Case Study 1: NHS Lanarkshire – Monklands Replacement Project
NHS Lanarkshire completed a Fairer Scotland Duty assessment in 2018 of the proposal to replace/refurbish University Hospital Monklands (UHM). Subsequently the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport announced that a refurbishment of the existing site should no longer be an option for the project and further engagement was undertaken in regard to another site. The majority of the previous key themes and recommendations were still relevant, but work was undertaken to update the most relevant data to build on the previous recommendations and findings, and to engage with stakeholders to further discuss the impacts identified previously and identify any new impacts that should be considered.
Participants in engagement included patients and public representatives, carers, clinicians (from hospitals, primary care and general practice) and staff representatives. Participants assessed three potential locations (and the current site, although this is now deemed out of scope) against criteria such as journey times, access by road and public transport and the extent to which a location could support hospital centres of excellence and regional services.
NHS Lanarkshire gathered evidence for this assessment through literature searches, locality health and wellbeing profiles, hospital activity data, consultation documents and a Duty Stakeholder workshop. Key impacts were grouped into four interrelated high level themes: multiple deprivation and income inequality; employment and economy; transport and connections; and environment.
In January 2020 a revised Duty assessment was published and in October 2020 a third, updated version was published by the Board, showing how a number of Duty Assessments may need to be undertaken as plans change and adapt over time. The October 2020 version included the following conclusions and range of mitigation measures to combat the negative impacts identified:
‘The proposal to rebuild University Hospital Monklands on another site is anticipated to have positive impacts on the Lanarkshire population including socio-economic outcomes such as employment during the build phase, improved healthcare due to optimal clinical model and potential wider benefits of improved transport infrastructure and community transport model.
Relocating the hospital from Airdrie may have a negative impact on the local community, particularly staff and patients/carers on low incomes who do not have access to a car as public transport is not currently sufficient. The commute to the new site is also likely to be more expensive for those who live closest to the current UHM.
The sense of belonging and pride in the current Monklands Hospital by the local community should not be under estimated. The community may feel a sense of loss of a long-standing community asset and this may be more acutely felt given the area already has significant multiple deprivation. However, there are other deprived areas, most notably Coatbridge and pockets of North locality, which may benefit from the hospital being relocated to another site.’
A number of measures were recommended for NHS Lanarkshire to consider in order to mitigate negative impacts of the hospital relocation and to maximise opportunities to reduce poverty through the build and hospital relocation process. These included:
- Undertake further consultation and traffic analysis to assess the travel requirements and costs for staff, patients and the community.
- Develop innovative, enhanced and sustainable community and public transport links to the new hospital for the whole Lanarkshire population including consideration of a community transport hub.
- Facilitate lower paid staff to maintain employment at the new hospital, ensuring that they are not disadvantaged by cost of travel and minimise the impact of travelling time.
- Work with community planning partners to improve digital exclusion so that people are not disadvantaged through increased use of technology.
- Maximise procurement possibilities and facilitate training opportunities for those in the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas to allow them to benefit from new construction jobs and jobs in the new hospital.
- Work with North Lanarkshire Council and the local community to regenerate the old Monklands hospital site as part of the overall vision for the town of Airdrie in line with the Plan for North Lanarkshire. The decision by the board to provide community healthcare facilities within the vacated site is welcomed.
- Consider how the new hospital can be designed to support the local community in terms of access to local amenities around the new site.
- Consider provision of subsidised childcare facilities in the new UHM to allow staff to access childcare at their site of work, therefore reducing need for extra public travel time and costs.
- Consider expanding concessionary, discounted and/or free travel for specific groups on public transport.
Case Study 2: Scottish National Investment Bank Bill
The decision to establish the Scottish National Investment Bank is aligned with the Scottish Government’s commitment to inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Missions are set for the Bank to guide the purpose of the bank towards an ethical, socially just and environmentally aware investment strategy. The Bank is required to develop Ethical Investment Standards, and a balanced scorecard approach to measure economic, social, environmental and ethical impact as well as financial performance.
A Fairer Scotland Duty assessment was developed and published in September 2019 to accompany the Scottish National Investment Bank Bill.
