Tackling inequality: guidance on making budget decisions

Informal guidance for policy makers on equality and human rights budgeting. The booklet challenges policy makers to systematically think through 6 key questions to identify ways in which budget decisions could be improved to advance human rights and address inequalities. Budget decisions include both those made about the money we spend and decisions about how revenue is raised.

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Annex A: Glossary of Key Terms

Budget line: expenditure on a specified activity.

Equality budgeting: using evidence and analysis to examine and restructure revenue and spending decisions to improve outcomes for people in Scotland across the protected characteristics, and how they intersect, with the aim of making more effective and targeted use of public finance. In practice this means analysing the implications of any budget decision in terms of individuals with different protected characteristics and how those characteristics, such as sex, race, class, disability and age, intersect with one another.

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA): the assessment by a public authority of a new or revised policy or practice, to evaluate how well it meets the duties to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.

Fairer Scotland Duty: Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010 set out a new Duty on socio-economic inequalities. It came into force in Scotland from April 2018, and requires public bodies to pay due regard to narrowing the inequalities of outcome, caused by socio-economic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions.

Fairer Scotland Duty assessment: the written assessment that shows how public bodies have actively considered 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. Interim guidance sets out the process for undertaking a Fairer Scotland Duty assessment. The 6 questions in this booklet are closely aligned with the asks set out in Stage 2 (Evidence) and Stage 3 (Assessment and Improvement) of the Fairer Scotland Duty process.

Gender budgeting: an approach that recognises the gendered dimensions that structure people’s lived experiences and are present across all policy domains and so produce different outcomes for women and men, boys and girls. Understanding gendered assumptions and how these structure paid and unpaid work, access to education, and access to and use of services underpins gender analysis of spending and revenue decisions. Gender budgeting uses this evidence and analysis to examine and restructure revenue and spending decisions to eliminate unequal outcomes between women and men.

Human rights: the basic rights and freedoms to which everyone in the world is entitled, without discrimination. Although there are international treaties and covenants around human rights there are currently limited domestic legal duties.

Human rights budgeting: this is about ensuring that individuals:

  • have their minimum core rights upheld (minimum essential levels of service)
  • experience progressive realisation (things get better over time)
  • benefit from maximised resource generation and maximum use of available public resources (the most is made of available resources in order to meet rights)

It also requires active participation of people affected by budget decisions and transparent, accountable reporting of decisions.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR): an international agreement which seeks to promote and protect a range of human rights; came into force in 1976.

Intersectionality: the interconnectedness of people’s different characteristics, such as ethnicity, sex and socio-economic background, which can create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination and disadvantage.

Minimum core obligations: the obligations considered necessary to meet the minimum essential levels of each of the rights under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These obligations are context-dependent and will look different for different states.

National Performance Framework: the framework sets out a purpose and outcomes for Scotland which describe the kind of Scotland we are aiming to create, the values we want to see in Scotland’s society, and indicators which measure progress against the national outcomes. Available at: https://nationalperformance.gov.scot/

Outcome: the result or consequence (as opposed to an output, which is what is done or produced).

Participatory budgeting: process by which local people can allocate a pre-determined budget for spend in their local area.

Policy: a policy can be an overall objective, a guiding principle or a specific action to be taken with the aim of achieving an objective. It is sometimes seen as what governments (central or local) decide to do, or not to do.

Protected characteristic: the 9 protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. It is illegal to discriminate against anyone because of one (or more) of these characteristics.

Public bodies: organisations within the public sector, which play an important role in delivering public services and for which either Scottish Government or Scottish Parliament is responsible.

Public Sector Equality Duty: part of the Equality Act 2010, which requires public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. It came into force in April 2011.

Revenue: monetary income, usually of a state or organisation.

Socio-economic disadvantage: living on a low income compared to others in Scotland, with little or no accumulated wealth, leading to greater material deprivation and restricting the ability to access basic goods and services.

Third sector: organisations or associations which are not part of government and do not make profit. This includes charities, cooperatives, and voluntary and community groups.


Email: Gillian.Achurch@gov.scot

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