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Equal Opportunities Committee

1st Report, 2003

Mainstreaming equality in the work of committees of the Scottish Parliament

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SP Paper 817

Session 1 (2003)

 

Contents

Remit and Membership

Introduction

Background: What is Mainstreaming?

Consultation

Equality Proofing Legislation

External Research

Implementation of Mainstreaming

Educational Tools

Consultative Tools

Analytical Tools

Equality Guidelines

Equality Guideline 1

Equality Guideline 2

Equality Guideline 3

Consultation - Emergent Themes

Conclusions

Recommendations

Annex A - Equalities Checklist

Annex B - Equality Guidelines

Annex C - Consultation Document

Annex D - Events in Aberdeen

Annex E - Letter from the Minister for Social Justice re Overarching Equality Statement

Annex F - NEBU Equal Opportunities Guidance

Annex G - Extracts from the Minutes

Annex H - Official Reports

20th Meeting 2000 (Session 1), 24 October 2000, Official Report

21st Meeting 2000 (Session 1), 7 November 2000, Official Report

17th Meeting 2002 (Session 1), 12 November 2002, Official Report

1st Meeting 2003 (Session 1), 14 January 2003, Official Report

3rd Meeting 2003, (Session 1), 4 February 2003, Official Report


Remit and membership

Remit:

1. The remit of the Equal Opportunities Committee is to consider and report on matters relating to equal opportunities and upon the observance of equal opportunities within the Parliament.

2. In these Rules, "equal opportunities" includes 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.

(Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament, Rule 6.9)

Membership:

Kate Maclean (Convener)

Mrs Lyndsay McIntosh

Mr Michael McMahon

Mr Gil Paterson

Cathy Peattie

Tommy Sheridan

Elaine Smith

Mr Jamie Stone

Mrs Kay Ullrich (Deputy Convener)

Committee Clerking Team:

Jim Johnston

Clerk to the Committee

Richard Walsh

Senior Assistant Clerk

Roy McMahon

Assistant Clerk

Ross Dickson

Committee Assistant

Mainstreaming equality in the work of committees of the Scottish Parliament

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows-

Introduction

1. This report sets out the discussions, conclusions and recommendations of the Equal Opportunities Committee Inquiry on Mainstreaming Equality in the work of committees of the Scottish Parliament. The remit of the inquiry was to devise a means of ensuring that equality was "built in" from the beginning, rather than "bolted on" at the end.

2. The report concludes a substantial inquiry and is based on three main bodies of work. First, at its meeting on 24 October 2000 the Committee agreed a need for guidance, including practical techniques, to assist in mainstreaming equal opportunities in the work of the Parliamentary Committees. To assist this work the Committee agreed, in the first instance, to commission external research.

3. Second, the Committee also agreed to conduct some initial pilot work on the equality proofing of legislation introduced by the Scottish Executive. In doing so, the Committee adopted an equalities checklist which was developed by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in partnership with the Governance of Scotland Forum. This partially revised checklist has now been endorsed by the Committee (see Annex A).

4. Third, the Committee produced three draft equality guidelines based on its external research and these were put out to consultation in July 2002. Following this consultation the Committee has now agreed the three equality guidelines and these are attached at Annex B.

5. In conducting this inquiry the Committee was also mindful of other work going on in this area and, in particular, the work of the Scottish Executive's Equality Unit and the Procedures Committee inquiry on the general principles of the Consultative Steering Group (CSG).

6. However, the Committee recognises that mainstreaming equality is a long-term task and this report, in many respects, represents a starting point:

The greatest hurdle to starting the... mainstreaming process can be the absence of political will. 1

7. The Committee considers that that the work of the CSG, the actions of the Parliament to date and the stated intent of the Scottish Executive represent a clear and unwavering commitment of political will towards mainstreaming equality.

8. As the Committee's research indicates:

Experience in other Parliamentary settings shows that mainstreaming requires tenacity on the part of parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to sustain commitment to equality over a significant time period.2

Background: What is Mainstreaming?

9. Providing guidance to assist in mainstreaming equality within the work of all Parliamentary Committees would, for the first time, address an important aspect of the internal scrutiny remit of the Committee, as well as helping to fulfil its role as a catalyst as envisioned by CSG. The CSG Report states that:

Equal Opportunities should be mainstreamed into the work of the Parliament, and through the demands of and scrutiny by the Parliament, into the work of the Executive.3

10. This report, in keeping with the role of the Committee as a catalyst, is intended to provide a framework for all of the Parliament's committees in meeting this aim. In this work the Committee has sought to distinguish between the eventual goal of mainstreaming (equality), the features which a strategy will display (equality considered at all stages of the process) and a definition of what mainstreaming equality actually is. In the first instance and following consultation with stakeholders the Committee recommends that the Parliament adopts the following definition of mainstreaming:

`Mainstreaming' equality is essentially concerned with the integration of equal opportunities principles, strategies and practices into the every day work of Government and other public bodies from the outset, involving every day policy actors in addition to equality specialists. In other words, it entails rethinking mainstream provision to accommodate the equal opportunities categories as identified in the Scotland Act.

11. The Committee also welcomes the commitment of the SPCB to mainstreaming in the Parliament's Equality Framework:

The concept of "mainstreaming" is based on the philosophy that the achievement of equality should inform all aspects of the work of all the individuals within an organisation as they go about their business. The mainstreaming of equality is the route to achieving an equality based culture throughout an organisation.4

12. The recommendations in this report are intended to complement the recommendations in the SPCB's Equality Framework in relation to mainstreaming. It is not seen as in any way as preventing other actions to address specific equality issues.

13. The Committee recognises that the Scottish Executive is also fully committed to mainstreaming equal opportunities in its own work and welcomes the comments of the Minister for Social Justice in giving evidence to the Committee:

... mainstreaming remains central to how the Scottish Executive intends to develop its equality strategy. As a result, we welcome the committee's work, because it will influence our thinking on the issue.5

14. The Committee has sought to work closely with the Executive on this issue and it is hoped that this report will be useful in influencing the development of the Executive's mainstreaming approach in parallel with the overall commitment of the Parliament to mainstreaming.

Consultation

15. The Committee agreed three draft equality guidelines at its meeting on 25 June 2002 and further agreed to issue a consultation document inviting comments on its proposals. A copy of the consultation document is attached as Annex C. The Committee received 45 responses to its consultation and a copy of all public responses is available on the Committee's web page at: /official_report/cttee/equal-02/eop02-17.pdf

16. At its meeting on 14 January 2003 the Committee heard oral evidence from the EOC, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and at its meeting on 3 February 2003 the Committee heard evidence from the Minister of Social Justice.

17. While the Parliament was meeting in Aberdeen during May 2002 the Committee held a civic participation event on mainstreaming equality. The event was attended by 56 individuals from a range of organisations across the region. This allowed the Committee to hear directly from equality groups and organisations on the ground.

18. The event included a buffet lunch and evening workshops on the theme: `How to monitor the effectiveness of mainstreaming equality at local level'. A list of those organisations represented is attached as Annex D together with the flipchart notes from workshop groups and key points raised at the feedback session. The event was extremely useful in informing the Committee's work on mainstreaming.

19. As a follow-up to the event, the Committee's gender reporter visited the Highlands and Islands Equality Forum in Inverness to find out about the work it does.

20. The Committee also held two very useful seminars with the Scottish Executive. The first seminar on mainstreaming equality was held on 27 March 2002 for the purpose of informal discussion of areas of common interest and concern. The seminar was especially useful in identifying common aims and purpose in respect of the equality agenda.

21. The Committee would like to thank Dr Fiona MacKay and Kate Bilton from the Institute of Governance, University of Edinburgh for their assistance in facilitating the seminar and the Deputy Presiding Officer, George Reid MSP, for chairing the seminar.

22. The second seminar on equality proofing the budget was held on 30 October 2002. Again the seminar was useful in informing the work of the Committee and the Committee welcomes the commitment of the Executive to equality proofing the budget process.

Equality Proofing Legislation

23. At its meeting on 4 September 2001 the Equal Opportunities Committee agreed to carry out routine scrutiny of primary legislation with a key aim of identifying the extent to which the Scottish Executive is effectively mainstreaming equalities in its legislation development process.

24. The Committee based its scrutiny on the Equalities Checklist developed by the EOC and the CRE together with additional questions arising from the Bill and accompanying documentation or from evidence which the Committee received.

25. The Committee published its report, based on the analysis of twelve Executive Bills, on 2 October 2002.6 The Report is available on the Committee's web page

26. The main findings which emerged from the routine analysis were in relation to the manner in which the Executive consults on legislation and the lack of overarching equality statements on most Bills.

27. With regards to consultation the Committee agreed that: where a requirement to consult is a provision of a Bill, minimum standards should be set for what is considered adequate consultation.7

28. The Committee also recommended that an overarching equality statement should be included in all Bills. The Committee was disappointed that whereas such a statement appeared usefully on some Bills such as the Local Government in Scotland Bill there is no statement on most Bills.

29. The Committee has received an interim response from the Minister of Social Justice to its recommendation in relation to an overarching equality clause in legislation and this is attached as Annex E. The Committee recognises that the Executive continues to look closely at this issue and again urges the Executive to introduce such a policy:

It is the view of the Committee that the inclusion in all Bills of such a statement would both evidence the Scottish Executive commitment to the mainstreaming of equality of opportunity and clearly highlight the intent that all provisions of the Bill be delivered with due regard to the promotion of equal opportunities.8

External Research

30. In order to inform its thinking on mainstreaming the Committee agreed, in the first instance, to commission external research. Sheffield Hallam University successfully tendered for the research and their report, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, can be found on the Committee web page at: /official_report/cttee/equal-03/eo03-mer.pdf

31. The Committee would like to thank the authors of the report which was useful in informing this inquiry.

32. The research was carried out in three stages:

· Stage 1: A survey of the mechanisms for and operation of equality proofing and mainstreaming in the committees of other comparable parliaments.

· Stage 2: To assess the efficacy of the different methods used in the context of the Scottish Parliament.

· Stage 3: To suggest practical techniques and provide draft guidelines to ensure mainstreaming in the Scottish Parliamentary Committees.

33. The Committee welcomes the view of the researchers that:

The Scottish parliament is at the leading edge in mainstreaming equality as there are few examples in other Parliamentary settings.9

Implementation of Mainstreaming

34. The simplest expression of the strategy emerging from the work at this stage was to ensure that an equality perspective is built in to all work carried out by all of the Scottish Parliament's Committees. However, the Committee recognises that this strategy is not (and cannot be) to necessarily guarantee an equity of outcome, but rather to ensure that equality has been considered in decisions.

35. The research suggests that there are three types of tools needed to operationalise mainstreaming:

· Educational tools

· Consultative tools

· Analytical tools

Educational Tools

36. Educational tools are identified by the research as being necessary to recognise that `barriers to equality are not only material but also cultural'. The Committee, therefore, recommends that in the first instance it is necessary to provide training for both members and relevant SPCB staff.

Training for Members and Staff

37. The Sheffield Hallam University research included case studies of the Northern Ireland and Welsh Assemblies which suggested that: `mainstreaming is likely to demand resources to train and inform actors in the parliamentary process about the different areas of equalities'.10 In this respect the Committee also notes that the CSG Report states: `To ensure the effectiveness of mainstreaming it will be necessary for all MSPs and for all officials to receive training on equal opportunities'.11 Further, the Committee welcomes the recommendation of the Procedures Committee that:

... the SPCB must provide appropriate equal opportunities training for MSPs and staff, not least to disseminate knowledge about the statutory basis of equal opportunities policies and practices, and clarity about the obligatory nature of equal opportunities, as prerequisites for the creation of a securely based equal opportunities culture in the Parliament.12

38. The Committee also notes that the SPCB, in line with the Parliament's Equality Framework, has recently introduced two equal opportunities training courses for SPCB staff. The Committee welcomes the introduction of this training and believes that it underpins the commitment of the Parliament as a whole to mainstreaming equal opportunities. The Committee further believes that this training will provide a sound foundation on which we can build by providing the more specific training required for some staff as part of the implementation of this mainstreaming initiative.

39. In addition to the training which the SPCB has introduced the Committee recommends the need for equal opportunities training for MSPs and further training for staff supporting the work of the Committees. This training should focus more specifically on mainstreaming equality in the work of the parliamentary Committees. Further work is, therefore, required in defining the final training requirements for both SPCB staff and members themselves.

Consultative Tools

40. The research suggests that:

Consultative tools widen the pool of people who can contribute to the policy-making process, increase confidence in the decisions which are finally made and enhance political accountability.13

41. The research suggests that the existing equality infrastructure in the Parliament's Committees demonstrates that work is already being done to develop consultative tools in relation to the other CSG principles: accountability, power sharing and openness.

Analytical Tools

42. Analytical tools are also identified by the researchers as necessary to: 'enable an organisation to describe its current equality relations, and through repeated application, to record how equality outcomes and awareness change over time'.14 In order to achieve mainstreaming, analytical tools are required to ensure that equality issues are routinely and systematically raised in the practice of all Committees. The equality guidelines which are outlined below are intended to provide the Committees with analytical tools with which to mainstream equality in their work.

Equality Guidelines

43. The Sheffield Hallam University Research initially brought forward 8 equality guidelines. However, the Committee agreed that the guidelines could more usefully be streamlined into three categories:

· Primary Legislation

· Information Base

· Consultation

44. The guidelines are intended to:

... counter the tendency to leave equality to "the experts", and more specifically to the Equal Opportunities Committee. They can act as a resource for committees to apply in their routine practice, to enable members to assume responsibility for equality appraisal in the process of legislative scrutiny.15

45. The authors of the research suggest that following an initial implementation phase the: `Equality Guidelines should not produce additional work for MSPs or lengthen the process of legislative scrutiny or other committee functions'.16 In particular, much of the work in relation to equality proofing legislation will be required to be carried out by the Executive.

46. The aim of the equality guidelines is to assist the Parliament's committees in implementing mainstreaming equality in relation to all their functions. The Committee's research suggests that they:

... are an appraisal tool which parliamentary committees could adopt to ensure that equal opportunities become a routine part of their work.17

47. They are intended to be a simple, practical tool which builds on existing practice. The guidelines are also intended to complement the Scottish Executive's Equality Strategy and the commitment of the Executive to mainstream equality, especially, in relation to policy development.

Equality Guideline 1

48. The aim of the first equality guideline is to suggest that equal opportunities criteria should be considered at all stages of the legislative process, including the policy development process preceding the introduction of the Bill. The current emphasis within the guidelines on primary legislation is driven by the fact that "The essential element in the definition of... mainstreaming is its accent on policy processes"18 "Mainstreaming will, however, have the greatest impact when major reforms are being undertaken or when new legislation is being introduced. This is the moment to implement mainstreaming."19 In this respect, the Committee welcomes the view of the Procedures Committee that:

... we recommend that lead committees should take greater responsibility for the equal opportunities aspects of the Bills before them.20

49. Primarily this guideline is intended to assist each subject committee in checking that equality impact assessments have been carried out by the Bill sponsor. In most cases this is likely to be the Scottish Executive. However, the Committee recommends that the Parliament's Non-Executive Bill's Unit (NEBU) also adopts a mainstreaming approach in its work. In this respect, the Committee notes that NEBU has already adopted guidance on equal opportunities considerations and this is attached as Annex F. The Committee welcomes NEBU's initiative in this area and suggests that it further emphasises the Parliament's overall commitment to mainstreaming equality.

