Local Housing Strategy: guidance 2019

Guidance to support a local authority to prepare a Local Housing Strategy (LHS).

3. Equalities

- Legislative Requirement

3.1 Section 106 of the 2001 Act states that local authorities must exercise the functions conferred on them by the Act in a manner that encourages equal opportunities and observance of the equal opportunity requirements set out in the Equality Act 2010. More information on legislation to protect the rights and welfare of disabled people in Scotland can be found here.

3.2 Section 149 of The Equality Act 2010 includes a statutory public sector equality duty to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
  • Advance equality of opportunity;
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

3.3 The statutory duty requires consideration of the protected characteristics:

  • Age;
  • Disability;
  • Sex;
  • Pregnancy and Maternity;
  • Gender reassignment;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Race;
  • Religion and Belief; and
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership (with regard to eliminating unlawful discrimination in employment).

3.4 The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 as amended also place obligations on listed authorities, including local authorities, to assess and review policies and practices. The specific duties are designed to help listed authorities meet the general public sector equality duty and are discussed further below in relation to Equality Impact Assessments.

3.5 To support Scottish public authorities in meeting their equality duties, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced technical guidance on the Public Sector Equality Duty in Scotland and a range of non-statutory guidance, including on equality outcomes, evidence, and making fair financial decisions. Local authorities are encouraged to consider this guidance prepared by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission on how public authorities can meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and to use latest and accurate equalities data and research to help inform LHS priorities and outcomes.

3.6 Local authorities should ensure that equality is central to all housing and housing services delivery. The LHS should include a statement that reflects the local authority’s commitment to addressing inequalities in housing and provide details on how this will be achieved.

3.7 Local authorities are expected to demonstrate how findings from an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) have translated into priorities and outcomes in the LHS.

3.8 More information on legislation to protect the rights and welfare of disabled people in Scotland can be found here.

- Fairer Scotland Duty

3.9 Given the strategic nature of housing delivery, local authorities, in developing a LHS, should give due consideration to the Fairer Scotland Duty which came into force in April 2018 (Equality Act 2010, Part 1). This duty places a responsibility on the public sector to reduce inequalities of outcome, caused by socio-economic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions. A housing case study is included in the Fairer Scotland Duty guidance.

- Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

3.10 An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) is required where a policy or strategy affects people either directly or indirectly. An EQIA has been prepared by the Scottish Government to accompany this guidance and a copy is located here. The Scottish Government would therefore expect to see a full EQIA undertaken on a LHS. An EQIA should be undertaken at the same time as the development of the LHS so that findings from the EQIA can actively inform the LHS. The EQIA process should be proactively looking for opportunities to promote equality. In making the assessment, local authorities must consider evidence, including evidence received from equality groups and address any issues identified in a LHS.

3.11 The EQIA should be referenced in the LHS with a web link provided to the full EQIA. The LHS, EQIA and SHIP should all be available on the local authority website within a reasonable time to fully comply with the general Equality Duty and the specific duties.

- Health Inequalities Impact Assessment

3.12 The Scottish Public Health Observatory web page contains data on health inequalities for NHS boards, local authority and health and social care partnership areas that local authorities may wish to consider.

3.13 In developing a Local Housing Strategy, local authorities may wish to consider undertaking a Health Inequalities Impact Assessment (HIIA) to help it understand the impact that its policies are having for reducing health inequalities. Local authorities should be aware that a HIIA encompasses EQIA, Human Rights and Health Impact Assessment all as part of the one assessment and consider this when developing impact assessments to support the development of a LHS. Local authorities can consider the following tools and resources and if it prepares a Health Inequalities Impact Assessment, a web-link to a copy should be provided:-

- Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment

3.14 A Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) should be undertaken as part of a joint assessment with the EQIA with any outputs published separately. A CRWIA will also support local authorities with their reporting duty under Part 1 Section 2 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. Guidance on prepare a CRWIA together with case studies is located here.

- Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment

3.15 Local authorities may decide to extend the EQIA process to include wider Human Rights considerations and produce an Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessment. Local authorities are encouraged to consider the PANEL Principles as a guide to breaking down what a human rights approach means in practice.


Email: lisa.bullen@gov.scot

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