Resource Spending Review Framework: Analysis of consultation responses

Analysis of responses to our consultation on the Resource Spending Review.

Annex G: Note of Meeting with the Equality Budget Advisory Group

Please note that this is an excerpt from the minute of an event which covered a wider variety of topics. Given the nature of the meeting and note-taking, this note takes a different format from those set out above. For the purpose of this document and the consultation analysis, the points relevant to the RSR process have been included below.

Meeting between the Minister for Equalities and Older People and the Equality Budget Advisory Group (EBAG) to discuss EBAG recommendations and the Resource Spending

12:30 – 13:30, 4 May 2022


Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People & Equalities
Professor Angela O'Hagan – Glasgow Caledonian University and EBAG Chair
Kenny Stewart – Equality and Human Rights Commission
Mirren Kelly – COSLA
Chris Birt – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Sara Cowan – Scottish Women's Budget Group
Alison Hosie – Research Officer, Scottish Human Rights Commission

Summary of key points

  • The Minister welcomed EBAG and members introduced themselves. She indicated she was keen to receive challenge from EBAG to help improve our approach to embedding equality and human rights in budget processes.
  • The Minister provided an update on the Scottish Government's response to the EBAG recommendations, informing the group that a draft would be provided later in May for consideration and feedback at EBAG's next meeting on 23 May 2022. Due to the redeployment of resources to support the Ukraine resettlement work, the intention was now to publish a full response in the summer, following feedback from EBAG.
  • There were reflections from EBAG surrounding process of the Resource Spending Review (RSR), summarised as follows:
    • There was a risk that initiatives like the RSR continued to see equality and human rights 'retrofitted' to the process rather than integral to considerations at the outside and sufficiently designed into the process.
    • There was recognition of the scale of the challenge and emphasis of the importance of the approach being strategic and whole system.
    • Disappointment was expressed around the perceived lack of involvement of EBAG during the process of the RSR, noting that aside from input in February there had been little to no engagement. EBAG therefore felt somewhat marginalised throughout the process and that their skills had not been fully utilised.
    • EBAG wanted to understand how they would be involved in the decision making after the evidence gathering stage of the review as well as how the evidence is being used to affect the decision making.
    • It is important that decisions are not made in silos as this could have detrimental impacts to other areas of government and equalities. The National Strategy for Economic Transformation was cited as an example where equality and human rights was seen as not sufficiently present in considerations.
    • There was a suggestion that publishing EQIAs that were used to support the decision making process in a consistent and easy to access manner would improve transparency on decisions.
    • The experience of EBAG in this context led to further reflections on the purpose and intent of EBAG, which is timely given form and function is currently under consideration.
    • There was a specific question about the Scottish Government's Equality Outcomes, noting that these operate to a similar timescale to the RSR, and whether they have therefore influenced the direction of the spending review.
    • Views were expressed that the Scottish Government's consultation process could feel quite extractive and that capacity building is needed around this as noted in the EBAG recommendations. It was also noted that despite the commitment to involve EBAG being present in the Resource Spending Review Framework, this had not happened as expected.
  • The Minister responded that she:
    • Appreciated the feedback from EBAG and was disappointed that they felt they were not part of the RSR process and that the process itself did not appear to be sufficiently visible.
    • Emphasised the importance of a focus on outcomes as much as process.
    • Would welcome views from EBAG on how they think they can be involved more effectively in future.
    • Offered reassurance that equality teams and finance teams within the SG have been collaborating closely throughout this Review.
    • Invited EBAG to reflect further and offer advice on how the process can be made more transparent for them and how they can best be utilised to shape the process effectively.
  • The Minister thanked the group for their expertise and constructive challenge, which reflected the purpose of their establishment. She indicated that she would be keen to meet with EBAG members again soon to reflect further and discuss progress on the issues raised. She also suggested that a meeting between EBAG members and the new interim Director General for Economy, Louise MacDonald, may be helpful and would be happy for officials to follow up with the Director General's office if so. Officials noted that the Director General was due to attend that afternoon's meeting between Ms Forbes and equality stakeholders on the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.



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