Mainstreaming equality: Scottish Government's equality duties

Outline of Scottish Government's duties under the Equality Act 2010.

Equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

We are putting this principle into practice by making equality considerations part of our everyday work.

UK Parliament responsibilities

The power to legislate on equal opportunities is reserved to the UK Parliament.

Scottish Parliament responsibilities

The Scotland Act 1998 gives the Scottish Parliament power to encourage equal opportunities (particularly observing equal opportunity requirements).

It also has the power to impose duties on Scottish public authorities and cross-border public bodies operating in Scotland.

The act defines equal opportunities as:

"the prevention, elimination or regulation of discrimination between persons on grounds of sex or marital status, on racial grounds, or on grounds of disability, age, sexual orientation, language or social origin, or of other personal attributes, including beliefs or opinions, such as religious beliefs or political opinions."

Public sector equality duty

The public sector equality duty (or general duty) in the Equality Act 2010 came into force in 2011.

It means Scottish public authorities must have 'due regard' to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination
  • advance equality of opportunity
  • foster good relations

In 2012 Scottish Ministers made regulations that placed specific duties on Scottish public bodies to help them meet the general duty. These are also known as the Scottish Specific Duties.

Equality outcomes and mainstreaming reports

We publish reports under the specific duties:

A summary of the report in British Sign Language (BSL) can be obtained by emailing

Scottish Ministers' Duty

We published the following reports to meet the requirements of the specific duties:

Equality and the budget

We want to be confident that our financial decisions help produce positive outcomes for everyone in Scotland. This is at the heart of Scottish Ministers' ambitions for a socially just nation.

We have developed a systematic approach to assessing budget decisions for their impact on equality groups.

Assessing the equality impact of policy proposals and related spending means the experiences of different groups must be taken into account. This means that budgets can be targeted to benefit specific groups which helps to avoid, or reduce, particular negative impacts.

The equality assessment of the budget is presented in an Equality Statement, published each year alongside the Scottish Draft Budget.

Equality and Budget Advisory Group

The Equality and Budget Advisory Group is a non-statutory advisory group that provides advice on our approach to embedding equality considerations into the Budget process.


Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs)

The specific duties mean we must carry out and publish Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs).

EQIAs help us to develop policies that do not discriminate against, or disadvantage, particular groups of people.

Our Equality Unit provides advice, training and guidance to our staff on equality and EQIAs.


Email: – Central Enquiry Unit

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

Scottish Government
Equality Unit
Directorate for Local Government and Communities
Victoria Quay

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