Information

Workplaces programme: equality impact assessment - summary

Equality impact assessment (EQIA) for our workplaces programme.


Workplaces: Equality Impact Assessment Summary

Introduction

The Scottish Government (SG), together with Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), are working jointly on a programme to deliver new ways of working across the central Government estate.

Part of this involves significant change for both individuals, teams and business areas. The programme supports In the service of Scotland our vision for the Scottish Government. There is a growing need for the organisation to become more flexible and responsive to changing demands, e.g. short term growth and flex within the organisation.

Scottish Government current office provision was modelled on practices that assumed that most work would be desk based, and that there would be a dedicated desk per individual.

Over time, our business requirements have changed and we have moved to a more flexible open plan structure, and have expanded our hot-desking capacity and support for flexible working from a range of locations.

These changes provide a sound foundation for us to consider further improvements to workspaces, use of enabling technologies and underpinning policies to embrace new ways of working. This supports changes to business processes, working practices and improve the work/life balance, and health and wellbeing of our people.

Our Commitments

We are committed to:

  • making our workspaces more flexible and responsive to everyone's needs
  • improving the experience of using these facilities
  • getting the best value we can from the costs of running our office buildings
  • increasing the range and number of different spaces within our office buildings

What we have done

Smarter Workplaces has introduced:

  • a Laptop First approach where individuals are given a laptop, unless there is a specific case to maintain a desktop (e.g. if specific software is required or other medical reasons)
  • a universal principle for the programme that encourages greater flexibility across the organisation
  • a consistent workspace look and feel for the organisation
  • equal access to refurbished utilities, hybrid meeting spaces, touchdowns and breakout spaces (i.e. space is available for all colleagues using the buildings)
  • range of guidance has been produced to support users in smarter working
  • Wi-Fi provision across the estate, without the need for a secure token
  • improved multi-faith and contemplation facilities
  • improved choice of toilet facilities
  • work with business areas to ensure that any specific needs are catered for during moves, taking into account existing Occupational Health and Safety requirements for individuals in areas (which may include the requirement for a specific workstation to be fixed to an individual when they are in the office but useable by others when they are not)

Changes based on Feedback

  • Disabled height sinks
  • Gender Neutral Toilets
  • Grace's sign
  • Ablution facilities and multi-faith rooms
  • Contemplation Room
  • Reviewed carpet choices and colour schemes
  • Laptop First Strategy over deployment of mini-pcs
  • Secure Wi-Fi connection over hard cabled network connection
  • Range of seating options at different heights
  • Range of furniture solutions for individual and team working

What if colleagues have issues in Workplace?

If colleagues have an issue after moving to their new space then in the first instance they should speak their line manager. If required individuals/managers can then contact Occupational Health and Safety Branch for further assistance. Any recommendations from a DSE (display screen environment) will then be implemented to ensure no adverse effects.

Key Links

Further information on Workplaces is on Saltire.

Communication channels

Table 1: Communication Channels for the Smarter Workplaces Programme

Engagement avenue:

Workplace Divisions Operational Board

Details:

As lead any issues related to Workplaces can be raised at this forum, including any that are specific to the protected characteristics.

Engagement avenue:

Council of Scottish Government Unions (CSGU)

Details:

Workplaces has a monthly forum meeting with representatives from CSGU the Smarter team also meets with individual unions (PCS, Prospect and FDA) on particular issues, as required. Any issues relating to the protected characteristics can be raised there and will be taken forward as part of the programme.

Engagement avenue:

Race Equality Network (REN)/LGBTI+ Network/Disability Network

Details:

Workplaces has worked with REN over the design and implementation of the Multi-Faith Prayer room and ablution facilities on the 4th floor of Atlantic Quay. It has also worked with the LGBTI+ network on the creation of the gender-neutral toilets and with the Disability network on various aspects of the work including accessible toilets, assistive technology and allocation of lockers.

The division will continue to engage with these networks as the plans for the future estate develop.

Engagement avenue:

Wider Colleagues Diversity Network Consultation

Details:

This document has been updated based on their views and comments.

Engagement avenue:

Workspace coordinators/Business Managers

Details:

Workspace coordinators and business managers were a key link between the programme and changes to individual areas. It is now through the Business Managers network that any issues relating to specific areas can be raised.