Equality Guideline 2

50. The Committee suggests that in order to carry out mainstreaming activities effectively and ensure that equal opportunities considerations are included in all of their work, Committees need to have access to high quality information. In particular, the Committee recommends that the Parliament develops a database of Equal Opportunities contacts and consultees which would be accessible to all committees. Appropriate consideration of data protection legislation would, of course, be required.

Equality Guideline 3

51. The third equality guideline is intended to encourage Committees to build in equality considerations when making initial decisions in relation to consultations and inquiries. The Committee notes the findings of the Mori Survey of MSPs commissioned by the Procedures Committee that there is a degree of concern among MSPs in relation to the extent to which the proceedings of the Parliament are `taking account of the views of excluded groups'.21

52. This guideline aims to encourage Committees to consult with as wide as possible a range of stakeholders. In doing so, Committees should consider closely how they consult and aim to allow sufficient time for responses in order to allow less well resourced groups to participate. The Committee welcomes the view of the Procedures Committee that:

... the Parliament's activity on access and participation is directed to increasing the scope of those who are becoming engaged with the Parliament, particularly the disadvantaged groups.22

53. The Committee suggests that implementation of its third equality guideline should also result in more disadvantaged groups becoming engaged with the work of the Parliament's Committees.

Consultation - Emergent Themes

54. Having agreed its overarching strategic intent the Committee subsequently consulted widely on its three draft equality guidelines. As noted in paragraph 15 above the Committee received 45 responses and the main findings are summarised below.

General

55. The main theme arising from the consultation exercise is that all respondents agree with the policy intent of the Committee in aiming to mainstream equal opportunities in the work of the Parliament's Committees.

Definition of mainstreaming equality

56. There was discussion amongst respondents about what was actually meant by "mainstreaming equality". Abbeyfield Scotland felt that the definition should include reference to age (specifically "older people"), as did the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), Stirling Council and Fair Play. ACPOS also raised the point that the definition of mainstreaming (in para 6 of the consultation document) "is not as comprehensive as the definition given in the Scottish Parliament Standing Orders, Rule 6.9"23 and argued for consistency.

57. The benefits gained from consistency were further argued by Dundee City Council and the Disability Rights Commission (DRC), asking that a common definition be promulgated for all those involved in policy development: the DRC went on to argue that the definition of equal opportunities set out in the fourth CSG principle should be mainstreamed into the first three.

58. The Disabled Person's Housing Service (DPHS) also pointed out the potential for rolling out the definition across the public sector within Scotland as whole, but highlighted the potential dichotomy when private sector providers did not mesh with the definition, creating a two tier impact within people's lives. Dundee City Council asked for financial implications to be addressed in the definition, whilst East Renfrewshire introduced the concept of power structures as an aspect to address. Both UNISON and the West of Scotland Lesbian and Gay Forum (WSLGF) were concerned that the definition would create (or perpetuate) a "hierarchy of oppression", with the top three on any list addressed. WSLGF disagreed with the term "mainstreaming equality" and suggested "integration". Engender Women's Budget Group (EWBG) also felt that the definition should preface the guidelines in order to demonstrate commitment to the principle.

59. Following the comments of respondents the Committee agreed to revise its definition of mainstreaming as stated in paragraph 10 above.

Accessibility

60. This occupied a lot of submissions. Aberdeen Trades Council argued that "[c]onsideration needs to be given as to how to produce legislation in formats which can easily be understood by people with learning disabilities." Given that the format of Bills (which are essentially draft Acts not yet on the statute book) cannot be changed, this is taken to refer to the accessibility of the accompanying documentation.

61. Physical access to meetings, access to information in different formats (including BSL on video), use of interpreters and translation of documents were all cited by a number of respondents as outcomes expected of mainstreaming equality24. In addition Aberdeenshire Council pointed out the problems caused to those with visual impairment by the current "house style" of reports, Falkirk Council were concerned about the use of jargon and Argyll and Bute commented on the potential difficulties of technical language being used and subsequent comprehension, a point echoed by the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers' Association (CACFOA).

62. The Scottish Parliament recognises the need for accessibility and is developing policies dealing with the provision of information in languages other than English, in alternative formats and for the provision of British Sign Language interpreters for deaf users of British Sign Language. Parliament reports are published both electronically on the web and in hard copy format and the consultation documents, including the accompanying letter, were offered to consultees in Braille, large print and audio tape.

Audit of current practice

63. There were several calls for an audit or review of current mainstreaming practices25, with the CRE going onto state "the concept of mainstreaming equalities needs to be reassessed and reinvigorated to ensure that it does not become emptied of meaning or developed into ways of working which have little practical result". National Union of Students Scotland's Women's Campaign also mentioned this engagement with the political process. The DPHS felt that the current Scottish Executive work in the housing pilot had become "patchy", with the DRC citing the need for further research, a broadening of understanding of the term and a recognition that it was not built in at this stage.

Consultation

64. The use of a central database (with appropriate Data Protection safeguards) was well received, with the caveat by Argyll and Bute that such a tool would need to be resourced well and have specific responsibility for maintenance and update assigned within the Parliament. Open Futures raised the point that consultation should involve an opportunity for those consulted with to raise their issues, not solely those set out before them. The need to reach "under represented" groups was stressed by most respondents: coupled to this were calls from CRE and ACPOS that the consultation process should represent a genuine challenge and opportunity to influence and change policy.

65. This wider engagement with the political process, and the need to explicitly account for action (or inaction) with regard to a response, was also raised by Aberdeenshire Council and the CRE. Fair Play specifically called for capacity building to assist those taking part in the consultation process, while CACFOA and Castlemilk Churches Together Refugee Centre were concerned over the issues of representation in the consultation cycle, with DPHS referring to the "usual suspects" approach. ACPOS also stated:

There is no mention in the document of the action to be taken to ensure that any gaps or weaknesses in policies in relation to consultation in these areas are overcome. It may be appropriate for the Bill sponsor to incorporate an action plan that will address this.

66. The NUS Scotland's Women's Campaign raised the resources issue as to whether there should be steers given by committees as to what particular issues within a Bill they were concerned about, in order to allow maximum use of scarce resources along with a possible targeting approach:

...there is a balance to be reached between overburdening equality organisations with unnecessary documentation, and underusing their expertise, and missing valuable input.

Data

67. ACPOS raise the general point that:

There is an expectation that once it has been decided to collect data it will always be available and called upon at any time. The burden of data collection is real and must be used as an appropriate tool that adds value to the process. Increasingly, data collected is not subject to useful analysis and often the results are not fed back to organisations.

68. The Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES) called for greater interaction between the Parliament and those representing the variety of Scotland's communities, with the CRE calling for wider research coupled with greater sector specific data. DPHS echoed this with a call for disaggregated data on a regional and national level, as well as sectoral. Fair Play said, " The Parliament and Executive should continue to collect disaggregated data and extend pressure to others to ensure that all data is disaggregated," as well as encouraging committees inviting briefing from specialist groups.

69. Stonewall Scotland pointed out the absence of reliable data on Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues, as they cannot be considered a homogenous group: the issue of homogeneity (or not) was also raised by the DRC, highlighting the fact that people with a disability span the whole of society and their needs are individual.

Guidelines

70. Whilst there was recognition of the need for further work, the level of detail currently shown in the draft guidelines was raised by many of the respondents, ACPOS, DPHS, Fair Play, EWBG and DRC wanting more detail and tools. EOC in particular warned against premature use of the guidelines in their present form, without further development work:

While we understand the need for concise guidance for busy committee members, the guidelines as prepared are unlikely to assist the members of committee in capacity building in respect of mainstreaming nor will they assist in the rigorous scrutiny required for mainstreaming to be achieved.

