Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation Programme 6: A Culture of Delivery - Equality Impact Assessment (Record and Results)
Summary of results for the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) undertaken to consider the impacts on equality of Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation Programme 6: A Culture of Delivery.
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The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) requires the Scottish Government to pay due regard to the need to meet its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 by assessing the impacts of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice in relation to equality. The Scottish Government is mindful of the three needs of the PSED: eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity; and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. We have therefore undertaken an equality impact assessment (EQIA) as part of the process to develop the Delivery Plan for Programme 6 of NSET.
This EQIA aims to consider how a policy may impact, either positively or negatively, different sectors of the population in different ways. Where any negative impacts have been identified, we have sought to mitigate/eliminate these. We are also mindful that the equality duty is not just about negating or mitigating negative impacts, as we also have a positive duty to promote equality. The development of this EQIA has been underpinned by equality legislation and covers the protected characteristics of: age, disability, gender reassignment, sex, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.
The vision of Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), which was published on 1 March 2022, is for Scotland to be a wellbeing economy, thriving across economic, social and environmental dimensions. The strategy sets out an ambition that Scotland's economy will significantly outperform the last decade, both in terms of economic performance and tackling structural economic inequalities.
The task of transforming our economy requires an equally radical transformation in the way we deliver results through the transformational Programmes of Action set out in NSET. Effective delivery is crucial to delivering the strategy's aims, and this must embed and pay due regard to the three needs of the PSED if the strategy is to achieve economic prosperity for all Scotland's people and places, and to have the intended positive impacts on people with protected characteristics.
The sixth Programme of Action, Programme 6: A Culture of Delivery, focuses on implementation of NSET. It introduces a new streamlined delivery model where all participants are clear about their individual roles and accept accountability for their actions, and where partners come together in a 'Team Scotland' approach. It identifies the necessary structures and landscape to support effective delivery and also establishes the metrics and mechanisms to track and monitor our economic transformation, enabling us to continually improve the collective impact of NSET.
A number of Projects and commitments under Programme 6 have already been taken forward and are currently being developed and implemented. However, some of the commitments under Programme 6 are at early stages of development and, as implementation is taken forward and specific actions are identified, this EQIA will continue to be updated in light of further evidence and engagement with stakeholders. This EQIA sets out preliminary and indicative impacts of known commitments in Programme 6 and, alongside further stakeholder engagement, will help inform decisions that are taken in further development and implementation.
Examples of some of the commitments under Programme 6 that have been influenced by evidence gathered as part of the EQIA process are:
Project 16: Strengthening Accountability and Transparency: in light of the data and evidence gathered as part of the EQIA process, it was essential to ensure that membership of the NSET Delivery Board is fully representative of the people of Scotland and has access to information from people with lived experience of having protected characteristics, including a gender balanced approach to membership, representation from minority ethnic communities and the third sector, and a voice for those in rural communities.
Project 17: Transforming the way we provide support: the Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights training programme for economic policy officials will cover themes including the use of equality evidence and intersectionality, and options will be explored for partnership working with academic experts, stakeholder groups and people with lived experience, both to build the knowledge and understanding of officials in their policy-making work and to help improve the evidence base.
Transforming the delivery of support to businesses needs to take into account the many different types of businesses, entrepreneurs and workers who make up Scotland's economy, and one of the drivers for this work is to improve the data available about how under-represented groups access support, which can be used to improve accessibility, fairness and consistency.
Project 18: Measure Success: equality considerations have guided our approach towards NSET evaluation and data collection. Data collected as part of the evaluation and annual progress report will be broken down by equality groups where possible. Additionally, equality stakeholders, including the Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group, will be consulted as part of the ongoing evaluation and monitoring of NSET.
Through undertaking this EQIA, we have identified areas where there are potential direct and/or indirect impacts on different groups and where work can be taken forward to promote equality. This process has demonstrated that NSET delivery and Programme 6 will advance equality of opportunity across all protected characteristics, and in particular for the following groups: age, disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity, and race. This includes through effective delivery of NSET commitments aimed at removing barriers to participation in the labour market and to support Fair Work practices. We have found no evidence of negative impacts for people with protected characteristics at this time.
