Non-binary equality action plan: equality impact assessment

Equality impact assessment (EQIA) for the non-binary equality action plan.

Chapter 1: Background and Scope


The EQIA is set out into three chapters.

The first chapter provides a background to the Non-Binary Equality Action Plan as well as the scope of the EQIA.

The second chapter summarises the data and evidence on non-binary people in Scotland relating to the protected characteristics.

Finally, the third chapter strategically looks at the actions outlined in the plan to identify impacts related to the protected characteristics, and sets out where specific actions or mitigations are needed to enhance positive impacts or mitigate potential negative impacts.


In a June 2019 parliamentary statement on gender recognition reform, the then Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People said:

I do not intend at this time to extend legal gender recognition to non-binary people but we recognise the need to address the issues that non-binary people face. I intend to establish a working group to consider possible changes to procedures and practice and what we can learn from best practice internationally as well as from within Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The commitment to undertake work to improve non-binary equality was reiterated in our Programmes for Government and the Bute House Agreement.[2]

The Working Group on Non-Binary Equality (‘the Group’) first met in Spring 2021 following delays due to the pandemic. It was independently chaired and composed of key stakeholder organisations, academics, and non-binary people. Officials from the Scottish Government Equality and Inclusion Division provided secretariat support and facilitated meetings, but were not members.

The Group published its report and recommendations[3]in March 2022 which included 35 recommendations to improve the rights and wellbeing of non-binary people in Scotland. The recommendations spanned three categories: healthcare; data and law; and access to services.

The Scottish Government issued its response[4]to the Group’s report and recommendations in July 2022, accepting or partially accepting the majority of recommendations and committing to consider some recommendations further. The action plan contains final decisions on these recommendations which were considered further after the publication of the Scottish Government’s initial response. In total, the Scottish Government accepted or partially accepted 31 out of 35 recommendations. Four were declined due to not being achievable or deliverable.

The Non-Binary Equality Action Plan 2023-2028 sets out the actions to deliver the accepted and partially accepted recommendations made by the Group and meets our commitment to publish the action plan in the 2023-2024 Programme for Government.

EQIA Scope

This EQIA sets out evidence of non-binary people’s experiences living in Scotland in accordance with the protected characteristics, and describes how measures have been arrived at to address negative impacts or promote positive impacts and advance equality.

A number of evidence sources have been considered to help frame this assessment. The findings of the Group have also been key to framing how the Scottish Government progressed with the Non-Binary Equality Action Plan.

Given the lack of data and evidence on non-binary people, we held an engagement phase on the action plan, which involved focus groups with non-binary people to gather their views on the actions in the plan. Key LGBTQI+ organisations such as Equality Network, Scottish Trans, Stonewall Scotland, LEAP Sports Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland and LGBT Health & Wellbeing were also involved, alongside some former members of the Working Group on Non-Binary Equality.



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