Evidence: As well as a literature review, three meetings of a Panel of experts on social lending, inequalities and economics provided focused advice on how national investment can work to reduce the impacts of disadvantage. At the first, addressing the illustrative missions for the Bank, it was proposed that inequality could be reduced through investing in people rather than in places; a reinforced emphasis on inclusivity compared to growth and investment in scaling up social investment initiatives and expanding small business capacity. The second meeting, on reducing barriers and applying conditionality to the Bank’s investments, recommended improved information and support to attract medium-sized enterprises; transparent reporting around conditionality; and a focus on supporting both businesses creating jobs in disadvantaged communities and entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds. The third meeting reviewed the developing missions and considered how best to capture the impacts of the Bank’s performance on inequality.
Consideration: In light of evidence to date, the published assessment makes recommendations for what the Bank should consider, including: working to proliferate financial products and instruments to address barriers to finance among disadvantaged entrepreneurs in Scotland; introducing loan covenants to support small businesses to embed Fair Work conditions, community benefit clauses to high value investments or requiring borrowing firms to join a business network; and developing metrics to assess the Bank’s contribution to reducing socio-economic disadvantage. It also recommended the potential to include representation of the voice of those with direct experience of poverty on the Advisory Group on the Bank which will be established by Scottish Ministers. The assessment also stresses the need to avoid unrealistic expectations and give the Bank ‘time and space’, noting the Bank must operate on a commercial platform against which measures to address socio-economic disadvantage must be weighed.
The Panel proved effective in bringing expertise on economic solutions to inequality to bear on a broad and substantial policy. By considering the Duty from early in development, the policy team were able to plan and access tailored evidence from the Panel at relevant stages. This in turn allowed policy refinements to be proposed and discussed while there was still scope to incorporate them.
Case Study 3: East Lothian Council – Local Housing Strategy
East Lothian’s Local Housing Strategy (LHS) 2018–2023 sets out the strategy, priorities and plans for the delivery of housing and related services across East Lothian from 2018 to 2023.
The LHS is the sole strategic document for housing in East Lothian, bringing together a wide range of housing-related priorities into one place and enabling a co-ordinated response in terms of action. The LHS plays a number of important roles, including setting out the strategic direction to delivering quality housing and related services, to direct investment and meet identified need, outlining East Lothian Council’s (the Council’s) approach to meeting statutory housing responsibilities i.e. in relation to fuel poverty, house condition and homelessness and demonstrating how housing can contribute to improvements in health and wellbeing and influencing the effective integration of health and social care.
Evidence was gathered both around the impact of, and what works to address inequalities via the establishment of an independent East Lothian Poverty Commission and information on this can be found here https://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/povertycommission. The Poverty Commission spoke to local people experiencing poverty, held themed sessions and invited practitioners, local projects and national experts to talk about poverty. In addition, a health impact assessment of the LHS was carried out by the NHS.
Service user experience was also used as part of the assessment. Twenty focus groups were held to enable the experience of service users in vulnerable groups to influence the LHS. The groups covered:
- Homeless people
- LGBT people
- Older people and their carers
- People with a learning disability and their carers
- People with a mental health condition and their carers
- People with a physical disability and/or visual impairment and their carers
- Young care leavers
- Young vulnerable people
Two large scale events were also held as part of the development process as well as an eight week formal consultation period. Using the evidence outlined above as well as other sources mentioned below, the Council made the following observations regarding the evidence available in relation to poverty and socio-economic disadvantage and outcomes affected:
- There is an acute shortage of affordable housing, particularly social rented housing.
- Households on low to medium incomes in employment, who would struggle financially to purchase on the open market, are most in need of intermediate tenures, find it difficult to access social housing (given likely time on the housing list) and would find it difficult to access the private rented sector (given high demand and relatively low supply and affordability issues).
Specific observations around people who are vulnerable to falling into poverty included:
- Unemployed people, older people, families with young children and households with a disabled person tend to be more at risk of fuel poverty as these groups typically spend a large proportion of time at home. With an ageing population and a likely growth in the numbers of disabled people it is predicted that there will be an increased group whose health and wellbeing is potentially affected by fuel poverty.
