Scotland’s ambition and drive on equality is beyond any doubt. Certainly the equality message is clear and embedded in the Economic Strategy with its focus on inclusive growth; it is woven through our Programme for Government and is at the heart of our work around a Fairer Scotland.
The public sector equality duty ( PSED) brings to life these ambitions, providing the scaffolding to drive improvement on equality. Far from tick box exercises, the work on the PSED supports important work happening across the public sector right now. It makes equality an everyday reality; it helps us to improve diversity and wellbeing in our organisations; it helps drive positive action to deliver interventions for our staff and service users where evidence tells us that people are experiencing disadvantage; it helps us track our performance on equal pay.
In December 2013 the Scottish Ministers published a set of proposals to help improve performance on the PSED. This progress report marks the half-way point of a four year collaborative project. My ambition is to create conditions for better performance of the PSED across Scotland and in this time we have created the new Scottish National Equality Improvement Project ( SNEIP) to provide the collective leadership, partnership and collaboration necessary to drive improvement on equality.
The feedback received tells of the huge potential for connectedness and support gained through SNEIP and, going forward, I want to look at how we can build the collaboration. Equality and diversity and compliance with the PSED is a corporate responsibility that should be at the top of every Chief Executive’s agenda. Though transformational change takes time, it is our collective responsibility to meet this challenge and I urge leaders to support SNEIP by championing the mainstreaming agenda in your organisations. Together we need to renew our focus and energy on the PSED if we are to make headway on improving equality outcomes for our employees, for our service users and in wider society.
Alex Neil, MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights