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.


Policy Aim

The vision of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), 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.

Analysis of the available evidence has identified six interconnected, transformational Programmes of Action to shift the economic dial and deliver our vision. Together they tackle long term structural challenges, build on our economic strengths and position Scotland to maximise the greatest economic opportunities of the next ten years in a way that will transform the very fundamentals of how our economy works.

The task of transforming our economy requires an equally radical transformation in the way we deliver results through the policy programmes. Effective delivery is crucial to delivering the strategy's aims, and this must embed and pay due regard to the three needs of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) if the strategy is to achieve economic prosperity for all Scotland's people and places and have the intended positive impacts on people with protected characteristics.

The PSED is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as a duty on public authorities to: eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity; and foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Specifically, this equality impact assessment (EQIA) assesses any impacts of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the needs relevant to a public authority's duty to meet the PSED.

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. Programme 6 identifies the necessary structures and landscape that will support effective delivery and transform the way in which the Scottish Government and business listen to, support and work with each other. To provide clarity and ensure accountability, Programme 6 also establishes the metrics and mechanisms that will allow us to track and monitor our economic transformation, which will enable us to continually improve the collective impact of NSET.

NSET is aligned with Scotland's National Performance Framework[1] and Programme 6 contributes to achieving all of the National Outcomes[2].

For example, Project 16, and in particular Action 65 to establish the NSET Delivery Board, is intended to contribute to the following National Outcomes:

  • Economy – a strong, competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy;
  • Fair Work and Business – thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone;
  • Environment – protect and enhance our natural resources;
  • Health – health and wellbeing through actively promoting healthy public policy; and
  • Education – a well-educated, skilled and able society.

Project 17, and in particular Action 64 to establish a Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights, is intended to contribute to the following National Outcomes:

  • Economy – a strong, competitive, entrepreneurial, sustainable and inclusive economy;
  • Fair work and business – thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone;
  • Human rights – respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights and living free from discrimination; and
  • Poverty – tackling poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally.

In line with the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012,[3] the Scottish Government has a duty to 'publish a set of equality outcomes which it considers will enable it to better perform the equality duty' at intervals of not more than 4 years. Delivery of NSET is expected to support the following Equality Outcomes for 2021-25[4]:

  • More robust and comprehensive data will be gathered on the characteristics of people in Scotland, identifying and filling evidence gaps. Equality data will be used much more frequently to develop and adjust service delivery, contributing to the mainstreaming of equality and human rights.
  • Disparities in labour market outcomes for women, disabled people and ethnic minorities will have improved. Employer practice will have improved and workforces will be more diverse and inclusive through effective approaches embedded to tackle workplace inequality.
  • We will have made progress towards reducing inequalities and advancing equality of opportunity and outcome - most notably across the Protected Characteristics of age, disability and sex - through the implementation of the National Transport Strategy; and transport services will become fairer to access, easier to use and more affordable. The NTS2 recognises that by ensuring access to suitable transport facilities it will lead to the fulfilment of other human rights, in line with the National Performance Framework and Scotland's international human rights obligations.
  • During the current equality outcome cycle (2021-2025), people with lived experience of inequality and exclusion will be more involved in informing and co-designing policy and practice that affects them, and their voices will be better reflected in public policy across Scotland.

NSET Programme 6 contains three specific Projects which, together, provide the structure, accountability, support and data that 'Team Scotland' needs to successfully deliver economic transformation.

Project 16: Strengthen Accountability and Transparency - will lay the groundwork for a culture of delivery and accountability by sharing objectives and clearly allocating responsibilities across all sectors. The new, robust governance structures will increase transparency and enable the Delivery Board and Economic Leadership Group to hold delivery partners across Scotland to account. Where possible, and within the powers that are available to us, multi-year budgets will provide greater certainty and planning confidence for business and delivery partners. The best available data will allow our Delivery Board to take evidence-based decisions, respond in an agile manner and prioritise with confidence. That is particularly important during the current cost crisis.

