Public Sector Leadership Summit on Race Equality in Employment: report

This report summarises the outcomes of the Public Sector Leadership Summit on Race Equality in Employment that was held by the Scottish Government in March 2021.

2. Opening Remarks

2.1 Introduction

2.1.1 Following the introduction by Paul Johnston, Director General for Communities at the Scottish Government; Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People welcomed everyone attending and highlighted the significance of the event.

She outlined the Scottish Government’s approach to race equality and some of the actions it had taken to tackle racism in Scotland.

2.2 The Vision for Race Equality in Scotland

2.2.1 Ms Somerville referred specifically to the Race Equality Framework 2016-2030, which set out the long-term vision for race equality in Scotland; and the Race Equality Action Plan 2017 – 2021, which set out specific actions the Scottish Government was taking in order to advance race equality, tackle racism, and address the barriers that prevented minority ethnic[3] people from realising their potential.

2.2.2 Reference was made to the undeniable impact of COVID-19 and its role in exacerbating existing inequalities experienced by minority ethnic Scots. Ms Somerville made clear that the Scottish Government’s economic and social recovery programme would place a sharp focus on addressing inequalities.

2.2.3 She further highlighted the importance of recognising intersectionality and dismantling compounded barriers that, for example, minority ethnic women, disabled people and the LGBTI community faced in the workplace. She reiterated the need to recognise and fight other inequalities simultaneously.

2.3 Equality in the Public Sector

2.3.1 Ms Somerville went on to speak about advancing equality through the Scottish Government’s Fair Work approach, with Fair Work being a key driver for achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and a wellbeing economy. She noted that race equality within employment was a key priority across the sector and to aid this, Scottish Government was in the process of developing a Fair Work position on race, which would make employers aware of the specific systemic challenges that needed to be addressed to ensure minority ethnic workers were supported and their voices heard.

2.3.2 She also mentioned the resources that had been developed, including the Minority Ethnic Recruitment Toolkit, aimed to support employers improve the recruitment of minority ethnic people.

2.3.3 She further spoke about actions taken to advance race equality in the NHS and mentioned that meaningful standardised equality objectives would be set for all Health Board Chairs as of 1 April 2021. She made clear that this would make Board Chairs would be responsible, in their scrutiny and assurance roles, for demonstrating visible support for minority ethnic staff and in turn, Chief Executives would be accountable for delivering outcomes on tackling workforce race inequalities in the NHS. These objectives would focus on support and empowering new and existing minority ethnic staff networks. Setting these objectives for Chairs would also mean there would be clear lines of governance at Health Board level in taking the recommendations of the Expert Reference Group on COVID-19 and Ethnicity forward in an effective way that would deliver outcomes for minority ethnic staff.

2.4 Race Equality Looking Forward

2.4.1 Ms Somerville indicated that further work was in train, including the new Hate Crime Bill for Scotland, which would incorporate the Convention of the Eradication of Racial Discrimination, further protecting and advancing the rights of fellow Scots.

2.4.2 She further acknowledged the need not just to tackle institutional racism but to take it further, by explicitly and actively taking an ‘anti-racist’ approach, and embedding this into policies, services and cultures.

2.4.3 She concluded by indicating that the programme of race equality work over the period 2021-2026 had already begun. She stated that the Scottish Government welcomed ongoing conversations with a wide range of people, communities and organisations as this immediate work continued to form the baseline for a programme of work which matched ambitions and took organisations measurably closer to the long-term vision and goals of the Race Equality Framework. This included improving outcomes for minority ethnic people employed in Scotland now and in the future.



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