Under its second pillar "Accountability" the NACWG makes a single recommendation that "Scottish Ministers should deliver an Annual Statement, followed by a debate, on Gender Policy Coherence to the Scottish Parliament" to ensure adequate scrutiny of gender competent policy-making.
The NACWG says that this statement should cover: the Scottish Government's work to implement its recommendations, including the creation of Policy-makers National Standards and efforts to ensure lived experience is at the heart of policy-making; how work on gender equality is aligned with the budget process in Scotland, and engagement with business and industry representative bodies to embed gender equality in the private sector in a more strategic way.
The Scottish Government accepts this recommendation. We will develop options for delivering an annual statement and debate to the Scottish Parliament, with reference to detail of the NACWG's recommendation regarding content. Specifically, we will:
- Consider the merits of aligning delivery of a statement and debate with the existing legal duty on Scottish Ministers to publish a report on progress to better perform the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012.
- Continue to explore ways to improve our equality budgeting processes, guided by the Scottish Government's Equality Budget Advisory Group (EBAG). The Chair of EBAG is currently working with members to identify a set of medium to long term recommendations which will aim to influence the shape and process of equality budgeting for the next Parliamentary term from May 2021. As a step forward in the short term, a new approach will be used for the 2021-22 Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget Statement to see if it can provide a more helpful and impactful process and document.
- Explore additional ways of strengthening our individual and corporate responsibility to embed equality and human rights in policy-making as part of the development of our Mainstreaming Equality and Human Rights Strategy.
- Build on progress made in the policy development process for Programme for Government 2020 (Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland), which aimed to embed equality and human rights throughout. As part of the policy development process, officials were asked to assess potential impacts of their proposals on the advancement of equality, human rights, and the reduction of socio-economic disadvantage prior to submission to Ministers. Early proposals were analysed by the Equality and Human Rights Division and a summary of the findings were provided to Ministers to assist in the selection process. Further work is required to embed this approach further and to ensure that proposals are developed based on what evidence tells us will advance equality and human rights.
On 6 November 2019 and 4 November 2020, the Scottish Government took part in an 'Accountability Day' with NACWG members. These are opportunities for the Scottish Government to update the NACWG on progress to deliver its recommendations and receive feedback and constructive challenge from NACWG members. The Scottish Government values its ongoing engagement with the NACWG and we recognise the importance of this to realising our shared ambition for gender equality. We will seek to engage with the NACWG in all aspects of our work to deliver its 2019 recommendations moving forward.
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