Specifically, Project 16 will:

  • Restructure the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board (ESSB) to become the NSET Delivery Board
  • Establish a Scottish Government Economic Leadership Group
  • Introduce a common accountability framework with delivery partners, responsible for delivering specific programmes, establishing key milestones and agreeing metrics of success
  • Ensure the NSET Board has the best available data, drawn from the public sector, academic and private sources

Project 17: Transform the Way We Provide Support - will change the way in which the public sector in Scotland provides support for business and provide greater clarity on the support they can expect at a local, regional, national and international level; our strategic guidance to the agencies will ensure that their activity is framed by, and consistent with, the priorities set out in NSET and that they play their part in its delivery; and we will work collaboratively across sectors to consider how regulation can be used to support economic and societal aims more efficiently and effectively.

On regulation specifically, Scotland's approach is about better regulation, not deregulation, and focuses on five key principles: it should be transparent, proportionate, consistent, accountable and only where needed. The Scottish Government, however, recognises the regulatory burden on businesses and remains committed to improving regulation to deliver sustainable economic growth, to provide a favourable business environment, but also, crucially, to ensure protections for workers and our environment, aiming for an inclusive economy in which more people and businesses can grow and flourish.

We anticipate working closely with business leaders and organisations to co-produce a robust and effective business support landscape. We aim to build on the work of the Business Support Partnership, which already exists to drive forward change and brings together representatives from the Scottish Government, Scottish Local Government, Scotland's Enterprise and Skills Agencies, and other public bodies with a key role in supporting the economy, such as Skills Development Scotland, Creative Scotland and VisitScotland.

By establishing a Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights within the Scottish Government we will also advance our understanding and embed equality and human rights within the economic policy-making process. The Centre will support our entire approach across NSET by building capacity and embedding consideration of equality and human rights in economic policy development. It is intended to work with external stakeholders to increase economic policy officials' knowledge, understanding and confidence concerning equality and human rights, and support wider work to identify and address gaps in data and evidence. It is anticipated that the work of the Centre will have indirect impacts on the wider community, in particular individuals and groups with protected characteristics and people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, as well as other groups facing structural barriers, such as people with experience of care.

Specifically, Project 17 will:

  • Establish a programme to radically transform the way in which the public sector in Scotland provides support for workers and businesses
  • Ensure that strategic guidance to our key delivery agencies aligns with the priorities and delivers the Programmes of Action set out in NSET and is consistent with multi-year budgeting that will allow delivery partners to plan ahead
  • Target support more effectively to businesses in every region of Scotland through introducing a common business identifier to be used by every delivery partner
  • Work with stakeholders to consider how regulation can be used to support economic and societal aims, and use this work to continuously improve the approach to regulation and guidance in the future
  • Establish a Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights within the Scottish Government, advancing our understanding and embedding equality and human rights within the economic policy-making process, as agreed in the Economy Recovery Implementation Plan

Project 18: Measure Success - will capture the impact of NSET activity. To support increased accountability, we will publish annual progress reports and ensure a consistent approach to evaluation that will then drive coherent and informed improvements and spending decisions. In line with our commitment to a wealthier, greener and fairer Scotland, our Wellbeing Economy Monitor[5] will ensure we look beyond traditional economic metrics and maintain delivery focus on driving our recovery to meet climate and nature targets, while ensuring we maximise and share the benefits fairly as part of a just transition, and improve collective wellbeing.

Specifically, Project 18 will:

  • Publish an annual progress report for the NSET Board in order to enhance public accountability (including equalities monitoring)
  • Publish a Wellbeing Economy Monitor
  • Ensure a consistent approach to evaluation to drive continuous improvement and a greater understanding of the Return On Investment (ROI) in assessing the impact of support, which will guide future spending decisions
  • Finalise detailed NSET delivery plans

This EQIA has been informed by engagement and discussions with a broad range of stakeholders, including equality and human rights organisations, and this will continue as the Projects and Actions are further developed and implemented. Potential impacts have been assessed based on the evidence gathered through stakeholder engagement and discussions, as well as through the NSET Evidence Paper[6], the NSET Equality Position Statement[7], and other evidence-gathering exercises leading up to publication of the Delivery Plan for Programme 6 and this EQIA.

It should be noted that the Wellbeing Economy Monitor, which was published on 24 June 2022, has been considered not to require an EQIA, and the relevant declaration to this effect has been completed. Therefore, this EQIA does not consider the Monitor. The Monitor brings together a range of indicators to provide a baseline for assessing progress towards the development of a wellbeing economy in Scotland. It involves the provision of analytical products that will not have a direct impact on individuals or other policies. Rather, it provides a monitoring tool across a range of economic, social and environmental measures to track progress towards achieving a wellbeing economy. Development of the Monitor was informed by consultation with stakeholder groups and it will continue to be refined as new or better data become available. The initial set of indicators includes two measures with an explicit focus on specific protected characteristics (gender pay gap and young people's participation rate), and others which reflect equality more broadly (income inequality and wealth inequality). Although an EQIA is not required, due regard will be given to the accessibility of online resources and to providing access to equality data where appropriate, and we will continue to engage with equality stakeholders regarding progress on these measures.

Who will it affect?

The economy impacts everybody, regardless of their age, ethnicity, sex and other characteristics. However, we know that people with some protected characteristics can be disproportionately affected, for example women, disabled people and minority ethnic people. We also recognise that protected characteristics intersect, therefore we have considered them on an intersectional basis. The implementation of NSET is expected to impact on everybody. The Projects 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.

Several Actions across the strategy's Programmes specify that they will be targeted at under-represented groups. Examples include:

"Set targets and focus on providing access to support programmes from amongst the most under-represented groups, particularly women, those on low incomes and those without qualifications at further or higher education, including the six priority groups at greatest risk of child poverty. This would include the offer of financial support for those who are unable to afford time out from a full-time job or caring responsibilities to develop ideas. An early priority will be to deliver our commitment to review how we support more women into entrepreneurship." (Entrepreneurial People & Culture)

"Systemically address Scotland's labour market inactivity challenges. Assess trends within different labour market inactive groups and understand what steps can be taken to bring more individuals into the labour market – including through the use of childcare and transport provision, part-time/flexible working, support for employees with disabilities, and business start-up and work from home opportunities. This is inextricably linked to reducing child poverty, including the approach of pathfinders to test how to ensure holistic support enables parents to enter, sustain and progress in work." (Skilled Workforce)

Although Programme 6 underpins implementation of NSET as a whole and is relevant to Actions across the strategy, this EQIA relates to the approach to, and culture of, delivery that Programme 6 is concerned with, rather than the specific Projects and Actions contained in the other Programmes. An EQIA on the expected impacts of NSET as a whole has been produced, and there are parallel EQIAs on the other five Programmes. In that context, a summary of how the Projects within Programme 6 might impact, both directly and indirectly, people, including different groups of people, and communities, is provided below.

Project 16

Project 16 is primarily based on the creation and management of a range of governance bodies, groups and boards (such as the NSET Delivery Board and Economic Leadership Group), and the ongoing support of such groups through the provision of evidence and data collection. Project 16 also has a wider set of goals around establishing a common accountability framework across delivery partners who will deliver specific NSET Projects. While equality indicators are not part of the metrics for most NSET Projects under the Framework, they are being monitored for the economy as a whole, for example through the Wellbeing Economy Monitor. Additionally, and where data allow, individual metrics of success will be broken down by different equality groups.

To further strengthen available evidence and evaluate outcomes from Projects, a series of logic models will be developed to show the link between specific Programme activities and outcomes. For NSET specifically, logic models will assist in setting out the evidence we have (and the evidence we need), identifying external factors which may influence specific Programmes, and identifying the shared outcomes (including wellbeing outcomes) to which each Project and Programme contributes.

To oversee the successful implementation of NSET, the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board has been restructured to form a new NSET Delivery Board. The NSET Delivery Board is solely focused on delivery and accountability, rather than policy development or strategy. Its role is to ensure the successful delivery of the interconnected policy Programmes; to challenge and adapt any aspects that do not deliver on the ambitions of the strategy; and to prioritise based on what is most important, timescales, and where the greatest influence can be brought to bear. Board member champions will assist in specific areas if there are significant delivery concerns.

The NSET Delivery Board is made up of experienced leaders, appointed because of their professional experience in delivering results across the public, private and third sectors. Specifically, members have: a proven track record in senior executive leadership and delivery; experience of operationalising a complex and inter-connected series of policy actions and deliverables; experience of shaping and applying Programme and Project Management (PPM) principles in the delivery of major public or private sector projects; and strong analytical skills and the ability to link evidence to desired outputs and outcomes to review progress, prioritise investment, challenge, and identify new ways of working.