71. The EOC, EWBG and Fair Play felt that the guidelines had to include budget work. Fair Play also recommended the HERA 2001 Indicators Guide for a Gender Mainstreaming Approach (HERA 2001) and the Scottish Executive Toolkit for Mainstreaming Equal Opportunities in the European Structural Funds as an example of good practice.26 EWBG also argued that the guidelines had to be in place prior to the next Stage 1 Budget round in 2003.

72. Scottish Enterprise offered the example of their newly introduced "assessment templates". South Ayrshire Council and West Dumbartonshire Council recognised the need for simple, self-assessment tools but warned against over-reliance on a "tick-box" approach. Again, EOC commented that tools support a strategy, rather than comprise a strategy in themselves.

73. DRC, Castlemilk Churches Together Refugee Centre, Greater Glasgow Health Centre and Dundee City Council argued for a mandatory approach to ensuring committees' use of the guidelines rather than the current use of "encourage".

74. The approach to Stage 2 amendments was discussed by CRE, feeling that a more proactive approach was needed. It also highlighted the use of Stage 3 amendments to reverse or alter Stage 2 amendments which, as it is managed by Parliament, rather than a committee, is strictly speaking outwith the inquiry scope.

Impact Analysis

75. ACPOS raised the issue of impact analyses allowing:

...for greater consideration of the collateral impact of legislation on organisations that are not key to the main thrust of the legislation but may require to change practices as a result.

76. Angus Council examined the sectoral impacts, with CRE suggesting that an explicit measure of any policy was the extent to which it addresses racial inequality. The DRC felt that impact analysis should be automatic and inherent in any policy development system whilst EOC and EWBG felt that the existing approaches to gender impact analysis were not only essential activities but also provided an invaluable starting point for the development of further analysis techniques. Stonewall Scotland returned to the point that LGBT issues have rarely, if ever, been addressed in an impact analysis and WSLGF echoing the point that LGBT cannot be seen as a homogenous group.

Monitoring

77. Dundee City Council raised the point that as many local authorities and other public sector bodies have to report on progress in matters, why should this not apply to the Parliament, by requiring reference to the guidelines and the use made of them in any report they produce or consider, "as is the practice of many Local Authorities."

78. Victim Support Scotland and Greater Glasgow Health Council both asked whether there would be any provisions for grievance procedure, if a committee was felt not to have addressed equality issues adequately. Several respondents also added suggestions for review mechanisms such as peer reviews, seeking comments from traditionally "under-represented groups" and an audit of current practices and their perceived utility.

Outcomes

79. The consensus view of the outcome was a cultural change, with mainstreaming equality built into all processes, supported by appropriate resources. The support was also seen to include specialist support mechanisms, with many respondents seeing a continuing role of the Equal Opportunities Committee in terms of advice, monitoring and review of good practice.

80. The mainstreaming approach was seen as extending beyond the legislative processes of the committees (and indeed Parliament) and fitting into the cycle of policy development, Parliamentary activity and subsequent implementation.27 Targets, performance indicators, toolkits and review mechanisms, shared and understood across as wide a group of stakeholders as possible, was seen as a concrete manifestation of a mainstreaming equality approach.

Training

81. The need for a more detailed training plan was cited by several respondents with the need ranging between "vital" and "essential": Argyll and Bute Council felt an explicit policy was required from the outset and should have been included in the draft guidelines. The question of wider awareness raising of the causes of inequality was raised by both Fair Play and DPHS, with Fair Play calling for mandatory training of Parliamentary staff. The need for training MSPs and staff was cited often, with Aberdeen Trades Council and CERES advocating training MSPs and staff together and Dundee City Council providing the practical point of the need for a rolling programme of training and review.

Witnesses

82. Monitoring of witnesses being called was suggested specifically by East Renfrewshire Council, who also highlighted the financial implications for smaller organisations being called as witnesses. In addition, Friends of Glasgow Council also highlighted the problems of witnesses getting time off work to appear, especially when not appearing in relation to areas directly associated with their employment. The area of witnesses echoed issues raised under consultation, including under representation, "usual suspects" and how representative witnesses actually were.

Conclusions

83. The Committee welcomes the overall support for its proposed equality guidelines while recognising that further work is necessarily required in developing their implementation. In particular, the Committee welcomes the view of the Procedures Committee that:

We therefore applaud the efforts of the Equal Opportunities Committee to promote `mainstreaming' equal opportunities throughout the work of the Parliament, and all of its committees. We welcome the guidelines to committees on mainstreaming, which will be issued in the near future, and we recommend that all committees should attach the highest priority to implementing them.28

84. These guidelines should enhance the integration of an equality perspective into the work of the Committees, complementing ongoing work by the Scottish Executive. As the Committee's research points out:

... they will enable committees to stop and think about the equality implications of their work, to refine their practice and to demonstrate their commitment to the Scottish people.29

85. Whilst aware of the specific concerns voiced by some respondents in relation to the level of detail in the guidelines nevertheless the Committee considers that further refinement of the guidelines would mitigate against their dissemination to other committees at the start of the next four-year session. On one level the Committee suggests that these concerns will be partly alleviated by explanatory notes which will accompany the guidance vis-à-vis the meaning and aims of mainstreaming and how the guidelines are expected to facilitate the process.

86. The Committee suggests that the successful implementation of the equality guidelines should address many of the concerns identified in consultation with stakeholders. However, the Committee also recognises that it will be essential to monitor the implementation of the guidelines and to continue to modify the guidelines in light of experience.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

87. The Committee recommends that the Parliament adopts the following definition of mainstreaming:

`Mainstreaming' equality is essentially concerned with the integration of equal opportunities principles, strategies and practices into the every day work of Government and other public bodies from the outset, involving every day policy actors in addition to equality specialists. In other words, it entails rethinking mainstream provision to accommodate the equal opportunities categories as identified in the Scotland Act.

Recommendation 2

88. The Committee recommends that the Equality Guidelines in Annex B be adopted by all committees in their work and used in drawing up their work programmes for the session 2003-2007.

Recommendation 3

89. The Committee recommends that the SPCB agree to the provision of training on mainstreaming equality which will complement existing training on equal opportunities within the Parliament.

Recommendation 4

90. The Committee recommends that the Parliament as a whole develops a database of Equal Opportunities contacts and consultees which would be accessible to all Committees.

Recommendation 5

91. The Committee recommends that lead committees, as a useful starting point, utilise the equalities checklist attached at Annex A during Stage 1 consideration of legislation.

Recommendation 6

92. The Committee recommends that the Scottish Executive includes an overarching equality statement in all Bills.

Recommendation 7

93. The Committee agrees with the Procedures Committee recommendation that in their annual report, committees specifically address how they have mainstreamed equality and highlight specific practices they wish to comment on.

Recommendation 8

94. The Committee recommends that its successor Committee monitors the implementation of the draft equality guidelines.

Recommendation 9

95. The Committee recommends that its successor Committee continues to monitor and scrutinise the work of the Scottish executive in equality proofing the budget process.

ANNEX A - Equalities Checklist

Introduction

The Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament has endorsed the following checklist it wishes to be used when considering any policy or legislative issue.

It is important to bear in mind that the definition of equal opportunities in the Scotland Act 1998 is as follows:

"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."

It is therefore expected that ALL of these areas should be considered when using this checklist.

Please note that this is not meant to be all encompassing guidance on equalities proofing, but it is recommended that this be the minimum standard to be attained.

What is Mainstreaming30

· "`Mainstreaming' equality is essentially concerned with the integration of equal opportunities principles, strategies and practices into the every day work of Government and other public bodies from the outset, involving every day policy actors in addition to equality specialists. In other words, it entails rethinking mainstream provision to accommodate the equal opportunities categories as identified in the Scotland Act.

· It is a long-term strategy to frame policies in terms of the realities of people's daily lives, and to change organisation cultures and structures accordingly. It puts people, and their diverse needs and experiences, at the heart of policy-making.

