Race equality action plan: final report

Progress made on the actions in the Race Equality Action Plan 2017 to 2021 and action taken to tackle race inequality in response to the 2020 to 2021 COVID-19 pandemic as well as action from 2021 onwards to implement the aims of the Race Equality Framework 2016-2030.

2. Executive Summary

This summary is designed to provide an overview of progress throughout the three years of the REAP. Action has been broad in scope and extensive in reach, and all of our action is documented in full in the Annexes.

This report shows that the Scottish Government has made marked progress, in particular in areas of Employability, Employment and Income, (identified as a particular area of interest for the REAP from the end of Year 1 onwards), Education and Lifelong Learning and Participation and Representation. Case studies from these three areas illustrate measurably improved outcomes for minority ethnic people in Scotland in areas such as ethnicity data monitoring, staff recruitment and retention, and public appointments.

There were 120 initial actions devised as part of the original REAP in 2017 as well as 57 updated actions, some of which are updated versions of some of the original 120, and some of which are new actions entirely, stemming from a reprioritisation exercise at the end of Year 2 of the REAP. We also must take into account the considerable and momentous changes as a result of COVID-19, the reality of the UK's exit from the European Union and the light shone on systemic racism as part of the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020.

Sections 1-3 of this report serve as background and introduction to the report, covering the scope of what is covered and an overview of progress as well as the effects of the past year on race equality in Scotland. Section 4 highlights the mainstreaming approach taken by the Scottish Government to embedding lasting change and ensuring policy coherence, and the foregrounding of race equality in our policy, legislation and services across the Scottish Government.

In Section 5, we highlight a number of case studies from work on race equality over the course of the REAP, also taking into account complementary and additional race equality work that the Scottish Government has undertaken in addition to the REAP, particularly in the light of the unusual years of 2020 and 2021. These case studies represent some highlights of our work over the last three years, as well as some of the ways the Scottish Government has worked to advance race equality in line with the Race Equality Framework for Scotland (REF).

This past year has cast into sharp relief the inequalities of health outcomes for minority ethnic people in Scotland. COVID-19 has been shown on multiple levels to effect ME people more severely. That is why, as part of our work to implement the recommendations of the Expert Reference Group on COVID-19 and Ethnicity (See Case Study 1), we are carrying out a baseline assessment of the sources, quality and completeness of ethnic coding in health and care records. Public Health Scotland is also leading a programme of work to establish a clearer picture of the impact of COVID-19 on minority ethnic people in Scotland.

Below are some of the notable actions from the REAP period 2017-21, which are detailed in full in Annexes.

To help increase minority ethnic representation in the workplace, we worked closely with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to establish their equality action plan for apprenticeships. Building on this, a range of guides for SDS learning providers have been developed, which have included best practice for engaging with minority ethnic communities. These resources have been translated into multiple languages. We also worked with partners in the social enterprise sector to provide 1-to-1 business support to minority ethnic entrepreneurs, including support for their business' response to COVID-19.

In February 2021, SG launched its Race Recruitment and Retention Plan, setting in place an ambitious plan of action to address imbalances of power through an explicitly anti-racist approach, as well as to build a culture of inclusion within the Scottish Government (See Case Study 10). We aim to broaden this approach across the Scottish public sector more widely.

We have almost doubled Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) provision to 1,140 hours, which will be fully implemented by August 2021. In order to boost take-up among those seldom heard, including minority ethnic families, we funded a bespoke outreach project and translated the materials into six languages.

In July 2020, we published guidance for health and social care staff on risk assessment for COVID-19, including ethnicity as a risk factor, and this tool determines the safety of continuing to work for employers in this sector. 9 health boards in Scotland have also established minority ethnic staff networks to help amplify the voices of minority ethnic staff. In line with our Programme for Government commitment for 2021, a new National Public Sector Ethnic Minority Network is being established, with an initial focus on NHS Scotland.

A review of the housing needs of minority ethnic groups was published in January 2021, which, along with an overview of the needs of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland, has informed our Housing to 2040 plan, to best serve the needs of minority ethnic Scots. As part of our route map for Housing to 2040, Scotland's first ever long-term national housing strategy with a vision for what we want housing to look like and provide to the people of Scotland, we will make up to £20 million available over five years for more and better Gypsy/Traveller accommodation from 2021-22. Building on the £2 million of short term funding in 2020-21, this represents a sustained investment to support local authorities to improve and widen access to Gypsy/Traveller accommodation. We will also continue to work with Gypsy/Traveller communities to make sure their needs are embedded in housing and planning policy.

Our review of the Scottish Social Housing Charter's Equalities outcome means that social landlords must collect data relating to each and every protected characteristic for tenants, and sets out the responsibilities for social landlords in order to provide for the needs of their minority ethnic tenants. Reflecting our data on the communities best served, the Scottish Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreements and easy read notes have been translated into Urdu, Punjabi and Polish, and are available on the Scottish Government website.

Following Lord Bracadale's Independent Review of hate crime legislation in Scotland, and our subsequent public consultation on its recommendations, the Scottish Government introduced the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill on 23 April 2020. This Bill provides for the modernising, consolidating and extending of hate crime legislation in Scotland. With regards to race and race-related hate crime in the Bill, the Scottish Government has pursued a distinct approach from the Bill's other characteristics, due to the historical and structural nature of racism, the prevalence and seriousness of race hate crime and the impact that this has on community cohesion. The Bill successfully passed the Parliamentary process on 11 March 2021.

We supported the development of the Scottish Minority Ethnic Women's Network (SMEWN), which has 140 registered individual members and has enabled minority ethnic women in Scotland to network, develop a collective voice, build partnerships and mentor each other.

Despite the pandemic, a programme of events of Gypsy/Roma/Traveller (GRT) History Month went ahead online in 2020, involving traditional craft-making, story-telling and discussions on identity, and has led to plans for a potential online GRT museum. We have funded a post at COSLA with the sole focus of supporting Gypsy/Traveller engagement in local authority areas. Our dedicated Gypsy/Traveller Action Plan details progress on these and other outcomes, and is due to be published in March 2021.

Across the Scottish Government, our guidance relating to equality in procurement was reviewed, and the updated guidance was endorsed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). We developed a course in equality in procurement which has gone on to train 90 public sector procurement practitioners from across central and local government, to encourage them to identify and pursue equality outcomes as part of their valuable procurement work.

Section 6 looks forward to where our attention is focused on our next programme of race equality work. This must take us measurably closer to the long-term vision and goals of the Race Equality Framework for Scotland (REF), as well as to recognise the need to balance immediate action and longer-term structural change.

That is why, following the conclusion of the REAP, we will be taking a twin-track approach, with an 18 month "bridging plan" of immediate actions, based upon the recommendations of the newly established ERG, to tackle both healthcare and systemic inequalities during the crucial recovery period. During this time, we will be formulating a long-term further plan of actions that align closely with the objectives of the Race Equality Framework (REF), which will work to develop a longer-term change programme to tackle systemic discrimination which results in racial inequality.


Email: charlie.goodwin@gov.scot

Back to top