- People on benefits – welfare reform is further exacerbating inequalities, particularly in relation to Universal Credit. Issues also exist for people under the age of 35 in relation to single room rent regulations.
- Pensioners – an ageing population means that pensioners in East Lothian will continue to use increasing levels of service provision which will impact upon housing provision, adaptations services, housing support and telecare.
- Looked after children/those leaving care settings – there remains a lack of services for young people with very complex needs, particularly with regard to accommodation with support. Young people are often required to go to Edinburgh for this, which is costly.
- Those living in the most deprived communities (bottom 20% SIMD areas) – the LHS sets out a profile of the six key towns in East Lothian, which enables a comparison of key indicators of deprivation at a glance. It is clear that while there are small pockets of deprivation in the East of the county, the majority of deprivation is concentrated in the west.
There are also issues with regard to socio-economic disadvantage for rural and semi-rural communities:
- The LHS has a specific section on rural communities in accordance with the LHS guidance. The LHS notes the specific inequalities relating to people living in rural communities, where households are living off the gas grid. Rural housing typically experiences higher rates of fuel poverty, lower levels of energy efficiency, higher rates of empty buildings and higher rates of disrepair. This is compounded by generally lower disposable incomes in rural areas as people pay more for transport, services etc.
Of urban communities the Council says:
- Evidence suggests that residential dwellings in town centres have a high correlation with high levels of disrepair, poor energy efficiency, below tolerable standard dwellings and fuel poverty.
The evidence was considered as part of an integrated impact assessment of the plan and included service reviews, a review of the ability of groups to access services from individual service related integrated impact assessments, data from two SESplan Housing Need and Demand Assessments, Local Housing Systems Analysis as well as a range of policy documents.
The East Lothian Local Housing Strategy 2018–23 includes more detail on how the consultation events were carried out which included options appraisals set out on tables under key headings i.e. homelessness; affordable housing; private sector housing; fuel poverty etc. Each theme had key evidence and key issues and challenges set out and a range of potential options were literally ‘on the table’ for people to choose from and explaining their choice. The Council then took all of these comments on board and used this as the starting point for the rationale as to why one action was chosen over another.
The LHS was agreed, alongside an action plan to mitigate any identified negative impacts, or issues arising for local communities.
- The LHS will seek to mitigate the impacts of Welfare Reform where appropriate/where possible and investigate alternative housing options i.e. flat sharing and build to rent.
- The LHS ensures that service provision is targeted at areas of deprivation.
- The LHS seeks to mitigate the difficulties associated with rural housing by improving knowledge and understanding of private sector stock in rural areas, targeting energy efficiency advice at rural stock and consideration of the provision of care in rural areas.
- The LHS aims to mitigate against residential dwellings below tolerable standard dwellings in town centres by improving knowledge of private sector stock and ensuring housing is a key component of town centre regeneration/town centre strategies.
Other ways in which the LHS will seek to improve outcomes and reduce inequality for people living in socio-economic disadvantage include:
- The LHS supports projects/organisations which help young people into positive destinations e.g. Bridges project.
- The LHS includes ambitious housing supply targets for both market and affordable housing, which should increase employment in relation to lower paid jobs i.e. construction and reduce income inequality/boost the local economy.
- The LHS includes actions in relation to employability i.e. for homeless people.
- All contracted services undergo a procurement process which will ensure good working conditions and support the Living Wage.
The strengths of the assessment include the time taken to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, using existing qualitative evidence and the collation and review of different sources of material to inform the evidence base.
The events held informed preparation of the Consultative Draft LHS. All events considered evidence and then focused on appraising the options which in turn informed actions in the LHS. The events included:
- Housing Forums – 3 large scale full day Housing Forum events were held, to consider key housing issues and challenges across the county and drafting priority outcomes and actions and a vision for housing in the LHS. An interactive options appraisal was carried out, with attendees encouraged to agree potential actions for the draft LHS, on the basis of identified issues and challenges.
- Community Planning – Engagement with Community Planning is emphasised in Guidance, with a requirement for Community Planning Partners to agree to both the strategic direction of the LHS and their role in the delivery of key outcomes. A Community Planning event was held to raise awareness and consult with key stakeholders in relation to the Draft LHS.
