Equality Impact Assessment Record
Title of policy/ practice/ strategy/ legislation etc.
Lantra Scotland Skills Matching Service
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism
Officials involved in the EQIA
Agricultural Holdings and Women in Agriculture Team
Directorate: Division: Team
Agriculture and Rural Economy
Agricultural Policy Division
Is this new policy or revision to an existing policy?
Policy Aim and outcomes
The aim of the policy is to provide a Skills Matching Service (SMS), for land based businesses, animal welfare organisations, animal charities, zoos and others in need of help during COVID 19. The service will provide skilled and semi-skilled, paid and unpaid labour, for livestock and animal welfare purposes, whilst maintaining essential public health measures.
The outcomes will be that potential labour shortages due to the pandemic can be avoided and employment found for those who are furloughed, unemployed or seeking experience in an animal welfare role.
This policy will contribute to progress towards the following national outcomes: an inclusive and sustainable economy; thriving businesses and fair work and quality jobs for everyone; and tackling poverty through sharing opportunities.
The Scottish Government is mindful of the three needs of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) - eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not - and recognises the Skills Matching Service may positively impact on one or more of the protected characteristics
However, where any negative impacts have been identified, we have sought to mitigate/eliminate these. We are also mindful that the equality duty is not just about negating or mitigating negative impacts, as we also have a positive duty to promote equality. We have sought to do this through guidance.
Who will it affect?
This policy will primarily impact on those who have skills in the land-based sectors, but also on those who are unemployed and may be looking for lower- skilled work during the pandemic e.g.: fruit picking. It will bring benefits to communities in terms of sustaining rural businesses through a period of uncertainty, ensuring that they continue to function and contribute to the local economy in rural and remote areas. The policy will help towards increased diversity in the industry, as it will make opportunities more accessible to those who are not well represented e.g.: women, young people, ethnic minorities, disabled people.
Where any potential negative impacts have been identified, we will seek to mitigate them by working with the skills matching service and potential employers and through support and guidance available. All staff will undertake unconscious bias refresher training and challenging conversation training, to enable them to work appropriately with employers to promote the benefits of a diverse workforce.
What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?
The outcomes will not be met if we do not recruit enough suitable applicants, or if businesses do not use the service to find potential candidates for their workforce. Equally, if the matches are not effective, this will also negatively impact on the reputation of the service and on uptake. Matches will be monitored by follow up phone calls to both employers and employees, in order to find out how the situation is working out. Follow up case studies will be prepared to evaluate the success of a sample of matches. A report will be prepared by Lantra for SG evaluating the success of the service after 6 months, and any issues that arise around equality and protected characteristics will be considered and solutions implemented.
Communication and promotion of the service will be essential to ensure it is used, as will the sharing of positive examples of 'matches'. Therefore during this impact assessment process the importance of accessible communication was highlighted, to ensure that as many people as possible are able to access this service. Different forms of media will be used to promote the service, including podcasts and videos with subtitling. The service will offer people support and assistance with completing the form if it is required, either by phone or by video link. As well as the text on the website being in an Easy Read format, a video will also be provided where a farmer explains how the service works. The time-limited nature and budget of the service will not allow for the text to be available into other languages, however were the service to be expanded, this would be re-considered.
Specifically, the EQIA considers impacts on equalities groups based on the three tests it is required to address:
- Does this policy eliminate discrimination for each of the nine protected characteristics? If not is the discrimination justifiable? Can it be mitigated?
- Does this policy advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not?
- Does this policy foster good community relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not?
The service needs to ensure it does provide good matches between employers and applicants, to ensure the outcomes are met and that as many people as possible are able to access this service.
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