.1.2 The Human Rights Act
The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom introduced to incorporate the rights of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Public authorities must respect and protect the human rights set out through the articles of the Act.
Human rights implications are also considered in the context of upcoming International Human Rights Covenants and Conventions.
In assessing the impacts on human rights legislation, this report considers:
- If there is any danger of someone's rights being infringed by the actions of the Fair Work agenda
- If the actions of the Fair Work agenda will strengthen people's ability to enjoy these rights
3.2 National policy
3.2.1 Fair Work Framework
The Fair Work Convention published the Fair Work Framework in 2016. It sets out a vision that 'by 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and society'.
The framework defines Fair Work through the five dimensions: effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment, and respect.
3.2.2 National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET)
The National Strategy for Economic Transformation outlines an ambition for a successful and 'fairer' economy by 2032 driven by a vision to create a wellbeing economy.
The 'fairer and more equality society' programme of action seeks to 'Reorient our economy towards wellbeing and fair work, to deliver higher rates of employment and wage growth, to significantly reduce structural poverty, particularly child poverty, and improve health, cultural and social outcomes for disadvantaged families and communities.'
3.2.3 National Performance Framework (NPF)
The National Performance Framework is Scotland's wellbeing framework setting out a vision for a more successful, sustainable, and inclusive Scotland.
The Fair Work and Business National Outcome measures progress towards Scotland's vision for 2025. Performance against this outcome is measured through indicators, including but not limited to: pay gap, employee voice, gender balance and payment of the real Living Wage.
3.2.4 Developing the Young Workforce: Scotland's Youth Employment Strategy
The Youth Employment Strategy sets out how the Scottish Government will implement recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce with the ambition to improve youth employment levels beyond pre-2008 and prioritise equal access to work relevant educational experience for all young people, despite the barriers they may face.
3.2.5 Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-2026
The 'Best Start, Bright Futures' delivery plan sets out a vision for tackling child poverty in Scotland, following the foundations of the 'Every Child, Every Chance' publication in 2018.
To successfully tackle child poverty, the plan will support families with children through people-centred services to access financial, emotional, and practical assistance regardless of gender, race or status.
3.2.6 Covid Recovery Strategy
In response to the inequality and disadvantage both exacerbated and exposed by the Covid pandemic, the Scottish Government published the Covid Recovery Strategy.
The strategy prioritises the security and resilience of communities, businesses, society, and the economy by embedding fair work, skills and employability interventions.
Actions from this outcome include gender, ethnicity and disability employment action plans, an ethnicity pay gap strategy, real Living Wage commitments and other Fair Work standards.
3.2.7 Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016 to 2030
This framework sets out the Scottish Government's approach to addressing racism and inequality between 2016 and 2030. Through showing leadership in advancing race equality and addressing barriers faced by racialised minorities, the Scottish Government will assist racialised minorities in realising their potential.
The Framework was created to prioritise the needs and experiences of Scotland's racialised minorities. It outlines how the Scottish Government will work in partnership with government agencies and key stakeholders to address opportunities for progress through six themed Visions.
3.3.1 No One Left Behind
No One Left Behind is a collective approach to delivering an employability system which is flexible, people-centred, and responsive.
3.3.2 Fair Start Scotland
Fair Start Scotland, a national employment support service, launched in April 2018 and has been supporting people with significant barriers towards and into sustainable work.
The service is entirely voluntary and offers personalised, one to one support, tailored to individual circumstances and has supported over 51,000 starts since launch in April 2018.
3.4 Other factors
Individuals and businesses face ever-changing burdens dependent on the cumulative impacts of socioeconomic crises. Those relevant to today's populations include Covid, EU Exit and the cost-of-living crisis.
Covid-19 has an impact on Scotland's health, economy and society and progress towards Scotland's National Outcomes from the NPF. Emerging and exacerbated labour market inequalities are likely to generate poverty and human right impacts relevant to the Fair Work and Business outcome. For example, young people are increasingly faced with early unemployment, while older unemployed adults are experiencing more long-term unemployment and are less likely to participate in upskilling.
3.4.2 EU Exit
Consideration must be given to EU Exit undermining trading and collaborative relationship, which Scottish society and businesses have traditionally relied on as efforts are made to rebuild, restore, and identify new markets and potential trade relationships.
3.4.3 Cost-of-living crisis
The recent cost of living crisis, driven by a surge in inflation, has generated social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities across Scottish households.
While all households in Scotland will be affected by the increased cost of living, the Scottish Government identify that disproportionate impacts are likely across low income households. Low income households also include overrepresentations protected characteristic groups.
Household's increased chances of suffering acutely from the current inflation crisis heightens vulnerabilities to changing legislation, in both positive and negative capacities.
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