- Consultation on SESplan Housing Need and Demand Assessment 2 – In 2014 a wide Housing Market Partnership was established comprising of around 300 organisations and groups across South East Scotland. A series of five large scale consultation events were held, to consult with the Partnership on housing need and demand, in addition to virtual events/surveys.
Having consulted widely, the Council and its partners were confident that evidence regarding key issues and challenges was considered, all options were fully explored, and actions were agreed and decided on following full options appraisal.
The assessment clearly sets out how socio-economic disadvantage has been considered and what that means for the LHS, informing actions to be undertaken to address concerns and mitigate any negative impacts.
Case Study 4: The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland
The Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for single-use drinks containers is intended to increase the quantity and quality of materials collected for recycling, to encourage wider behaviour change around materials and to deliver maximum economic and societal benefits for Scotland. It forms part of the Scottish Government’s wider ambition to develop a more circular economy that keeps products and materials circulating in a high value state of use for as long as possible.
Framing within an EQIA process indicated potential for positive or negative impacts of a DRS on people affected by low wealth and material deprivation, depending on the final scheme design and any mitigation. There was potential for the scheme to create accessible job opportunities. On the other hand, published literature and national survey data highlighted that people impacted by socio-economic disadvantage are likely to pay more for essential goods and services (energy, food) than the rest of the population and are more susceptible to changes in food and drink prices; and that low-income households tended to have lower participation in recycling. Modelling work suggested that initial outlay for low-income households could be low but that this would require high public participation, maximising the number of deposits redeemed.
Observation of different DRS models implemented in other countries including, Norway, Estonia, Sweden, Lithuania, Denmark and Finland suggested that a return-to-retail model would support higher capture rates better than a return-to depot model with no retail involvement, and could create jobs that could be filled by long-term unemployed people. Consultation indicated strong public support for a return-to-retail model supplemented by dedicated return points, making it possible to return packaging to any place of sale.
Consideration of this evidence suggested that to ensure high uptake among disadvantaged groups and avoid financial impacts on them:
- comprehensive multi-channelled and inclusively designed communication and engagement programmes and materials were vital
- return points’ location, accessibility and convenience of use should be prioritised
- online retailers should be required to operate a take-back service to help those relying on online shopping due to limited travel options
- attraction of inward investment could create additional job opportunities
The preferred scheme was a return to any place of purchase model that would require online retailers to operate a take-back service and allow non-retail spaces to act in this capacity (benefiting those with limited travel options). Encompassing both manual and automated take-back arrangements helped smaller retailers serving deprived areas to participate. It was decided that communication and engagement activity that took digital exclusion into account should ensure that disadvantaged groups understood clearly what the DRS is, how it works, what they can return and how they can redeem their deposit.
Strengths of the Duty Assessment include:
- informing the selection of a preferred scheme by considering evidence from other countries on the implications of alternative DRS options for those experiencing poverty
- use of modelling to estimate impacts of the proposed decision on low-income households
- consideration of both socio-economic disadvantage (through the creation of jobs accessible by those unemployed for a long period) and inequality of outcomes (e.g. digital exclusion)
A consultation was used to gather views on, for instance, the impacts of different policy options and what might be an acceptable level of deposit. Although there were over 2,000 responses from individuals, it is not clear respondents had lived experience of poverty. Additional dedicated engagement to understand such individuals’ views would help ensure the scheme is implemented in the fairest possible way.
Case Study 5: NHS24 Premises Relocation
As a special health board, NHS 24 has offices across Scotland, its main centres being based in the North East of Scotland, the East of Scotland and the West of Scotland.
In 2019, NHS 24 received a request to move out of one of the premises that it occupied in the West of Scotland. This was required as another special health board was expanding its range of elective surgeries and needed additional space. In addition to the request to move, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, meant that NHS 24 also needed to consider the need for social distancing and infection control measures. The Redesign of Urgent Care had also placed additional responsibilities on the 111 service provided by NHS 24 to ensure people get the right care pathway and this resulted in an expansion to the NHS 24 workforce.
An Estates Programme Board was established, which consisted of cross functional representation from across the organisation.