Engagement avenue:

Occupation Health & Safety Branch (OH)

Details:

Workplaces OH are consulted over any proposed changes where there has been a highlighted case either by an individual or business area. This document has also been shared with OH.

Engagement avenue:

Individuals

Details:

Where appropriate Workplaces work with individuals over any specific needs or concerns.

Engagement avenue:

Survey tool

Details:

In initial stages, a confidential survey monkey tool was used to collection information on requirements within an area. This was discontinued in favour of more direct confidential communication.

Engagement avenue:

Yammer

Details:

Key communication channel for Workplaces.

Engagement avenue:

Saltire

Details:

Specific Workplaces pages on Saltire.

Equality Impact Statement and Protected Characteristics

Smarter Workplaces affects individuals across a range of buildings it will impact colleagues in different ways. This Equality Impact Statement is a live document that notes how Workplaces is addressing each Protected Characteristic both generally and where appropriately, specifically in each building.

Protected characteristic:

Age

General impact from programme:

Elderly relatives or childcare responsibilities mean that individuals could have multiple caring responsibilities (e.g. elderly parents and childcare).

Individuals with caring responsibilities may have an alternative working pattern, which means they may start or finish later than the majority of individuals in the organisation.

Older colleagues may also experience more age-related health issues.

Specific modifications:

The programme works with Occupational Health and Safety Branch as well as local coordinators to ensure that individual needs are catered for when moving into Smarter areas (e.g. lockers at the right height, lumbar support on chairs if required, ability to adjust height of desk If required).

Protected characteristic:

Disability

Subcategory:

General

General impact from programme:

The generic layout is not fixed and can be modified where required to meet any requirements around specific disability issues.

Where required specialist software will be installed on users devices and Smarter works with them, iTECS and Occupational Health and Safety Branch to ensure that they are not adversely affected by the changes brought in.

Where specialist assistive software is unable to be hosted on a Laptop then individuals will still have access to a dedicated mini-pc.

Smarter is working with iTECS and Occupational Health and Safety Branch over the availability of assistive technology in shared spaces (e.g. ZoomText), including on a selection of mini-pcs in touchdown areas. This will allow individuals with a disability/health issue to have a wider choice of settings in which to work.

The programme is currently rolling out new height adjustable desks, which will replace the requirement for the majority of Varidesks in future rollouts. These will be retrofitted into existing areas in VQ and AQ.

Colleagues with disabilities may have an alternative working pattern, which means they may start or finish later than the majority of individuals in the organisation.

Where specialist assistive software is unable to be hosted on a Laptop then individuals will still have access to a dedicated mini-pc.

Specific modifications:

Where colleagues have a specific reasonable adjustment we work directly with the individual, their HR professional adviser and the Diversity and Equality team to ensure that we are able to identify and remove any negative impact changes to their workspace may potentially have.

Examples of these are:

  • High quality fully adjustable chairs available to all colleagues, which can have additional lumbar support fitted if required, which exceeds minimum requirements for chairs
  • Continuation of specific chairs/footrests for colleagues where highlighted by a DSE assessment
  • Raised desks where highlighted by a DSE assessment
  • Further roll out of VC and Skype for Business
  • Individual-specific modifications based on DSE assessment and conversations with Occupational Health and Safety Branch professionals (through our internal colleagues or an external provider, where required)
  • In rare cases the set-up of fixed desks for individuals with very specific requirements
  • Refurbished accessible toilets and easier access
  • Larger sanitary bins added to the accessible toilets across the estate, where space permits, to allow for the disposal of larger items.

Subcategory:

Physical

General impact from programme:

Space planning ensure that a wheelchair can safely navigate the new layouts and fire tracks (highlighting fire escape routes) are visible and contrasted against the carpet.

Specific modifications:

  • As above

Subcategory:

Mental

General impact from programme:

Working with Occupational Health and Safety Branch and CGSU over how Mental disabilities can be catered for within a Smarter area.

Specific modifications:

  • Individual-specific modifications based on DSE assessment and conversations with Occupational Health and Safety Branch professionals (through our internal colleagues or an external provider, where required)
  • In rare cases the set-up of fixed desks for individuals with very specific requirements

Subcategory:

Hidden

General impact from programme:

Working with Occupational Health and Safety Branch and CGSU over how hidden disabilities can be catered for within a Smarter area.

