Lantra Skills Matching Service: equality impact assessment

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) for the Lantra Skills Matching Service, established during COVID-19 to help provide emergency labour and work opportunities in the animal welfare and land-based industries in Scotland.

Stage 1: Framing

Results of framing exercise

The purpose of the policy is essentially to support employers in recruitment and help people find work appropriate to their skill level. As a matching service, which selects individuals primarily on the basis of an application form detailing their skills and experience, it will mitigate against some of the potential discrimination that can arise in the form of unconscious bias, which is more likely at the interview stage. Trained staff will receive the application forms and assess them against consistent criteria, and then attempt to match them with a suitable opportunity. At that point the potential employer will be sent the initial information about the candidate, but without information on protected characteristics. The employer will then arrange to interview the candidate, to check their suitability for the post. Protected characteristics will only be shared at this point, with the applicant's permission. Therefore, the policy has the potential to advance equality of opportunity, as the employer is interviewing the candidate on the basis that they have the skills and experience required, regardless of whether they are a woman, an older or younger person, a disabled person etc.

In the land based industries in Scotland, certain groups are less well represented e.g.: women; some ethnic minorities. There is limited data on ethnic minorities working in these industries. The Agricultural Census shows that 42% of all working occupiers and spouses on Scottish farms are women but that only 7% are the principal farmer. Challenges facing women within the sector were outlined by the Women in Agriculture taskforce[2], with similar (but different) challenges existing within Forestry[3] and Aquaculture[4] . There is work underway to address gender inequality in Scottish Agriculture through the implementation of the WIA taskforce's recommendations. This includes a training programme for Women in Agriculture, designed to build confidence, enhance business skills and develop leadership abilities; as well as policies to improve rural childcare and to address the cultural practice of gendered succession.

Extent/Level of EQIA required

The skills matching service deals with employment opportunities, a key area of inequality for many of the protected characteristics. It is therefore necessary to consider the impact on each of the protected characteristics in turn, and to evaluate these against the three duties of the Equality Act: to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between different groups. It should also be noted that as this is an emergency service, to be set up as a rapid response to the Covid-19 pandemic, that whilst due regard will be given to all possible impacts, it may be beyond the scope of the service to make provision for every eventuality.



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