A workshop was convened with groups identifying what was most important for each function in new premises, and what each area needed from the business case. This was a useful process which meant that the Programme Board was able to build the Fairer Scotland Duty (the Duty) into how decisions would be taken.
As of 2021, 79% of NHS 24 staff are women, and a recent recruitment drive to address the pandemic and recommendations from the Redesign of Urgent Care has led to an increase in younger people coming to work for them. These demographics were factored into the process.
It was important to include an Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment in the business case, and the Duty was included in this. The process involved having discussions in the workshop and prioritising what key areas of inclusion should be incorporated into the Business Case. There was an opportunity to introduce into conversations the consideration of the socio-economic impact of the move. NHS 24 was able to show where, as a public service, they could have an impact on the socio-economic situation of local communities. They explored what they could do to enhance the lives of people within the West of Scotland and considered how through choosing the right location, the Board and the number of staff working for NHS 24 could have a bigger impact on people who are experiencing disadvantage identified through the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).
The Programme Board agreed to build in the Duty to the business case as one of the non-financial benefits criteria and applied a weighting.
From a socio-economic and equality perspective they asked what the employment opportunities would be in the areas identified to potentially move to and particularly what would be the employment opportunities for diverse communities. NHS 24 had previously identified an equality outcome to ensure the composition of staff represents the composition of the communities it serves so it was reasonable to include this in considerations. In addition, 12% of NHS 24 staff identify as being disabled so any move needed to take account of their needs.
Consideration was given to how business could be supported within a local community, with staff travelling to and from the site, buying from local shops at break times, using bus and train services (which could help with sustainability of these services) and local garages could be supported.
In addition to financial considerations, a non-financial benefits criteria was established.
A Duty weighting was included within the non-financial benefits alongside other factors such as, 24/7 operational capability, and aspects ensuring safe, effective and person-centred care. This was the first time socio-economic impact and equality were given a weighting that would influence the business case.
The pandemic, physical distancing and additional services being added to the 111 service meant a need for additional office premises. NHS 24 chose premises in Hillington which had a similar score in the SIMD as their previous premises, which afforded opportunities within the local community. Staff have reported that they feel comfortable there and that the building is of good quality.
Through the development of the business case, awareness was raised within the Executive Management Team (EMT) and Board with all Estate Programme Board reports now referencing the Duty. Previously awareness raising sessions had been provided on health inequality to the EMT and Board including on the Fairer Scotland Duty, but being able to apply this on a live project and being involved in the process was really successful.
The Duty was built fully into the business case and was ultimately signed off by two Cabinet Secretaries. NHS 24 are having to continually assess all of its premises for suitability and to address the need for increased capacity. The socio-economic impact is now embedded as part of the non-financial criteria within all Estate Programme Business Cases.
In addition NHS 24 is seeing greater awareness among members of the EMT and the Board on how the Duty can impact on business cases. They are now confident that all discussions being had are about what is important for delivery, staff and how to make sure they run effectively as an organisation, but also how it can influence impact within local communities and improve opportunities locally.
The work is now extending to consider further areas in Scotland where NHS 24 have been carrying work out across the Estates Programme Board looking at suitability in terms of cities, staffing, availability of staff and the socio-economic impact is built in.
1. Evidence on socio-economic disadvantage:
- Scottish Government poverty and income inequality statistics are published annually. A wealth of data is available, including on child, working age and pensioner poverty. The most recent publication was March 2021.
- The Scottish Government published national persistent poverty statistics for the first time in March 2017
- Joseph Rowntree Foundation provide useful analysis on poverty, including recent work by The New Policy Institute on disability and poverty
- DWP’s ‘Stat-Xplore’ provides a guided way to explore DWP benefit statistics, currently holding data relating to 16 different benefits/programmes (login required)
- The Wealth and Assets Survey provides data on wealth inequality in Scotland. The last publication was January 2020, covering the period 2016-2018.
- The Scottish Government publishes national combined low income and material deprivation as part of its annual poverty statistics report. The most recent publication was November 2017.
Area Deprivation/Communities of place
- The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) is the official tool for finding the most deprived areas in Scotland
- The further work done on minimum income standard for remote, rural Scotland may also be useful.