· It leads to better government through better informed policy-making and a greater transparency and openness in the policy process and helps to tackle democratic deficit by encouraging wider participation in the policy process through effective consultation mechanisms.

· As a process it tackles the structures in society which contribute to, or sustain, discrimination and disadvantage.

· The application of a mainstreaming approach can avoid the adoption of policies and programmes which replicate discrimination and exacerbate existing inequalities.

· Mainstreaming complements lawful positive action designed to address the historic and current impact of discriminatory structures and practices."

Questions to Consider when equality proofing

1. What is the policy for? Who is the policy for? What are the desired and anticipated outcomes?

Does the policy properly consider the needs of diverse groups of women and men? Remember that members of the same social group may have different needs; and that some people face multiple discrimination, for example, ethnic minority women.

Have equalities dimensions been explicitly addressed?

Keep in mind the goals and outcomes of policies can either perpetuate or overcome existing inequities between women and men and amongst different social groups.

2. Do we have full information and analyses about the impact of the policy upon all equalities groups? If not, why not?

Is the data you have been provided with broken down by gender, race and disability?

Assume that there is an equalities impact then look for information to prove or disprove that assumption

Who has been consulted? There is a need for both experts and `ordinary' voices to be heard. Has the fact that it is harder for some groups than others to speak out been taken into account?

3. Has the full range of options and their differential impacts on all equality groups been presented?

What is the impact of values, assumptions and stereotypes on the options presented and the options favoured?

How might your own values, opinions and experiences influence your understanding of the issue?

4. What are the outcomes and consequences of the proposals? Have the indirect, as well as the direct, effects of proposals been taken into account?

5. How have the policy makers demonstrated they have mainstreamed equality?

6. How will the policy be monitored and evaluated? How will improved awareness of equality implications be demonstrated?

ANNEX B - Equality Guidelines

Equality Guideline 1 - Primary Legislation

Background

Equal Opportunities criteria should be considered at all stages of the legislative process, including the policy development process preceding the introduction of the bill. Equality proofing during legislation should not be seen a standalone process but rather as part of an on-going process of work which begins at the policy development stage.

The following sets out guidelines for the various types of legislative activity and the main stakeholders.

To carry out mainstreaming activities effectively and ensure that equal opportunities considerations are included in all of their work involving legislative activity, committees need to consider the following:

Primary Legislation - Stage 1

Bill Sponsor

· has the Bill sponsor assessed the implications of the Bill for all equal opportunities categories as identified in the remit of the Equal Opportunities Committee, including the impact on all key stakeholders;

· have any differential impacts on particular categories been quantified, discussed and justified;

· what consultation has been carried out with the stakeholders;

· how clearly have the intended effects of the Bill been set out in accompanying documentation;

· what additional information on the Bill is made available e.g. previous consultation exercises, draft guidance, equality impact assessments, disaggregated data etc;

Committee activity

· to what extent equal opportunities issues have been addressed in selecting witnesses and advisers and analysing evidence; and

· have the equal opportunities criteria been adequately considered at all stages of the legislative process.

Primary Legislation - Stage 2

At Stage 2 there are no formal requirements. However, equal opportunities implications may arise at this stage. The following recognises that there are amendments which are largely technical in nature, or drafted primarily to stimulate debate. Broadly, in discussion of amendments, committees would be encouraged to address:

· if amendments address concerns raised earlier at Stage 1, and how;

· if amendments introduce new policy issues; and,

· if a new policy issue, has an analysis (similar to Stage 1, i.e. impact analysis) been done.

Equality Guideline 2 - Information Base

Equal opportunities criteria should be considered at all stages of the legislative process. In order to carry out mainstreaming activities effectively and ensure that equal opportunities considerations are included in all of their work, committees need to have access to high quality information including:

· disaggregated statistics and other relevant information on equal opportunities categories as identified in the Scotland Act;

· develop EOC database of EO contacts and consultees, accessible to all committees;

· SPICe briefings on Bills should include reference to equal opportunities issues;

· briefing papers on changes to equality legislation;

· briefing notes from relevant external groups;

· legal advice.

Monitoring

Ensure that information resources are regularly updated and relevant training is carried out.

Equality Guideline 3 - Consultation

Committees regularly consult with a variety of individuals and organisations in the course of their work. Equal Opportunities criteria should underpin the processes and mechanisms which facilitate these consultations/inquiries. Specifically, Committees should aim to include equal opportunities criteria in:

· deciding what to consult upon

· deciding who to consult with

· deciding the format of each consultation/inquiry

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations as part of their overall criteria for choosing an inquiry topic. For example, in deciding topics of consultations and inquiries Committees may wish to identify, by impact analysis, how the proposed topic impacts upon "equal opportunities" as defined in the remit of the Equal Opportunities Committee.

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations as part of their overall criteria for selecting witnesses. For example, Committees should aim to ensure as wide a representation as possible of stakeholders.

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations in deciding the format of a consultation/inquiry. For example, equal opportunities criteria should be adopted in advertising a consultation/inquiry while sufficient time should be allowed for responses in order to allow less well resourced groups to participate.

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations in deciding who to appoint as Committee advisers.

Monitoring

Monitor and evaluate levels of participation, particularly in order to identify groups who are under-represented. Ensure that witness databases are regularly updated to include widespread representation of minority groups.

ANNEX C - Consultation Document

Equal Opportunities Committee

Inquiry into Mainstreaming Equality into the activities of committees of the Scottish Parliament

Consultation

JULY 2002

Introduction

1. This paper sets out the initial proposals of the Equal Opportunities Committee on how best to mainstream equality into the activities of committees of the Scottish Parliament.

2. It provides further details of an approach which aims to outline the features of an effective mainstreaming process and define the intended outcomes.

Background

3. The Consultative Steering Group was very clear in its view on mainstreaming equality:

"The promotion of inclusiveness and equality of opportunity for all requires that equality must be integral to the infrastructure, procedures and policies of the Parliament. It must not be retained as a responsibility within only one department or Committee, but must be a mandatory consideration throughout the workings of the Parliament and its agents. Although it will be necessary to put in place a specialist unit, Committee and programme where expertise can be developed, it must be recognised that the creation of equality of opportunity is a collective responsibility, the responsibility of each MSP and each member of every Committee."31

4. The need to ensure that equality was "built in" from the beginning, rather than "bolted on" at the end, led to the Equal Opportunities Committee beginning an Inquiry into how best to mainstream equality into committee activities of the Scottish Parliament.

5. At this stage of the Inquiry, the Committee seeks views on the proposed Mainstreaming Equality Guidelines, which it is proposed would be used (in the appropriate circumstances) by all of the committees of the Scottish Parliament.

What does mainstreaming equality mean?

6. The Equal Opportunities Committee adopted the following definition of mainstreaming equality :

"`Mainstreaming' equality is essentially concerned with the integration of equal opportunities principles, strategies and practices into the every day work of Government and other public bodies from the outset, involving `every day' policy actors in addition to equality specialists. In other words, it entails rethinking mainstream provision to accommodate gender, race, disability and other dimensions of discrimination and disadvantage, including class, sexuality and religion."32

What are the activities of committees of the Scottish Parliament?

7. We have included a list of committee functions in Appendix 2 at the end of this paper. Please note that whilst one function of a committee is to scrutinise the financial proposals of the Scottish Executive, it is not intended that a committee is responsible for "equality proofing" any budget. (This matter is dealt with in more detail in the recent Finance Committee Report on the 2003/04 Budget Process.33)

The proposals

8. Appendix 1 sets out more detail of the proposed Mainstreaming Equality Guidelines under the following three headings:

· Primary Legislation ("Bills");

· Information Base; and

· Consultation.

9. The basis for developing the guidelines in this manner is to concentrate on outlining the features of an effective mainstreaming equality process, which defines the intended outcomes of that process.

