CHAPTER 3 - PROGRESS THROUGH SYSTEMS, PROCESSES AND COORDINATIO
3.1 This chapter describes some of the systems that we have in place to help us to deliver equality of opportunity for disabled people. It covers equality impact assessment, our work on consultation and involving disabled people, and our approach to the Scottish Ministers' Duty.
Equality Impact Assessment
3.2 Equality Impact Assessment ( EQIA) is a mechanism for the thorough and systematic analysis of a policy, to be used at the time of reviewing an existing policy, changing an existing policy or developing a new policy. The primary function of the EQIA is to determine the extent of differential impact upon the relevant groups, and in turn whether that impact is adverse, i.e. whether it has a negative impact on groups or individuals in relation to one or more of the equality strands. The Scottish Government's approach to EQIA covers all 6 equality strands - age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
3.3 An EQIA will be considered for the full range of the Scottish Government's activities, strategies, functions, policies, legislation and processes. We have developed an EQIA toolkit and associated guidance which is available online through the Scottish Government's intranet. What this means is that the toolkit and guidance are available to all staff on their desktop computers.
3.4 Guidance is available at each step and staff must complete the relevant sections of an online database which has been set up to record this process. The Scottish Government's EQIA toolkit and guidance are available online at the people and society, equality pages on the Scottish Government's website.
3.5 Our EQIA and guidance require policy makers to be proactive and look at how they promote equality of opportunity, including the opportunity to encourage participation in public life, promote positive attitudes towards groups of individuals or promote good relations between different groups of individuals may be clear and obvious.
3.6 As of 24 November 2008 there were 39 published Equality Impact Assessments, with a further 138 assessments in progress. Published assessments can be viewed online at:
Consultation and Involvement
3.7 The Scottish Government has long recognised that involving disabled people in our work is key to delivering disability equality. Our work to involve disabled people precedes the introduction of the legal duty to do so, and we have ensured that the ongoing development of our approach builds on established relationships with disabled people and their organisations.
3.8 We recognised that we needed to do more to involve disabled people in the development of our scheme. we held a series of meetings to gather the views and priorities of disabled people and these are clearly reflected in our original scheme and in the revised scheme. However, we recognised that this would be an ongoing progress, and we made a commitment in the revised scheme (published May 2008) to develop our work on involvement.
3.9 To help us develop longer term mechanisms to involve disabled people across the work of the Scottish government we have provided a package of funding to five disability-led projects over the period 2008-11, and the main focus of their work will be to help to build the capacity of disabled people and to improve their engagement with the Scottish Government and other public bodies. The organisations who have received funding for involvement work are:
- Inclusion Scotland
- Scottish Disability Equality Forum
- Scottish Council on Deafness
- Communication Forum Scotland
3.10 In addition to the above, we have provided funding to develop a new disability-led project whose focus will be supporting the involvement of disabled people in our approach to independent living. this project is hosted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (Scotland).
3.11 As a condition of funding, all of these projects were required to demonstrate how they would actively seek to increase the diversity of their own group in the way that they work, and they will be monitored on this. this will help ensure that a broad range of impairment groups are represented, as well as other factors which impact on an individual's experience of disability according to other equality groups as well as factors such as location, income and other circumstances.
3.12 All of the projects we are funding to help improve the involvement of disabled people in policy making have agreed to work together with the Scottish Government and each other to develop more effective and practical mechanisms to facilitate this. We will do this through our Policy and Engagement Officers Network. The network provides an opportunity to:
- share innovation and best practice
- work towards developing groupings of disabled people with an interest in particular areas of policy
- explore practical ways for local and national public bodies to engage with disabled people
3.13 The next meeting of the Policy and Engagement Officers Network will take place in January 2009. we are seeking to expand the membership of this group to include other organisations, representing disabled people with mental health issues, learning disability and HIV.
3.14 Although we have made progress in this area of work over the past six months, we see the next two years as crucial for developing a sustainable approach to involving disabled people more effectively.
The Scottish Ministers' Duty
3.15 Under the disability equality duty, the Scottish Ministers are required to publish reports on the progress being made by public authorities on disability equality and set out proposals for coordination of action by public authorities to further progress towards disability equality. Scottish Ministers published their response to this duty on 28 November 2008. The reports can be viewed online at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/Equality/disability/disabilityministersduty
Approach to Reporting
3.16 The purpose of the Scottish Ministers' duty is to prompt leadership across the public sector and ensure that a strategic view is taken towards the promotion of disability equality. The reporting aspects of the duty are an opportunity to provide information on the effectiveness of the public sector in delivering disability equality. The coordination aspects of the duty provide Scottish Ministers with an opportunity to set strategic priorities for the delivery of disability equality.
3.17 Dialogue with disabled people and with public bodies forms a key first stage in the delivering the Scottish Ministers' proposals for coordination. That dialogue will take place over the early part of 2009, building on the involvement work outlined at paragraphs 3.9-3.14 above. Dialogue will also inform public bodies work around Single Outcome Agreements and delivery of the national outcomes, see paragraphs 1.2-1.3 above. We will report on the outcome of that dialogue in June 2009.