A summary of commitments in Programme 6 that are expected to have a positive impact on people with protected characteristics is set out below:
- Diverse membership of the NSET Delivery Board;
- Annual reporting to the NSET Delivery Board will include equalities monitoring;
- A Wellbeing Economy Monitor that includes indicators beyond GDP, such as measures on child poverty, levels of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity, and Fair Work indicators; and
- The Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights will seek to work with external experts and stakeholder groups to build knowledge, skills and confidence in economic policy officials and help embed equality and human rights in economic policy-making.
This EQIA has also highlighted areas where there is limited evidence on certain groups, in particular for religion or belief and gender reassignment, and also in relation to intersectionality. This will help inform our ongoing work to develop and strengthen the evidence base in relation to equality and the economy and to intersectionality. This might be further supported by the wider Scottish Government Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP) and stakeholder engagement. Given gaps in the evidence in relation to intersectionality, combined with the impacts of the current cost crisis on people with protected characteristics and low income households, further work will be required to build our understanding of the potential positive and negative impacts of delivery of NSET.
We will continue to proactively consider equality impacts throughout implementation of NSET Programme 6, as set out in the Programme 6 Delivery Plan and NSET overall, creating a prioritised work plan to ensure the Projects and Actions we have laid out are taken forward, with a focus on advancing equality. This approach will support the achievement of the overarching NSET vision of a wellbeing economy and is expected to be reflected over time through the National Performance Framework and the Wellbeing Economy Monitor.
Further equality impact assessments will be conducted as appropriate on specific policies that are developed to implement NSET so that human rights and equality are embedded in delivery of the strategy and to uphold the Scottish Government's obligations under the PSED.
We will publish an annual progress report for the NSET Delivery Board in order to enhance accountability, which will include equalities monitoring. As part of this, we will continue to monitor and engage with the emerging equality evidence as we finalise the content of the report and the common accountability framework with delivery partners.
This EQIA will be subject to further review and revision, including in light of developing evidence and circumstances as NSET is implemented over its 10-year lifespan. This may result in the need to adapt our policies to ensure we mitigate against any direct or indirect negative impacts and deliver positive impacts on people with protected characteristics. We will also seek to improve equality data collection, including through EDIP and Project 18, so that our consideration of the potential impacts of economic policy on people with protected characteristics is informed by a strong and evolving evidence base.
In 2021, the SNP Manifesto made a commitment to delivering Scotland's National Strategy for Economic Transformation. In July 2021, the Scottish Government established an Advisory Council for Economic Transformation made up of business leaders, trade unions, academics and economists to help shape the strategy, which was published in March earlier this year.
In recognition of the breadth of direct and indirect impacts that delivery of NSET will have across all parts of society in all areas of Scotland, an extensive engagement programme has been undertaken with a broad range of stakeholders, including with equality and human rights stakeholders, and through a semi-formal 9-week consultation that received over 260 responses. Building on the pre-publication consultation and stakeholder engagement, since the launch of NSET Ministers have undertaken an extensive programme of engagements, including roundtables, events, and boardroom meetings. In total they have engaged with more than 150 stakeholders across business, public and third sectors in small settings, as well as addressing hundreds more at events including at the Scotland House Vision for Trade Event, Unlocking Ambition showcase event, and the National Economic Forum. The pre-publication and post-publication stakeholder engagement has helped shape and inform NSET's vision and ambition, as well as the six transformational Programmes of Action and their Delivery Plans.
In addition, the NSET Evidence Paper set out evidence on the structure and performance of Scotland's economy, and identified areas for action to deliver transformational improvements in Scotland's economic performance. Evidence concerning economic inequalities and the experiences of people with different protected characteristics in relation to Scotland's economy was brought together in the NSET Equality Position Statement.
A full summary of official and Ministerial stakeholder engagement and evidence and data gathering which has shaped the development of the Delivery Plan for Programme 6 and this EQIA can be found in the Programme 6 EQIA Record section of this document.