- Review of Equality Evidence in Rural Scotland
2. Evidence on inequalities of outcome:
Communities of interest
- The Scottish Government Equality Evidence Finder is an updated web resource providing equality evidence on key outcomes by subject area and protected characteristic or socio-economic disadvantage. The site includes the National Performance Framework Data Explorer, an interactive tool which provides breakdowns of National Indicators by socio-economic disadvantage where data are available to support this.
- Although a health organisation, the Scottish Public Health Observatory also collates evidence on many outcomes or life circumstances that are important determinants of health.
- The Poverty and Inequality Commission provide key facts and briefings for Scotland and commission research.
- The Improvement Service Community Planning Outcomes Profile is a tool to help assess outcomes including early years, older people, safer/stronger communities, health and wellbeing, and engagement for local communities.
- Scottish Household Survey gathers a range of household information, including data for several of our National Indicators, which can be disaggregated by income or SIMD.
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies is a UK think-tank publishing reports on how economic and social policies affect individuals, families. A key (pre-COVID-19) report estimates what has happened since 2015–16 to household incomes and poverty rates and looks at how they might evolve up to 2021–22.
- Resolution Foundation is an independent UK think-tank focused on improving the living standards of those on low-to-middle incomes.
- The Scottish Government commissioned an evidence review and qualitative research on the experience of fuel poverty.
- Scottish Government publish a wide range of statistics on child poverty.
- The End Child Poverty Coalition has published relative child poverty estimates for local areas in Scotland, down to ward level.
- Child Poverty Action Group publish useful facts and figures on child poverty in Scotland.
- The Scottish Government evidence pack highlights key issues for the six priority family types identified as being at highest risk of child poverty.
Health & Wellbeing
- The Scottish Public Health Observatory provide an online tool to visualise key health inequalities at different geographic levels.
- The Information Services Division (ISD) is a division of National Services Scotland, part of NHS Scotland, that provides health information, health intelligence and statistical services.
- Public Health Scotland provide extensive information on health inequalities.
- National Records Scotland provide annual figures on life expectancy and healthy life expectancy with breakdowns by SIMD.
- Voluntary Health Scotland produce publications including Living in the Gap to support voluntary organisations to understand the causes and impact of health inequalities.
- Scottish Government produces statistical publications relating to Scotland's labour market.
- Nomis is a service provided by the Office for National Statistics to give access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics.
- Skills Development Scotland publish a range of national and regional statistics and reports
- ASHE (Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings)
- Scottish Government publish a wide range of statistics on education outcomes including free school meal registrations.
- Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) surveys people about their experiences and perceptions of crime in Scotland, allowing examination of the varying risk and characteristics of crime for different groups of adults in the population.
Equality and Diversity
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the UK’s national equality body, and publishes extensively on issues of inequality, including that associated with socio-economic disadvantage. The Is Scotland Fairer? series is particularly relevant.
- The Rural Lives report explores financial wellbeing and vulnerability in three rural areas: Harris, East Perthshire, Northumberland.
- Scotland’s Centre for Regional Inclusive Growth gives guidance on City Region Deals, Equality Outcomes, impact assessment and investment decisions.
3. Evidence on what is effective in targeting poverty and inequality:
- What Works Scotland was an initiative that worked from 2014 to 2020 to improve the way local areas in Scotland use evidence to make decisions about public service development and reform.
- A network of What Works Centres beyond Scotland also offer a valuable resource of evidence.
- Joseph Rowntree Foundation have produced various resources on what works to tackle poverty and how decisions may have a social impact.
- Public Health Scotland’s Triple-I is a useful tool for considering targeting strategy and options in health interventions.
4. Resources on engagement to evidence the views of those with lived experience:
Engaging those with lived experience
- What Works Scotland
- Scottish Communities Development Centre
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland – Community Engagement (which was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic)
- HIS and the Care Inspectorate are working with stakeholders to develop a Quality Framework for Community Engagement.
