6. Research, Analysis and Strategy
In addition to 50 core actions, the Fairer Scotland Action Plan also included commitments on new research and strategic approaches. This chapter reflects on progress made against these.
Research and Analysis
We committed to produce an Equality Evidence Strategy for Scotland and this was published in July 2017. High quality equality evidence and analysis is vital to underpin effective and inclusive policy making in Scotland and the movement of our main data site – the Equality Evidence Finder – to be hosted alongside the National Performance Framework (NPF) reinforces this link. Wherever possible, NPF indicators will provide breakdowns by protected characteristic, increasing our understanding of the impact of policies on equality groups. The Evidence Finder will contain further detailed information across policy areas as well as promoting qualitative data.
However, despite improvements in recent years, there remain gaps in Scotland's equality evidence base. We are continuing to work with stakeholders to prioritise and fill these.
In September 2017, we published a discussion paper to test a methodology to develop a Gender Index for Scotland. The paper concluded that it was not possible or sensible to replicate the European methodology. Instead, a working group was established with key gender stakeholders to help compile a Scottish-specific Gender Index, domain by domain, over a two year period. Interim domain results will be published when these have been compiled.
The passing of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act in 2017 and the development of the first delivery plan, Every Child, Every Chance, was based on and accompanied by significant research and analysis into the targets, drivers and projections for child poverty up to 2030; and identification of priority families for assistance in order to reduce child poverty. This analysis was published alongside the delivery plan. We also published new experimental statistics on children in families with limited resources. This publication, based on new data from the Scottish Household Survey, provided a local picture of the proportion of children living without essential goods and services.
In August 2017, we published new research on older people and employment, informed by discussions with employers and older people about the barriers and enablers to keeping older people in the workplace. A research report and a policy booklet summarising the key findings and recommendations were published and an event held with a range of employers from the private and the public sector on the same day. The Scottish Government is taking forward a number of the recommendations contained within the report. This has included:
- funding a Returner's programme to assist women, through a number of different opportunities including training programmes, to re-enter the workforce following a career break;
- working with partners such as Age Scotland, Business in the Community and Edinburgh University to promote good practice in recruiting older workers and ensuring they are treated fairly in the workplace;
- providing £750,000 to the Workplace Equality Fund to address long standing barriers in accessing the labour market. Through the Fund's first round, several projects were granted funding to support older workers. The second round of applications to the Fund closed on 30 August 2018 and are currently being assessed;
- promoting the uptake of the Living Wage which will benefit older workers financially;
- providing £159,000 in 2018-19 to the Family Friendly Working Scotland Partnership to support and promote development of flexible and agile workplaces;
- funding the Carer Positive Awards scheme to help workers with caring responsibilities to remain in employment;
- establishing a Gender Pay Gap Working Group to identify action to reduce gender pay gaps across Scotland as part of the Scottish Government's inclusive growth vision; and
- establishing Fair Start Scotland, the devolved employment support service, which is a distinctly Scottish employment support service focusing on those further from the labour market for whom work is a realistic prospect. The service will assist those who are disadvantaged in the labour market, providing person tailored support and a fair opportunity to secure employment.
An evidence review of the life chances of young people in Scotland, prepared for the First Minister's Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality, was published in July 2017. This was a companion piece to the Independent Advisor's reportto the First Minister on the life chances of young people in Scotland, which was published on the same day. We committed to start implementing the 18 recommendations made in The Life Chances of Young People in Scotland report throughout the Year of Young People 2018, and to publish an update in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan progress report in 2019 setting out the progress made to date.
Email: Daniel Paterson