Scope of the EQIA
The scope of this EQIA is to consider the impact of NSET's Programme 6 and its Delivery Plan on people with protected characteristics. The economy impacts everybody, regardless of their age, ethnicity, sex and other characteristics. Therefore, the implementation of NSET is expected to impact on everybody. The commitments under Programme 6 are intended to support and drive Scotland's overall economic prosperity to the benefit of all our people. However, just as every person is an individual with particular characteristics and circumstances, their experiences of economic activity and the impacts that Scotland's economy has on their lives are different. Taking a person-centred, intersectional approach to considering the implementation of policies and actions can help to address entrenched inequalities and cumulative impacts on people, and particularly those who experience disadvantage.
As well as the above-noted stakeholder engagement, evidence and data have been gathered and analysed from a range of published national and UK research papers, reports, studies and surveys relating to income and earnings, poverty and child poverty, labour market and employment, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics and data have been gathered from Scotland's Annual Population Survey 2020/21, NSET's Evidence Paper (2022) and Scottish Government Labour Market briefings. Research papers and publications such as If Not Now, When? by the Social Renewal Advisory Board (2021), UK Poverty 2020/21 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan progress reports have also been used to provide evidence.
The evidence-gathering exercise has highlighted areas where there is limited evidence on certain groups, in particular for religion or belief and gender reassignment, and also in relation to intersectionality, which we will seek to address through Project 18, the Equality Data Improvement Programme and continuous stakeholder engagement.
This EQIA has outlined that there are some limitations in evidence and data on groups with protected characteristics in relation to the economy. This, in particular, applies to religion or belief and gender reassignment, and also to intersectionality.
This EQIA has highlighted the need for more comprehensive and higher-quality evidence, as well as insight, to enable us to assess how policy decisions in the delivery of NSET are fair and are advancing equality of opportunity.
Through undertaking the EQIA on Programme 6, we have identified areas where there are potential direct and/or indirect impacts on different groups and where work can be taken forward to promote equality. This process has demonstrated that NSET delivery and Programme 6 will advance equality of opportunity across all protected characteristics, and in particular for the following groups: age, disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity, and race. This includes through effective delivery of NSET Projects aimed at removing barriers to participation in the labour market and to support Fair Work practices.
We have found no evidence of negative impacts for people with protected characteristics at this time; however, we will keep this under review as part of the monitoring of this EQIA, and as the commitments within Programme 6 are developed further over the course of the next 10 years and will be subject to their own EQIAs. For example, there might potentially be a negative impact on relations within and/or between groups from targeting certain NSET Actions.
A full summary of the evidence and data gathering on protected characteristics which has been undertaken to shape the development of the Delivery Plan for Programme 6 and this EQIA can be found in the Programme 6 EQIA Record section of this document.
Recommendations and Conclusion
The EQIA process did not identify indirect or direct discrimination through the policy intentions of Programme 6. It has shown that despite limited evidence for some protected characteristics, evidence for the wider context shows that the impact of Programme 6 will be positive and will advance equality of opportunity across all protected characteristics. In particular, this advancement applies to the following groups: age, disability, sex, pregnancy and maternity, and race. For religion or belief, gender reassignment and intersectionality we have particularly limited data. We have found no evidence of negative consequences at this time; however, in line with best practice we will keep this under review as part of the monitoring of this EQIA.
Where limitations in data and evidence have been found we will seek to strengthen the evidence base. Project 18: Measure Success, will continue to work to improve data collection in relation to protected characteristics, and consider how such data could link with other relevant publications such as the Wellbeing Economy Monitor. This work may be also supported by the wider Scottish Government EDIP programme and through further stakeholder engagement, including with the Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group.
For some of the commitments under Programme 6, specific policy interventions are either at early stages or are yet to be developed. As these develop they will require their own EQIAs, which should also be subject to periodic updates throughout the duration of the strategy to ensure that barriers for each protected characteristic are fully considered.
This EQIA will be kept under regular review, with new data and evidence analysed as we improve data collection to monitor the impact the delivery of Programme 6, and, by extension, the overall delivery of NSET, is having on people with protected characteristics.
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