The Delivery Board is diverse in its approach to membership, ensuring all six Programmes have representation on the Board. The Board is fully representative of the people of Scotland, including a gender balanced approach to membership, minority ethnic representation and a voice for those in rural communities. It also consists of third sector expertise, with members championing and driving forward the fairer and more equal society agenda and equality considerations across the delivery of NSET to ensure that no one is left behind.

While it is not anticipated that Project 16 will itself directly impact upon any individuals or protected characteristics, the intent is for the plans, policies and projects that it supports to have a positive (or at least a neutral) impact on individuals across Scotland. Similarly to Project 18 discussed below, any specific impacts will be noted in Project-specific EQIAs.

Project 17

Action 71

Action 71 commits the Scottish Government to ensuring that strategic guidance to our key delivery agencies aligns with the priorities and delivers the Programmes set out in NSET. It provides clear direction to agency Chairs on priorities for the year ahead and outcomes we expect the agencies to deliver at agency level and as part of partnership working. The work taken forward by the Enterprise and Skills Agencies impacts businesses and other enterprises (including third sector), communities and individuals. The extent of their reach (domestically and internationally) underlines the importance attached to ensuring they are delivering effectively, with partners, across the economic development and skills landscape. The Agencies are required to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty in the Equality Act 2010 and the Scottish specific duties set out in the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012. As a funder of college and university delivery, the Scottish Funding Council also reports on those institutions' progress in delivering equality outcomes as well as its own outcomes as an employer.

Action 70 and Action 72

Action 70 will assess the current delivery landscape from a user perspective – taking into account the many different types of businesses, entrepreneurs and workers who make up Scotland's economy – and develop and implement a new operating model that is designed to support NSET priorities. Action 72 is directly linked to the overall transformation programme described for Action 70, and will establish common data sets and systems that will enable greater joined up working and an improved user experience for businesses and individuals across the country. The changes to be made through these Actions have not yet been identified. However, it is anticipated that the outcomes will directly affect organisations that are represented on the Business Support Partnership, including the Enterprise Agencies and local authorities, as well as businesses in Scotland that access support from the public sector. 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.

Action 73

Action 73 focuses on improving the way the Scottish Government develops and implements regulations, include reviewing all the existing powers and processes to identify where changes could be made to support both businesses and regulators in achieving our strategic aims. The changes to be made have not yet been identified. However, we anticipate that outcomes will directly affect Scottish Government employees in the way they develop and implement regulations. The impacts may affect both businesses and regulators, depending on the changes implemented, particularly through the way government engages with them. Improved regulation processes could potentially benefit the whole of Scotland, though it is acknowledged that specific regulations may affect different groups differently and this will require further exploration.

Many regulations have important environmental and societal aims, which will benefit the public, while improved processes will ensure that the impact on businesses and regulators is appropriate and economic opportunities are maximised. In response to the ongoing cost crisis, the Scottish Government has engaged with business to identify regulations causing significant cost concerns. Any changes to planned regulations are complex, with wide-ranging implications, and while reducing burden is key at this time, as noted above, many of these regulations have important environmental and social aims which cannot be delayed, or indeed bring economic opportunities for sections of the business community. We are committed to continuing to work with business on upcoming regulatory requirements to understand any actions that can be taken to mitigate costs or support implementation while still meeting wider aims of regulations.

Action 64

The Centre of Expertise in Equality and Human Rights will be built on:

  • an internal policy network to provide peer-to-peer support and challenge;
  • an ongoing training programme to equip policy officials with skills and knowledge;
  • thematic sessions with external partners to explore in depth how the implementation of NSET Programmes and Projects can help address equality and human rights issues;
  • an academic partnership to bring insight and expertise in gender economics to policy making and support improvements in the evidence base.

It is anticipated that the Centre will directly affect Scottish Government economic policy officials and officials in Enterprise Agencies through increasing their knowledge, understanding and confidence concerning equality and human rights and the economy.

It is further anticipated that the work of the Centre will have indirect impacts on the wider community and in particular individuals and groups with protected characteristics and people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, as well as other groups facing structural barriers, such as people with experience of care, through building capacity and embedding consideration of equality and human rights in economic policy development to implement NSET Programmes and Projects.