10. If we were simply to copy other processes from across the world, there is the risk that, not only would they fail to meet the needs identified, they would also not be sufficiently sensitive to the context within which committees of the Scottish Parliament operate.

11. By involving our stakeholders from the outset we aim to develop pragmatic guidelines and practical techniques to ensure effective mainstreaming of equal opportunities in the activities of all committees of the Scottish Parliament.

12. The proposed Mainstreaming Equality Guidelines are not intended to involve changes to Standing Orders. Detailed guidance on legislative procedures within the Scottish Parliament already exists in the "Guidance on Public Bills" and "Guidance on Private Bills" together with more general information on committees in the (provisional) "Guidance for the operation of committees".

13. It is envisaged that, once finalised, the Equal Opportunities Committee would publish the Mainstreaming Equality Guidelines and encourage other committees to use them, with appropriate training provided.

14. In addition, since September 2001 the Equal Opportunities Committee has scrutinised most Scottish Executive Bills34 using a standard equalities checklist. These results will be analysed and used to highlight existing areas of good practice and inform further discussion on how to further develop the Mainstreaming Equality Guidelines.

What other work is being done on mainstreaming equality?

15. The Scottish Executive have already published their approach to mainstreaming equality in the work they carry out and this is set out in their publication "Equality Strategy - Working together for equality". This consultation does not seek comments on the Scottish Executive Equality Strategy, although the Central Research Unit of the Scottish Executive have recently published a most useful report entitled "Equality proofing procedures in drafting legislation: international comparisons"

Conclusion

16. The Equal Opportunities Committee wish to ensure that equality is built into the activities of committees from the outset. You are invited to comment, amongst other relevant issues, on:

· any issue raised by this paper;

· what features would be displayed by an effective approach to mainstreaming equality;

· what the identifiable outcomes of an effective approach to mainstreaming equality would be;

· how to monitor the manner in which committees mainstream equality;

· the proposed Mainstreaming Equality Guidelines;

· any examples of good practice you have either used or come across;

· whether there are any relevant processes you would wish to highlight; and

· whether there are any implementation issues.

Please ensure any response includes the following details:

· Name (incl. title)

· Organisation (if appropriate);

· Job Title (if appropriate);

· Address;

· Telephone Number;

· Fax (if appropriate);

· Email (if appropriate).

If, in any response, you wish to include references to material which has already been published elsewhere, it is not necessary to include a copy. Instead please ensure you provide as much detail as possible.

Please note that your response will be treated as a public document unless you state clearly that you do not want it to be published or circulated in public. All responses will be circulated to the Committee.

Responses should be returned by 27 September 2002. This document has also been published on the Internet at /official_report/cttee/equal.htm.

Copies of this paper and the accompanying letter are also available in Braille, large print and audiotape on request.

APPENDIX 1 - MAINSTREAMING EQUALITY GUIDELINES

Equality Guideline 1 - Primary Legislation ("Bills")

Background

Equal Opportunities criteria should be considered at all stages of the legislative process, including the policy development process preceding the introduction of the bill. Equality proofing during legislation should not be seen a standalone process but rather as part of an on-going process of work which begins at the policy development stage.

The following sets out guidelines for the various types of legislative activity and the main stakeholders.

To carry out mainstreaming activities effectively and ensure that equal opportunities considerations are included in all of their work involving legislative activity, committees need to consider the following:

Primary Legislation - Stage 1

Bill Sponsor

· has the Bill sponsor assessed the implications of the Bill for all equal opportunities categories as identified in the remit of the Equal Opportunities Committee, including the impact on all key stakeholders;

· have any differential impacts on particular categories been quantified, discussed and justified;

· what consultation has been carried out with the stakeholders;

· how clearly have the intended effects of the Bill been set out in accompanying documentation;

· what additional information on the Bill is made available e.g. previous consultation exercises, draft guidance, equality impact assessments, disaggregated data etc;

Committee activity

· to what extent equal opportunities issues have been addressed in selecting witnesses and advisers and analysing evidence; and

· have the equal opportunities criteria been adequately considered at all stages of the legislative process.

Primary Legislation - Stage 2

At Stage 2 there are no formal requirements. However, equal opportunities implications may arise at this stage. The following recognises that there are amendments which are largely technical in nature, or drafted primarily to stimulate debate. Broadly, in discussion of amendments, committees would be encouraged to address:

· if amendments address concerns raised earlier at Stage 1, and how;

· if amendments introduce new policy issues; and,

· if a new policy issue, has an analysis (similar to Stage 1, i.e. impact analysis) been done.

Equality Guideline 2 - Information Base

Equal opportunities criteria should be considered at all stages of the legislative process. In order to carry out mainstreaming activities effectively and ensure that equal opportunities considerations are included in all of their work, committees need to have access to high quality information including:

· disaggregated statistics and other relevant information on equal opportunities categories as identified in the Scotland Act;

· develop EOC database of EO contacts and consultees, accessible to all committees;

· SPICe briefings on Bills should include reference to equal opportunities issues;

· briefing papers on changes to equality legislation;

· briefing notes from relevant external groups;

· legal advice.

Monitoring

Ensure that information resources are regularly updated and relevant training is carried out.

Equality Guideline 3 - Consultation

Committees regularly consult with a variety of individuals and organisations in the course of their work. Equal Opportunities criteria should underpin the processes and mechanisms which facilitate these consultations/inquiries. Specifically, Committees should aim to include equal opportunities criteria in:

· deciding what to consult upon;

· deciding who to consult with; and

· deciding the format of each consultation/inquiry.

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations as part of their overall criteria for choosing an inquiry topic. For example, in deciding topics of consultations and inquiries Committees may wish to identify, by impact analysis, how the proposed topic impacts upon "equal opportunities" as defined in remit of the Equal Opportunities Committee.

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations as part of their overall criteria for selecting witnesses.

For example, Committees should aim to ensure as wide a representation as possible of stakeholders.

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations in deciding the format of a consultation/inquiry. For example, equal opportunities criteria should be adopted in advertising a consultation/inquiry while sufficient time should be allowed for responses in order to allow less well-resourced groups to participate.

Committees should include equal opportunity considerations in deciding who to appoint as Committee advisers.

Monitoring

Monitor and evaluate levels of participation, particularly in order to identify groups who are under-represented. Ensure that witness databases are regularly updated to include widespread representation of minority groups.

APPENDIX 2 - Functions of committees of the Scottish Parliament

"In general terms, the role of all committees is to examine matters within their remits either of their own choosing or, in certain circumstances, those referred to them by the Parliament or another committee. Committees then report their findings and recommendations to the Parliament as a whole. Within the overall competence and powers of the Scottish Parliament the main tasks of the committees are to:

· Scrutinise the policy and work of the Scottish Executive and to hold it to account for its activities;

· Initiate their own inquiries;

· Consider proposals for legislation, including both the general principles and the fine detail;

· Consider any European Communities legislation or any international conventions or agreements;

· Consider the need to reform the law;

· Initiate Bills;

· Consider the financial proposals and financial administration of the Scottish Executive, including variation of taxes, estimates, budgets, audit and performance; and

· Consider public petitions."35

Finally, in order to help the Equal Opportunities Committee please feel free to include comments on any aspect of this Equal Opportunities consultation exercise in your response.

End of consultation paper - Thank you for your help

Please ensure your responses reach us by Friday 27 September 2002

ANNEX D - Events in Aberdeen

Aberdeen - Workshops - Flipchart Notes

Group A

· How has EOC performed? Consultation has improved.

· Do people know what mainstreaming is? The `concept' is unclear.

· Lack of awareness about what Committee responsibilities are e.g. on section 2A.

· Community planning is a key process.

· Gypsy/Travellers Inquiry - disappointing Executive response.

