Scotland's equality evidence strategy 2017-2021

Describes the Scottish Government’s approach to strengthening Scotland’s equality evidence base.

6. Scope of the Strategy

This equality evidence strategy will outline our general approach to strengthening Scotland's equality evidence base and filling evidence gaps over the next four years. It will set out where there are evidence gaps and, where possible and applicable, it will link the evidence gaps identified to the relevant policy, programmes, legislation, and measurement frameworks. For example, a high priority evidence gap for the Scottish Government could link directly to an existing policy programme such as the Race Equality Framework or a measurement framework such as the National Performance Framework [6] . Other public sector organisations and local communities may have a different understanding of their data and their priorities, and new analytical insights developed to evidence these should be shared widely to help strengthen Scotland's equality evidence base.

The strategy at this stage won't specify and define individual projects required to fill the gaps that have been identified. Rather, it will set the approach by which such decisions are made. Defining specific projects to fill gaps will be actioned at a later stage. Where the data gap is relevant for the Scottish Government to fill we will aim to work collaboratively with partner organisations. We would hope that other agencies would also aim to work collaboratively with us and with each other to share good practice in data measurement and analysis.

The nine protected characteristics [7] covered by the Equality Act 2010 are within scope. The Equality Evidence Strategy will also look for important intersectional evidence gaps, which is the term generally used to refer to combinations of protected characteristics - for example older disabled men, younger Muslim women, or disabled transgender people.

Socio-economic disadvantage is another area that is in scope. Socio-economic disadvantage has an important impact on Scotland's people but is difficult to measure and obtain reliable data on. It would be useful for inclusive policy making to have more data breakdowns by socio-economic status and perhaps even to cross-tab this data with data on the protected characteristics to show, for example, if the effects of socio economic disadvantage differ for certain ethnic groups [8] .

The Fairer Scotland Action Plan states that, in 2017, the Scottish Government will introduce a new socio-economic duty on public bodies. The public sector is key to delivering a fairer Scotland and this new duty will help make sure that the sector takes full account of poverty and disadvantage when key decisions are being made. Key to understanding socio-economic disadvantage will be the development of a good evidence base on the prevalence and experience of socio-economic disadvantage for people with different protected characteristics. For example, the Cabinet Office [9] conducted some exploratory work, considered potential measures and conducted a study [10] into the socio-economic background of senior staff. If more socio-economic data on Scotland's population becomes available through national sources we would aim to analyse it and present it on our Equality Evidence Finder.

Although building the range and depth of information presented on the Equality Evidence Finder web resource is the strategy's main focus, it has a wider aim of supporting and encouraging Scottish Government directorates, analysts and agencies to publish more equality-disaggregated data and research findings. Making the most of the data and other evidence collected is a key overarching goal.


Email: Jon Hunter,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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