Race equality framework for Scotland 2016 to 2030

This framework sets out our approach to promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality between 2016 and 2030.

The Framework's Approach

The Scottish Government is determined that Scotland should be doing all that it can to advance race equality, tackle racism and address the barriers that prevent people from minority ethnic communities from realising their potential. The Race Equality Framework for Scotland has been developed with an understanding of the urgent need to avoid and eradicate institutional racism wherever it is found. We recognise that much progress has been made.

However, in order to ensure public confidence that our policy and public institutions are working for the good of all our citizens we need to deal with the systems and practices that, even if unwittingly, perpetuate and fuel inequality. That means understanding the norms, values and behaviours that influence culture and practice within organisations and wider society, and tackling the factors which sustain discriminatory or biased practice.

In light of this, our work in developing the Framework has been underpinned by key principles, which involve:

  • Creating awareness of how race equality benefits the whole of society
    • Developing a society-wide awareness that this is not a marginal issue for Scotland, that society is undermined when racial discrimination and racism is allowed to persist, and that action to promote race equality benefits the whole of society
  • Developing a detailed understanding of racial inequality and racism
    • Accepting that understandings of racial inequality and approaches to tackle racism in society need to be nuanced, contextual and fluid; and that an approach is required that tackles structures, behaviours and attitudes which contribute to or sustain inequality and discrimination in all its forms, including institutional, social and personal
    • Acknowledging that racial inequality is a product of discrimination and disadvantage; measuring progress on race equality therefore means measuring the impact that current and historical racism and discrimination have on the groups of people who have been affected by this
  • Promoting policy and practice that is evidence based
    • Encouraging interventions based on robust information about what works to tackle racial inequality and racism and which build in evaluation from the start
  • Complementing mainstreaming approaches with lawful positive action
    • Undertaking additional, targeted work where needed to address the impact of current and historical disadvantages faced by minority ethnic people
  • Valuing capabilities and capacities
    • Encouraging asset-based approaches that recognise the capabilities and capacities of minority ethnic individuals and communities, and which value diversity and discourage stereotyping
    • Accepting that capacity building can only go so far towards tackling inequality, and must be complimented by action to tackle the social, institutional and structural factors that underpin racism and disadvantage
  • Looking at race equality from intercultural and intersectional perspectives
    • Understanding that individuals and communities have dynamic, fluid identities and world views which relate to many facets of their lives, and that racism and racial inequality can combine with other types of discrimination and disadvantage to affect people's life experiences, needs and perspectives

Since our first long-term equality strategy in 2000, we have put equality and tackling inequality at the heart of key government strategies. The promotion of equality is reflected in our National Outcomes, our Equality Outcomes and is at the heart of the very Purpose of Government, 'to focus government and public services towards creating a more successful country, with opportunities of all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth'.

The Race Equality Framework for Scotland sets out the Scottish Government's long-term ambition and our approach to promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality between 2016 and 2030. The Framework applies to the areas of policy that the Scottish Government is itself responsible for, for instance education, health and housing. Some policy areas are reserved to the UK Government, for instance immigration policy and the Framework does not apply in these areas.

Our approach to equality continues to be informed by the Equality Act 2010 and our unified equality legislation. We support a mainstreaming approach that captures all protected groups. We will therefore persist with efforts to change organisational cultures and practices so that an equalities perspective becomes an integral part of the formulation, design and delivery of policy, legislation and services and becomes embedded into the fabric of the Scottish Government itself. Mainstreaming complements lawful positive action [2] that is designed to address long-term disadvantage experienced by specific groups.

The Scottish Government recognises the need for a specific policy approach to race equality to complement this wider approach to equality for a number of very specific reasons. Of these, there are two which are particularly important to an understanding of 'why race?' First, Scotland's changing demography and an increasingly diverse and multicultural population requires that public services respond to and accommodate these changes. Secondly, wider international events outside our control can have a negative impact and provide the potential to fuel racism here in Scotland; in this wider context it is important for Scotland to have a stated public policy on race equality and the right structures and policies in place to fight against racism and positive action to promote race equality.

This approach will have benefits for race equality today, and forms the foundations of a preventative approach which will help to protect future generations from the impacts of racism and racial inequality, delivering a Scotland that is fair for all.

To achieve this, the Race Equality Framework for Scotland will take a long-term, partnership based approach, working with all sections of society including the Scottish Parliament, the EHRC, public sector bodies and agencies, established networks and forums, third sector and all communities. Amongst the stakeholders involved in developing the Framework there was a strong feeling that previously, short-term 'quick fixes' have not worked, and that long-term action needs to be taken on the ground across organisations and sectors to ensure progress. Therefore, this Framework sets out both what the Scottish Government will do and its expectations of the ways in which other stakeholders and partners can contribute by working in partnership to progress race equality in Scotland over a 15-year period.


Email: race-equality-team@gov.scot

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