· Would targets and monitoring help mainstreaming? RRA Act and Best Value pushing the agenda.

· There is much good work on equalities - need to spread out this practice and feed into mainstream policy development.

· Access to transport is an equalities issue - local authorities differ in their responses.

· Should be more time to respond to consultation documents.

· Needs to be more activity at the grassroots across all equalities groups.

· Monitoring of consultation processes is important.

· Finding ways of monitoring both process and outcomes.

· Champions needs to be identified.

· Equality needs to be built into every service plan and then monitored - but will all offices be involved with this?

· Discussion re Equal Opportunities Committee or 1 representative per committee - always case for bringing people together to ensure that it is happening.

· Always need to check it is happening - 2 way process - need to be aware; need to act on it.

· BSL - Moray - deaf children don't have enough access to educational institutions, health, housing. Difficult to get interpreters; BSL not recognised but 50,000 deaf people; money's not available; discriminated against. The Cross-Party Group on Deafness is pushing for more training on BSL as it is difficult to get signers. (The Cross-Party Group on Visual Impairment had some progress.) Meetings of the Equal Opportunities Committee with translations into Punjabi; Use of new technology to get proper access. Videos in BSL? Can be information available if needed - in Freedom of Information Act - can access to certain degree - from any source. Deafline Scotland - in England/Wales - Doc 7? - Need to identify deaf in community and rights to service; - no involvement in Scotland to date.

Group B

· Clear about outcomes

· Flexibility

· Including the excluded - the appropriate hook

· Meeting people where they are - style and format; voices and ears

· Pull best practice together at local level

· Celebrate people and cultural differences

· Toolkit to do the job

· Given time

· Language

· Professional barriers

· Community of tomorrow is the playground of today

· Hearts and minds - awareness - using organisational infrastructure; `folk like us'; isolation

· Diversity

· Training

· Concern with pace of change

· Appropriate approach

· Building trust at all levels

· Media - awareness & partnership.

Group C

Who are the stakeholders?

· `ordinary people' - from disadvantaged groups

· professionals - can speak `be voice' for those they represent

· carers

· private sector, public sector, voluntary sector

· Mainstreaming is everybody's responsibility

· Mainstreaming has to be built in, no good as add-on

· need awareness raising + training - to overcome barriers - starting in schools - continuing throughout

· government can't do everything - need to work in partnership - private partners must have equality policy

· want legislation on contract work - to say that anti-discrimination practice should be considered

· contractors must be scrutinised

· target schools `Respect' campaign - all equality issues

· Are schools less open now than in the past to equalities issues?

How do we integrate equality work in schools?

· mainstreaming in schools is beneficial for all children

· where are the people from the private business sector? Were they invited?

· will hear more from the private sector in future - most companies will have community liaison/relations officers

· share responsibility with Scottish Executive

· Private companies will make the difference

· Business will accept difference - as long as workers are productive

· Secondments - valuable experience - learn from each other

· Race Relations Amendment Act is a wonderful opportunity

· Legislation is a good starting point - needs teeth, then can change attitudes.

Key points raised at feedback session:

· Everyone is a stakeholder but all sectors were not represented in the workshops.

· Invisibility is an issue with some people/groups, such as LGBT people, and mental health carers.

· Some stakeholders don't recognise that they are stakeholders - particularly ill people.

· There is a need to start the dialogue on equalities at a young age. The discussion of equality issues in schools has decreased recently.

· Private sector contractors for the Scottish Executive and local government - we should insist that they have anti-discriminatory practices.

· There is more awareness of equalities - we are moving in the right direction.

· Is the move away from a dedicated equalities person and more towards champions?

· Consultation has improved but the voluntary sector need more time to respond to consultations.

· There is a lack of awareness of the committee structure.

· Need both bottom up and top down approach and monitoring for community needs and responsiveness.

· Training is very important.

· There is a need for training for British Sign Language (BSL).

· There is a need to use new technologies to improve access to the widest possible groups, including minority languages.

· The language is jargonistic - `mainstreaming', `stakeholder' - we could do with better words to achieve more widespread understanding.

List of Organisations Represented

Aberdeen Accessible Transport Group

Aberdeen Action on Disability

Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council Disability Advisory Group

Aberdeen Engender

Aberdeen Group for Younger Hearing Impaired People

AGYHIP

Aberdeen School for the Deaf

Afro Caribbean Christian Fellowship

Babtie Group

Deaf Blind Scotland

Filipino Community of Aberdeen

Foyer Federation

Grampian Deaf Children's Society

Grampian Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Switchboard

Grampian NHS Board

Grampian Police

Grampian Racial Equality Council

Grampian Society for the Blind

Highland & Islands Equality Forum

Highland Council

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Malaysian Ladies Group

Pillar Aberdeen

Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters

Scottish Down's Syndrome Association - Grampian Branch

St Johns Church for the Deaf

Sunnybank Primary School

The International Centre

UHI Millenium Institute

University of Aberdeen

Voluntary Service Aberdeen

ANNEX E - Letter from the Minister for Social Justice re Overarching Equality Statement

Minister for Social Justice

Margaret Curran MSP

Kate Maclean MSP
Convenor
Equal Opportunities Committee
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Victoria Quay

Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
Telephone: 0131-556 8400
Scottish.ministers@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
http://www.scotland.gov.uk

Our ref: ZIJ 2/7
January 2003

OVERARCHING EQUALITY CLAUSE IN LEGISLATION

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE, 4 FEBRUARY

I am writing on the above subject to let the Committee know of the progress in the Executive's consideration of the above issue in advance of my appearance before them on 4 February.

The proposal of an overarching equality clause in legislation was a recommendation of the Committee's report entitled 'Analysis of Routine Scrutiny of Legislation'. Richard Simpson, when Deputy Minister for Justice, also undertook to consider the issue in the Stage One debate on the Debt Arrangement and Attachment Bill last year. I hope you will take this letter as replying to both these outstanding issues.

Of course we take this very seriously indeed. We want Social Justice to be at the heart of everything we do, and equality is a very important aspect of this. However the Executive are not yet in a position to give a final view on the adoption of an overarching equality clause in legislation.

You will realise that the Committee's recommendation that an overarching equality clause is applied to all legislation is very complex with potentially far-reaching effects. As such it requires consideration from a number of legal and policy perspectives, as well as developments in the light of the unfolding legislative picture. An example of the latter is of course the fact that the most recent Bill in which there were significant equality issues was the Local Government (Scotland) Bill, which was only passed in the Parliament on 8 January.

Ministers are therefore still considering the issues raised by the proposed adoption of an overarching equality clause in legislation. I am sorry that this means that the Committee do not yet have a full response on this issue, but I will of course follow up this letter as soon as we are able to come to a view.

You will understand that we want to ensure that we do not get into the situation where our consideration of the issue is rushed and which does not allow time for full reflection on all the implications. Be assured, however, that the Executive is taking this matter very seriously indeed..

I hope that this letter has given you an adequate update on our work to progress this issue and I look forward to our meeting on Tuesday.

MARGARET CURRAN

ANNEX F - NEBU Equal Opportunities Guidance

NEBU

Equal Opportunities Considerations

As part of Equal Opportunity awareness in the work of the Non-Executive Bills Unit as a minimum the unit will ensure the following consideration takes place. It should be recognised that it is not the job of the unit to make policy rather the unit assists in the development of the member or committees policy.

· It will be assumed that there is an equality impact in all of our work.

· Impact will be assessed through encouraging members and committees to utilise their consultation exercises. These should reach to each of the 4 equality groups by ensuring that all are included in lists of consultees. Our target is to encourage consultation with up to 5 members of each group of which at least two are "ordinary" voices. In addition consultation documents will be made available via the web site. (Covering letters would be required asking recipients to comment on equalities issues and also inviting them to pass the consultation on to others who may have an interest.)