Specific modifications:

  • Individual-specific modifications based on DSE assessment and conversations with Occupational Health and Safety Branch professionals (through our internal colleagues or an external provider, where required)
  • In rare cases the set-up of fixed desks for individuals with very specific requirements

Protected characteristic:

Gender reassignment and sex

General impact from programme:

Recognises that there are people of various genders and identities using our buildings.

Implementation of gender-neutral toilets across the programme.

Specific modifications:

Improved signage where these have been implemented and working with Facilities over cleaning across toilets in general.

Protected characteristic:

Marriage & civil partnership

General impact from programme:

No impact and no change to how Scottish Government Policy on this area is implemented.

Specific modifications:

N/A

Protected characteristic:

Pregnancy & maternity

Subcategory:

Pregnancy

General impact from programme:

No change to how policy on this area is implemented.

No reduction in space for nursing mothers during renovation work.

Specific modifications:

Individuals will be supported by Occupational Health and Safety Branch, HR and their line managers during this period to determine any additional requirements (e.g. locker height, additional lumbar support). This will be on a case-by-case basis. Individual requests should be raised through the normal DSE assessment route.

Protected characteristic:

Race

General impact from programme:

No impact and no change to how policy on this area is implemented.

Protected characteristic:

Religion & belief

General impact from programme:

Refreshing, and where possible, improving the multi-faith, ablution facilities and contemplation spaces within the buildings that the programme is active in to be used by all religions, beliefs and non-beliefs.

Specific modifications:

Gender-neutral toilets should have no impact on this characteristic, as there is still access to gender specific toilets should colleagues wish to use them.

Facilities Services are looking to introduce multi-faith and contemplation facilities in St Andrews House and Saughton House as part of a separate programme of works.

Protected characteristic:

Sexual Orientation

General impact from programme:

No, impact no change to how policy on this area is implemented.

Building specific changes to date

Protected characteristic:

Age

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

Working with the AQ Accommodation Advisory Group over short-term changes to AQ to accommodate substantial growth.

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Protected characteristic:

Disability

Subcategory:

General

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

Specific modifications have taken place for individuals across 3rd – 7th floors where required.

Working with the AQ Accommodation Advisory Group over short-term changes to AQ to accommodate substantial growth.

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

Specific modifications have taken place with individuals where required.

Due to the location of some of the accessible toilets on the 3rd floor of Victoria Quay (beside kitchens), it is not possible to fit touch pads to these facilities as this would be against building regulations. To overcome this issue doors which cannot have a sensor have a delayed closure fitted. This allows users with limited mobility to enter the doors without the need to hold them open.

We have been made aware of some potential issues with the carpeting in Victoria Quay and Smarter Workplaces is working to ensure that no colleagues are placed at a disadvantage by working in a Smarter Workplace environment.

Kitchen facilities within Smarter Workplaces now feature a second sink at a reduced height to allow individuals using wheelchairs easier access. This is the standard design now used within the programme, where space permits.

Subcategory:

Physical

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

The glass doors on the 7th floor of Atlantic Quay were highlighted as being heavy and users with mobility issues found them hard to open. After assessing a number of options, Smarter Workplaces introduced a new electronic door opener. This has made access to the 7th floor shared space easier.

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Subcategory:

Mental

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

No specific modifications

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Subcategory:

Hidden

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

No specific modifications

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Protected characteristic:

Gender reassignment and sex

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

Introduction of gender-neutral toilets on the UG and 1st floor of Atlantic Quay. These facilities are open to all individuals working or visiting the building and gives individuals the choice of using gender neutral or gender specific facilities. Toilet facilities have a shared sink but enclosed cubicles.

Accessible/Male/Female toilets are available on the other floors so users of the building have a choice over which facilities to use. This has no impact on visitors to the building as they can be escorted when in the building and so can be taken to toilets on the higher floors if they do not wish to use these facilities.