The Centre also has the potential to support wider work to identify and address gaps in data and evidence in relation to equality and human rights and the economy.

Project 18

Project 18 does not cover any one specific policy action. It is based around delivering the various programmes within NSET, monitoring their implementation, embedding equalities monitoring as part of the wider reporting process and ensuring that there is a consistent approach to evaluation of Projects across NSET as a whole.

The implementation of NSET Actions will impact everyone in Scotland regardless of age, ethnicity or other characteristics. The Projects within NSET cover a range of Actions and some people may experience complex and interconnected issues relating to one or more of the protected characteristics.

As Project 18 is based around the implementation and evaluation of other Projects, it is not expected that Project 18 will impact on different groups of people directly, however it may have a number of indirect impacts. For example, Project 18 will monitor how NSET activity impacts on different groups, including those with protected characteristics. It is also likely that the monitoring and measurement of NSET Actions informs the future development of implementation so that NSET responds to changing needs, and this could support the achievement of better outcomes for people with protected characteristics.

What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?

Achieving the desired outcomes will require government, public sector, businesses, trade unions, third sector and social enterprises across all industries and sectors to take action and work together in a 'Team Scotland' approach to delivery.

Factors that might prevent the desired outcomes from being achieved for each Project within Programme 6 are outlined below.

Project 16 and Project 18

Achieving the desired outcomes will be dependent on:

  • Successful engagement with Programme and Project teams across NSET, in creating delivery plans and the ongoing evaluation of the implementation of Projects;
  • The availability of relevant equality data of sufficient quality, disaggregated by protected characteristic where possible; and
  • Decisions made by Ministers informed by the NSET Delivery Board.

For Action 65 on establishing the NSET Delivery Board, which sits under Project 16, the following factors might prevent outcomes being achieved:

  • The Board receiving insufficient information to enable it to ensure the strategy is being successfully implemented;
  • The Board being unable to rely on the quality of information or make informed judgements on deliverable priorities; and
  • Significant change in personnel or organisational structure undermining the aim of the accountability framework.

Mitigating actions that have been taken to address these factors are:

  • A PPM system was introduced to track the progress of NSET Actions, ensuring consistent information is available to the Board across a range of areas, including progress towards key milestones;
  • Programme Senior Responsible Officers (SROs) will provide assurance and the Portfolio Board will quality assure information provided to ensure that options presented to the NSET Delivery Board are affordable and deliverable;
  • The accountability framework will be updated on an annual basis and published alongside the annual progress report.

If breakdowns by equality groups, sectors or regions are not included when measuring success of Programmes and Projects, this could inadvertently impact on specific groups as any future decisions made by the Board would not take such impacts into account. Guided by the needs of the Board, due attention will be paid to any evidence gaps identified in the course of the work with the intention to provide the Board with the best available data.

To support increased accountability, we will publish annual progress reports, which will include equalities monitoring, and ensure a consistent approach to evaluation that will drive coherent and informed improvements in spending decisions. As the monitoring and measurement of NSET Actions will inform the future implementation of Projects and decisions made by the NSET Delivery Board, improved data collection for equality groups could support the achievement of better outcomes for people with protected characteristics. As part of the monitoring process, the NSET Governance and Analytical Unit will engage with a number of stakeholders, including the Equality and Human Rights Budget Advisory Group.

Project 17

Achieving the desired outcomes will be dependent on:

Action 71

  • Clarity over priorities;
  • Agencies taking all opportunities for joint working and collaboration;
  • Eliminating and removing any duplication with Scottish Government activity; and
  • Businesses, communities and individuals understanding how to access agency support.

Action 70 and 72

  • Successful engagement with stakeholders; and
  • The requirement for specialist technical resources.

Action 73

  • Successful engagement with stakeholders; and
  • The impact of other urgent priorities that may require resources to be diverted, such as COVID-19 or the cost crisis.

Action 64

  • Successful engagement with partners and stakeholders to draw on external expertise, insight and evidence, including to plan and deliver training and the proposed thematic sessions;
  • Availability of high quality data across all protected characteristics and the effective use of that data; and
  • External circumstances that could potentially divert attention and resources to other priorities, both for the Scottish Government and partners, such as responding to the cost crisis.



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