A fairer Scotland for all: race equality action plan and highlight report 2017-2021

The race equality action plan sets out the key actions for the Scottish Government to drive positive change for minority ethnic communities.

Participation and Representation

Minority ethnic participation and representation is valued, effective, fair and proportionate at all levels of political, community and public life.

Public Appointments Improvement Programme

We have undertaken a range of activities including: working with umbrella bodies and key partners, such as the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations Scotland ( CEMVO Scotland) and PATH Scotland, to deliver a series of seminars; engaging with existing minority ethnic board members to identify and address barriers to participation, and establishing a mentoring programme for potential Chairs from under-represented groups. Further awareness raising activity and work focused on application and interview skills is planned for 2017-18.

Increase Participation across Politics and Public Life

On 18 May 2017 we announced £50,000 funding to support a joint project with a wide group of equality organisations covering all protected characteristics that will help ensure Scotland's elected representatives truly reflect the diversity of the Scottish population - improving democracy, increasing engagement in public life, and enriching political discourse. Representative organisations engaged with political parties leading to the development of an evidence-based online tool and an app which will allow those involved in political parties, to audit their practices and be supported to remove barriers to becoming involved in politics.

Increase in Minority Ethnic Honours Nominees

Sir Geoff Palmer is now the Honours Independent Reviewer to the Scottish Government and is assisting with the diversity within honours work. The Protocol and Honours team have met with a majority of the Honours Champions appointed within each SG Directorate to discuss their role in promoting honours internally and externally and to increase diversity of nominees. CEMVO included an Honours ad insert in their CEMVO Ethnic Minority Impact Award brochure, for an event last year attended by 500 people representing a cross section of minority ethnic organisations and have asked for an article for this year's event. Edinburgh & Lothian Regional Equality Council is also organising Q & A session where a member of the Protocol and Honours team will attend to explain the process and encourage nominations.

New Statutory Arrangements for Community Planning

Part 2 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 came into force in December 2016 and gives community planning a statutory purpose. It requires Community Planning Partnerships ( CPPs) to take such steps as are reasonable to enable community bodies who wish to participate in community planning to do so. Community participation should inform a clear understanding of distinctive needs and aspirations of communities of place and interest within the CPP area; and decisions about the CPP's priorities and actions. These duties apply to how public sector bodies engage with minority ethnic communities and the bodies that represent them as they do in engaging with other communities and bodies.


The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights ( CRER), in conjunction with Research Scotland, published a Research Briefing "Minority Ethnic Communities and Volunteering in Scotland" in August 2017. This qualitative research on minority ethnic volunteering will support and feed into the evidence and analysis programme being developed to underpin the development of an outcomes framework for volunteering in Scotland.

A Culture Strategy for Scotland

The Scottish Government is working with individuals, artists and practitioners, communities and cultural organisations across the country to develop A Culture Strategy for Scotland. The Strategy will be underpinned by a vision that articulates the powerful and transformative effect that culture has in shaping a democratic, diverse, innovative and open society, enabling everyone to have the opportunity to take part in or contribute to cultural life in Scotland. We are currently engaging with minority ethnic community representative bodies and individuals from those communities to help shape early thinking around the Strategy and prior to issuing a draft Strategy for public consultation in 2018.

Youth Music Initiative

We have worked closely with Creative Scotland and other key stakeholders to help set the new direction and focus of the refresh of the Youth Music Initiative. In 2016-17, there was a clear focus on tackling inequality and supporting the engagement of young people who do not currently take part in music-making, including those from minority ethnic communities. In 2016-17 out of school projects proactively targeted certain groups, with more than a tenth from minority ethnic backgrounds (760 young people).

Tourism & Events

The 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design ( YIAD) and 2016-17 Winter Festivals; supported with funding of £54,000 from the Scottish Government, and delivered by BEMIS Scotland, included 15,000 people from diverse ethnic and cultural communities delivering and attending 63 events across Scotland.

Multi-cultural celebration of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and 2017-18 Winter Festivals; supported with £64,680 from the Scottish Government was announced on 26 April 2017 and will include a significant community events component delivered by BEMIS through an event fund.

Funding of £10,000 was provided by the Scottish Government to VisitScotland ( VS) to enhance the diversity of the images used on the VS websites (consumer and industry). An element of this will include minority ethnic and faith communities.

Sport participation

In January 2016, sportscotland published research on equality in sport participation, funded by EHRC and undertaken by Research Scotland. We have committed to working with sportscotland, EHRC and other partners to develop an action plan in response to the recommendations in this report. An Equality in Sport and Physical Activity Forum is being established and will shape the action plan.

BBC Charter

The new Royal Charter and Framework Agreement for the BBC came into force on 1 January. For the first time, the Scottish Government, along with the other devolved nations, had an active role in the development and delivery of the new Charter and the Scottish Government set out its clear position on the need for greater emphasis on equality and diversity in a policy paper published in September 2016.

The Scottish Government advocated strongly that representing Scotland needed to account for the diversity of the peoples and communities who live here and who are all part of Scotland's story.

Case Study

Themed years

Since 2016, BEMIS has worked in partnership with the Scottish Government and key stakeholders such as VisitScotland, Celtic Connections International Music Festival, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, The Scottish Football Association, Food and Drink Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland and GRAMNet (Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network) to facilitate a national events celebrating Scotland's diverse living traditions.

These events seek to enhance an understanding of and celebration of Scotland's diversity, placing into context migration, shared history, common experience and future aspirations as we evolve and sustain a continually developing 'Inclusive National Identity'.

Since the launch of Race Equality Framework in March 2016, BEMIS has:

  • Funded 63 local diverse cultural community events with over 15,000 attendees as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
  • Held diverse community celebrations in 12 local authorities
  • Facilitated events in every major city - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Stirling and increased promotion of Scotland internationally as a progressive and diverse nation with a strong sense of inclusive national identity.
  • Increased and evidenced proactive participation of local groups in diverse 2016-17 St Andrews Day and Burns Night events.
  • 35 events have been funded so far as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 with 35 events as part of Scotland's Winter Festivals 2017-18.


Back to top