Race Equality Action Plan programme board minutes: May 2019

Minutes from the meeting of Race Equality Action Plan (REAP) programme board, held on 29 May 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Paul Johnston, Director-General, Education, Communities & Justice (chair)
  • Lesley Fraser, Director for Housing & Social Justice
  • Joe Griffin, Director for Early Learning & Childcare
  • Nicky Richards, Director, People Directorate
  • Gavin Henderson, Deputy Director Civil Law & Legal System
  • Kaliani Lyle, Independent Member
  • Sean Neill, Deputy Director Health Workforce


  • Jatin Haria, Director, CRER
  • Rebecca Marek, Policy Officer, CRER


  • Stephen Gallagher, Director for Local Government & Communities
  • Lisa Bird, Deputy Director Equalities, Human Rights & Third Sector 
  • Fiona Robertson, Director of Learning
  • Joanne Streeter, Head of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Dominic Munro, Director for Fair Work, Employability & Skills


  • Hilary Third, Equality Unit
  • Harry Dozier, Equality Unit
  • Grazia Ragone, Equality Unit

Items and actions


Paul Johnston welcomed everyone to the Race Equality Action Plan (REAP) Programme Board meeting. He encouraged continued openness in our discussions. 


The board approved the minutes with an amendment to the discussion around the Independent Adviser and the need for improvement methodology experience was desirable but non-essential.


Coalition for Race Equality and Rights (CRER), presented a paper with statistics on the key disparities in employment experienced by minority ethnic people in Scotland.

They felt one area for further investigation is the fact that applications from ME groups are often high. However, based on the evidence they presented, the appointment rate is lower than expected.

The board agreed that interview processes needed to be examined. It was explained that from the recent Scottish Government B-band recruitment, Scottish Government was already looking at their own recruitment practices. 

CRER also raised the need for improved evaluation and data samples. They recommended a separate piece of work using booster samples. 

The board continued to discuss improved outcomes for ME communities in employment and how Scottish Government could demonstrate best practice for the rest of the public sector. 

General questions about employment that the board raised were: 

  • where to get evidence and advice on how to improve processes
  • what best practice is already available. 
  • how can we improve interview feedback to ME applicants
  • how can we improve diversity on panels 
  • what is the career path of ME applicants once inside organisations
  • how can we improve data

It was explained that in government, most recruitment was not done centrally. In central recruitment there was more success in retaining ME applicants. This information needed to be shared for individual recruitments in areas. It was questioned how improved delivery could be built into objectives and performance management. 

The board questioned if there needs to be a sub-group specifically for employment.


The board agreed that it was worth doing a rigorous piece of work to examine what’s happening in recruitment and how it could be done differently. 

It was agreed that action focussed data was a priority. It was mentioned that the childcare workforce recruitment data could be used as a case study. However, the board agreed that a lack of data did not mean a lack of action in the meantime.

The board noted that Fair Work Directorate lead on employment policy for Scottish ministers and that People Directorate lead on employment practice for SG as an employer.

Representatives from Justice and Health agreed to work with CRER to support improved data collections within their portfolios.

Board priorities

It was agreed that the boards overall vision needed to be linked in with the work of the Scottish Leaders Forum. Discussing the board’s vision could be part of a workshop day for the board.

The board discussed the need to review and prioritise actions to ensure a focus on actions with the greatest impact. This would require consultation with experts and further discussion about improvement methodology. 

There was a question about how the board can be realistic about targets for the action plan and, if necessary, deprioritise actions. The board agreed this would require a better understanding of the expected impact and a larger political discussion should focus of the plan change. 

The board agreed that Social Security would be invited to provide an update on what’s worked and what hasn’t in their recruitment. There should also be an update from health on what work is being done around improved recruitment in the NHS.

Delivery group

The board welcomed the actions the delivery group were taking to pull together actions in the plan as a programme of work. It was agreed that this would support a steer towards impact measurement instead of a ‘tick box’ approach.

It was noted that an information sharing and training workshop for all officials working on the plan was scheduled for June. 

Next meeting

It was agreed that at the next meeting there should be updates in relation to employment from:

  • social security
  • NHS

There should also be a wider discussion about the overall vision of the board. 


  • Paul Johnston to organise a meeting to discuss ownership of employment actions
  • Harry Dozier to circulate further information on employment from CRER 
  • Harry to liaise with Social Security and Health colleagues ahead of next meeting
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