· Policy Memorandum prepared by this unit will set out the outcomes of consideration of consultation responses and in respect of responses from the equality groups we will set out how they have been taken into account or otherwise dealt with.

· We will also prompt members to follow up the implementation of policies by asking questions in relation to evaluation and other implications of equality issues.

In relation to our work on Private Bills we are to include in the guidance a reminder to promoters of the need to address equality issues and will be encouraging private bill committees to carefully scrutinise this aspect during Stage 1 consideration.

Non-Executive Bills Unit

November 2001

ANNEX G - Extracts from the Minutes

EO/00/20/M

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES

20th Meeting, 2000 (Session 1)

Tuesday 24 October 2000

Present:

Malcolm Chisholm

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Nora Radcliffe

Shona Robison (Deputy Convener)

Elaine Smith

 

The meeting opened at 10.06 am

Equality proofing and mainstreaming: The Committee agreed to submit a bid to SPICe for research into mainstreaming and that, as an interim measure until detailed proposals were available, the Clerk would produce a draft checklist which would be considered at the Committee's next meeting.

The Committee also agreed that the Clerks liaise with the Procedures Committee to ensure that the Equal Opportunities Committee's work was complementary to the Procedures Committee's Inquiry into the Application of the Consultative Steering Group Principles in the Scottish Parliament.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EO/00/21/M

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES

21st Meeting, 2000 (Session 1)

Tuesday 7 November 2000

Present:

Linda Fabiani

Marilyn Livingstone

Jamie McGrigor

Irene McGugan

Kate MacLean (Convener)

Michael McMahon

John Munro

Nora Radcliffe

Elaine Smith

Kay Ullrich (Deputy Convener)

The meeting opened at 10.09am

Equalities checklist and research proposal on mainstreaming equalities in the Scottish Parliament: The Committee agreed to consult with interested groups and that thereafter the Convener write to all Conveners requesting that the interim checklist was integrated into their work. The Committee approved the draft research proposal.

Lee Bridges

Clerk to the Committee

EO/02/17/M

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES

17th Meeting, 2002 (Session 1)

Tuesday 12 November 2002

Present:

Kate Maclean (Convener)

Mrs Lyndsay McIntosh

Mr Michael McMahon

Tommy Sheridan

Mr Jamie Stone

Mrs Kay Ullrich

Apologies: Gil Paterson, Cathy Peattie, Elaine Smith

Mainstreaming Equality in the Work of Parliamentary Committees: The Committee agreed a paper on themes arising from its consultation.

Jim Johnston

Clerk to the Committee

Tel: 0131 348 5211

email: james.johnston@scottish.parliament.uk

EO/03/01/M

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES

1st Meeting, 2003 (Session 1)

Tuesday 14 January 2003

Present:

Kate Maclean (Convener)

Mrs Lyndsay McIntosh

Mr Michael McMahon

Cathy Peattie

Tommy Sheridan

Elaine Smith

   

Apologies: Mr Jamie Stone, Mrs Kay Ullrich

Mainstreaming Equality in the Work of Parliamentary Committees: The Committee heard evidence from-

Jon Harris, Ellen Kelly, COSLA

Rona Fitzgerald, Equal Opportunities Commission

Phillipa Bonella, Lucy McTernan, SCVO.

Jim Johnston

Clerk to the Committee

Tel: 0131 348 5211

email: james.johnston@scottish.parliament.uk

EO/03/03/M

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES

3rd Meeting, 2003 (Session 1)

Tuesday 4 February 2003

Present:

Kate Maclean (Convener)

Mr Michael McMahon

Mrs Lyndsay McIntosh

Cathy Peattie

Elaine Smith

 

Apologies: Tommy Sheridan, Mr Jamie Stone, Mrs Kay Ullrich

Mainstreaming Equality: The Committee heard evidence from-

Margaret Curran MSP, Minister for Social Justice

Yvonne Strachan, Scottish Executive Equality Unit.

Mainstreaming Equality in the Work of Parliamentary Committees: The Committee agreed to consider a draft report at its next meeting.

Jim Johnston

Clerk to the Committee

Tel: 0131 348 5211

email: james.johnston@scottish.parliament.uk

EO/03/04/M

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMITTEE

EXTRACT FROM THE MINUTES

4th Meeting, 2003 (Session 1)

Tuesday 4 March 2003

Present:

Kate Maclean (Convener)

Mrs Lyndsay McIntosh

Mr Michael McMahon

Mr Gil Paterson

Cathy Peattie

Elaine Smith

Mr Jamie Stone

Mrs Kay Ullrich

Mainstreaming Equality in the Work of Parliamentary Committees (in private): The Committee agreed the report as amended.

Jim Johnston

Clerk to the Committee

Tel: 0131 348 5211

email: james.johnston@scottish.parliament.uk

ANNEX H - Official Reports

20th Meeting 2000 (Session 1), 24 October 2000, Official Report

21st Meeting 2000 (Session 1), 7 November 2000, Official Report

17th Meeting 2002 (Session 1), 12 November 2002, Official Report

1st Meeting 2003 (Session 1), 14 January 2003, Official Report

3rd Meeting 2003, (Session 1), 4 February 2003, Official Report


Footnotes

1 Council of Europe, Paper EG(99)13, Gender Mainstreaming: Practice and Prospects

2 Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, paragraph 14.

3 Report of the Consultative Steering Group of the Scottish Parliament, p.12.

4 Equality in the Scottish Parliament, The Equality Framework, Document 9, p1.

5 Meeting of the Equal Opportunities Committee, 4 February 2003, O.R. Col. 1754.

6 Equal Opportunities Committee, 5th Report 2002, Analysis of Routine Scrutiny of Legislation, SP Paper 664.

7 Ibid. p10.

8 Ibid. p11.

9 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p4.

10 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p7

11 Report of the Consultative Steering Group, Shaping Scotland's Parliament, p12.

12 Procedures Committee, CSG Report, Committee First Draft, para 257

13 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p8.

14 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p8.

15 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p6.

16 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p5.

17 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p11.

18 Council of Europe, Paper EG(99)13, Gender Mainstreaming: Practice and Prospects

19 Council of Europe Paper, EG(99)3, Final Report of Activities of the Group of Specialists on Mainstreaming (EG-S-MS)

20 Procedures Committee, CSG Report, First Draft, p28.

21 Procedures Committee, CSG Report, First Draft, p 23.

22 Procedures Committee, CSG Report, First Draft, p15.

23 SO Rule 6.9.2 "In these Rules, "equal opportunities" includes 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"

24 Aberdeen Trades Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Argyll and Bute Council, CACFOA, Castlemilk Churches Together Refugee Centre, Greater Glasgow Health Centre, Victim Support Scotland

25 Orkney Islands Council, RNIB, Victim Support Scotland and Fair Play

26 Toolkit for mainstreaming equal opportunities in the European Structural Funds - A practical guide to plan preparation and implementation: Scottish Executive, Equal Opportunities Commission, Fundacion Mujeres, Scottish ESF Objective 3 Partnership, Strathclyde European Partnership.

27 This accepts the fact that subsequent implementation may involve further Parliamentary scrutiny.

28 Procedures Committee, CSG Report, Committee First Draft, para 233

29 Sheffield Hallam University, Mainstreaming Equality in the Committees of the Scottish Parliament, p25.

30 EOC/CRE document - Questions on Mainstreaming

31 Paragraph 30, Annex H, "Shaping Scotland's Parliament: Report of the Consultative Steering Group on the Scottish Parliament"

32 EOC/CRE Questions for mainstreaming

33 Finance Committee, 3rd Report 2002, Stage 1 of the 2003/04 Budget Process

34 The exception was the Fur Farming(Prohibition)(Scotland) Bill - SP 39

35 Chapter 18, "Annual Report of the Scottish Parliament Committees 2000"

 

 

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