International equalities legislation: key findings

Insights from international research from six countries to advance equality.

Key findings from international equalities legislation: insights to advance equality from six countries

About this work

In May 2023 the Scottish Government commissioned research to further inform policy decisions regarding Scottish Government’s current review of The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (SSDs).

What were the aims of the research?

The aim was to inform the Scottish Government of practice to advance equality in countries who were progressing work on equality with a focus on similarities, differences, gaps, and opportunities.

Which countries’ policies did we investigate?

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Wales

Research Methods

Between May & September researchers from Leading Kind Ltd used a three-phase, multi-method approach that included content analysis of legislation and guidance, a literature review, and interviews to collect quantitative and qualitative data.

  • They considered evidence from six countries.
  • They examined 22 pieces of legislation and supporting guidance.
  • They conducted an extensive literature review.
  • They interviewed people working in 10 organisations.

What key questions did they ask?

  • What are the key similarities and differences with Scotland’s legislative frameworks (regarding the promotion of equality) in the chosen countries?
  • What is the evidence of the effectiveness of the equality-related legislative frameworks in these countries?
  • How is evidence of impact published and measured?
  • Are there areas of learning relevant to the Scottish Government’s current review of the effectiveness of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) regime, with a focus on the effectiveness of the SSDs?

What did we learn that could be useful for the review of the Scottish Specific Duties?

1. Conscious Scrutiny

Governance at every level, along with a clear understanding of responsibility to monitor progress and challenge inaction has significant impact.

2. Informed Evidence

Improving data sets and augmenting these with evidence from the lived experiences of people subject to disadvantage to enhance impact.

3. Equality Outcomes

Using evidence and insight to set equality outcomes that support sectors and regions prioritise action to tackle the most persistent inequalities helps drive progress.

4. Considering Impact

Enhancing approaches to equality impact assessment, using evidence, and linking to scrutiny is an effective combination.

5. Tackling Pay Gaps

We can see the efficacy of providing clarity on methodology and committing to actions that address pay gaps.

6. Inclusive Communications

Expanding our understanding of accessibility could have far reaching impact. We are learning that Inclusive Communications is about more than font size and format. It’s about embracing cultures and helping to break down barriers.



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