New Equality Duties for Public Authorities in Scotland

Date: 7th June 2012
Category: General measures of implementation

The Scottish Government's new regulations, which place specific equality duties on named public authorities in Scotland, came into force on 27 May 2012.

These specific duties are designed to help public authorities develop better policies and practices, improve transparency and accountability, and deliver better outcomes for everyone in Scotland.

The duties also look to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and advance equality of opportunity between different groups.

The challenges of inequality in Scotland are significant:

  • just under half of disabled people are employed.
  • only one third of managerial jobs are held by women
  • women are paid 12% less than men in full time work
  • one in eight LGBT people are victims of "hate crime" every year

The specific duties are designed to take action on such issues of inequality and are an effective means of helping public authorities deliver better outcomes for the individuals and communities they serve. For the first time, they also include a duty to assess impact on equality, improving the outcomes of policies and practices for all equality groups.

Key elements of the specific duties include equality outcomes, impact assessment, and the recording of employment, gender pay gap and occupational segregation information.