- Third sector interfaces
- Poverty Alliance’s Get Heard Toolkit
- Guidance co-produced by the Poverty and Inequality Commission and Poverty Alliance on involving experts by experience in decision-making
- Community engagement and participation guidance for NHS Boards, Integration Joint Boards and Local Authorities that are planning and commissioning care services in Scotland
The Fairer Scotland Duty Knowledge Hub features a range of resources which will help with evidence gathering and includes examples of practice. To access the Knowledge Hub please register first, then search for the Fairer Scotland Duty KHub and submit a joining request.
Glossary of terms
Appropriate Officer – Each Duty assessment process should be signed off by an appropriate officer. ‘Appropriate’ refers to a level of authority or seniority sufficient to demonstrate that due regard has been given in each case. While this will vary by public body, in the Scottish Government’s case, an appropriate officer would be a deputy director or a director.
Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 – Legislation setting ambitious targets for eradicating child poverty in Scotland by 2030.
Communities of Place – People who are bound together because of where they reside, work, visit or otherwise spend a continuous portion of their time. For example, people in particular rural, remote and island areas.
Communities of Interest – Groups of people who share an experience, for example people who have experienced homelessness or care; or those who share one or more of the protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010; or groups who may share an identity, for example lone parents.
Due Regard – To show that a public body has paid due regard, it should demonstrate active consideration, ideally including participation with communities affected. How much regard is due will depend on the relevance of the decision to the scale of socio-economic disadvantage and inequalities of outcome in relation to each strategic issue – proportionality is key, in other words. Due regard does not mean there is an obligation to achieve a result. Results are, nevertheless, important.
Equality Act 2010 – UK legislation which consolidated and set out new equality duties. The ‘socio-economic Duty’ (which has been renamed the Fairer Scotland Duty in Scotland) formed Part 1 of this Act of Parliament.
Fairer Scotland Duty (the Duty) – Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010 set out a new Duty regarding socio-economic inequalities. The Duty came into force in Scotland on 1 April 2018 (but not in other parts of the UK at that time). It requires public bodies to pay due regard to narrowing the inequalities of outcome, caused by socio-economic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions. The Welsh Government commenced the socio-economic duty for Wales on 31 March 2021.
Inequalities of Outcome – Any measurable differences in outcomes, for example, in relation to health and life expectancy or educational attainment. Socio-economically disadvantaged households have a higher risk of experiencing negative outcomes.
Intersectionality – Intersectionality means recognising that people’s identities and social positions are shaped by multiple factors including age, sex, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation and socio-economic background.
Key Requirement – This is the central expectation of the Duty as set out in this guidance. To meet the Duty, public bodies must actively consider, at an appropriate level, what more they can do to reduce the inequalities of outcome, caused by socio-economic disadvantage, in any strategic decision-making or policy development context. To help demonstrate that the Duty has been met, we recommend public bodies should publish a short written assessment, showing how they’ve done this.
Low Income – Low income is a key driver of a range of negative outcomes and can be defined in a range of ways. Relative poverty (after housing costs) is a useful headline measure, looking at the number of individuals living in households with incomes below 60% of UK median income. But there are a range of other measures too – see the Resources section of this guide for more information.
Low Wealth – Having access to wealth (including financial products, equity from housing, and a decent pension) provides some protection from socio-economic disadvantage, particularly when the wealth comes in the form of accessible savings.
Material Deprivation – This refers to households being unable to access basic goods and services.
Public Sector Equality Duty – This Duty requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010; advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic (as defined by the 2010 Act) and persons who do not share it; and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
Socio-Economic Background – The structural disadvantage that can arise from parents’ education, employment and income – social class, in other words.
Socio-Economic Disadvantage – In broad terms, socio-economic disadvantage means living on below average incomes, with little accumulated wealth, leading to greater material deprivation, restricting the ability to access basic goods and services. Socio-economic disadvantage can be experienced in both places and communities of interest, leading to further negative outcomes such as social exclusion.
Strategic Decisions – These are the key, high-level decisions that the public sector takes, such as deciding priorities and setting objectives. Many of these decisions may be made in the context of public service reform and improving outcomes for people and communities. In general, they will be decisions that affect how the public body fulfils its intended purpose, often over a significant period of time. These would normally include strategy documents, decisions about setting priorities, allocating resources, and commissioning services.
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