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

Introduction gender-neutral toilets across three locations on the 3rd floor of Victoria Quay. These facilities are open to all individuals working or visiting the building and gives individuals the choice. This is being replicated on the 2nd floor of Victoria Quay as part of the next phase of the Programme. In Victoria Quay, the gender-neutral toilets are completely enclosed with no shared washing facilities. The location and type of toilet will be replicated on the lower floors as they are refurbished.

Accessible/Male/Female toilets are also available across the floors so users of the building have a choice over which facilities to use.

Protected characteristic:

Marriage & civil partnership

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

No specific modifications

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Protected characteristic:

Pregnancy & maternity

Subcategory:

Pregnancy

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

Working with the AQ Accommodation Advisory Group over short-term changes to AQ to accommodate substantial growth.

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Protected characteristic:

Race

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

No specific modifications

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Protected characteristic:

Religion and belief

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

Atlantic Quay now has a Contemplation Room on the 6th floor and a Multi-faith Prayer Room on the 4th floor. In addition, refurbishment of the 4th floor shower room now provides a combined shower and ablution facility. There are also screens, for privacy, provided within the 4th floor room.

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

As the changes to Victoria Quay have been focused on the 3rd and 2nd floors there have been no large-scale changes to the facilities provided in Victoria Quay. Minor changes will be taken forward in early 2018 in the interim before it is hoped that an Atlantic Quay type facility on the ground floor is introduced but there is no timescale yet for this work as work is focused on the 2nd floor of Victoria Quay (completing September 2018). This will allow a wide-scale look at the services available on the ground floor and ensure an offering that meets the needs of a range of users.

Protected characteristic:

Sexual Orientation

Specific modifications in Atlantic Quay:

No specific modifications

Specific modifications in Victoria Quay:

No specific modifications

Other buildings

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2022) Workplace focused on changes within Atlantic Quay, Glasgow and Victoria Quay, Edinburgh. However, as other buildings are considered this Equality Impact Assessment will be updated.

Non Specific Smarter issues that need to be addressed by the wider organisation

Comments on document has shown that:

  • Process of getting a DSE and formal reasonable adjustment can be time consuming as well as very stressful, organisation needs to investigate ways to improve the user experience
  • How to support people with current adjustments when moving to new space and who should take this forward?
  • More support is needed when teams move around how to manage teams remotely
  • More support is needed for teams for managing individual needs, especially around mental health issues
  • How the organisation is managing hidden disabilities and mental health issues
  • How areas manage specific requirements for individuals within a flexible space (e.g. how footrests, specific chairs etc. are stored when not in use)
  • How the organisation can deal with individuals who do not wish to disclose their condition but may need modifications in place and where should the responsibility for this lie?
  • How to know where things are in a building, especially for those with anxiety
  • How to ensure that there are adequate fire marshals and first aiders within areas and that those with specific evacuation routes have formal points of contact within each area they work
  • How to ensure that the location of evacuation chairs is known within the building and to ensure there are adequate people trained in their use
  • iTECS to publish any tests from accessibility testing of VC/SfB systems
  • How individuals/teams can manage anxiety in the workplace, especially around the question of shared desks
  • How to increase the connection between Occupational Health and Safety Branch and iTECS to ensure that the assistive technology available to individuals is compatible with our IT systems
  • How colleagues are supported generally to work in Smarter areas once they have moved to new ways of working, especially after the transition to business as usual
  • Promotion of the VQ lighting codes to ensure that anyone working in the building can operate irrespective of their location

Next steps

The Central Estate Strategy (April 2019) covering the core estate and public bodies and the Asset Plan (October 2020) for the core estate highlighted that planning will ensure we have the right property and services in the right location, with the opportunity for a sustainable and well-managed estate. An Accommodation Policy will ensure an efficient, equitable and unambiguous approach to allocation and management of office accommodation across the estate.

This policy will apply to the core estate i.e. those buildings occupied by Scottish Government Directorates and will be introduced early 2022.

Any lessons highlighted from Smarter Workplaces, COVID-19 return to buildings and trialling hybrid working will be used to update this statement as well improve our processes.

As Workplaces continues to consider changes and improvements in office buildings this Statement should continue to be reviewed to ensure that, the protected characteristics are taken into account during design phases as well as implementation.

Workplaces Team

March 2022

Contact

Email: hannah.mcgaffin@gov.scot

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