1. The Equal Opportunities Committee is in the process of commissioning
research on "mainstreaming equality" in committee
activities. The attached sets of questions draw on several sources
in an attempt to further strengthen the interim checklist (from
EOC/CRE) previously adopted in this work.
2. The Committee has already agreed that those bills previously
flagged for routine scrutiny will have the proposed questions
sent to the appropriate Sponsor (Minister for SE bills, Convener
for committee bills and MSP for Members bills) under cover of
a letter from the Convener.
3. In order to further inform the mainstreaming equality research,
and also to demonstrably set a good example, the Committee welcomes
comments (via the Clerks) on the initial questions and will
review their usage after three months.
4. Comments may be submitted using the following methods:
- Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax it to 0131 348 5600 or
- Send it on a 3½" disk in Word 97 format or
- By post to:
Equal Opportunities Committee,
Room G10 Committee Chambers,
The Scottish Parliament,
5. If you have any questions, ring us on 0131 348 5216 or use
the minicom on 0131 348 5415.
Policy and Legislation - Initial Questions
The Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament
has commissioned research into mainstreaming equality into committee
activity. In the meantime, it has agreed that, as a minimal
level of scrutiny of all legislation, it will ask the relevant
Bill sponsor the questions set out in this annex. Naturally,
this does not preclude further questions.
The Committee uses the legal definition of equal opportunities
requirements and equal opportunity as set out in Schedule 5,
Section L2 of the Scotland Act 1998:
"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
It is therefore expected that ALL of these areas should be
considered. 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.
In addition, the Committee has agreed the following definition
of "mainstreaming equalities":
"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."
The Committee will examine the policy development process that
brings legislation and issues to Parliament. Given the clear
standards set it expects to see a process which encompasses
a strategic vision, is effective and seeks continuous improvement.
It is therefore likely that it will clearly display the following
- forward looking;
- outward looking;
- innovative and creative;
- evidence based;
- subject to regular review;
- subject to formal evaluation of outputs; and
- learns lessons which are disseminated.
The Committee will review the use of these initial questions
sets at regular intervals. The Committee welcomes discussion
and comment on the initial question sets. Comments and queries
may be addressed to the Clerking Team.
The Committee recognises that there will be occasions when
some of the answers are in the negative. However, it expects
that this will be as a result of a decision once the issues
raised have been considered: it does not expect a nil response
due to an omission of action.
Definition - Policy makers clearly define the outcomes the
policy [and legislation] is designed to achieve and, where appropriate,
take a long-term view based on statistical trends, and informed
predictions of social, political, economic and cultural trends,
for at least five years into the future of the likely effect
and impact of the policy
Broadly what process has been used to identify, define and
refine policy issues
- What is the issue?
- Who says it is an issue?
- Why has it become an issue?
- What are the root causes?
- How are the root causes perpetuated?
- What factors (e.g. legal, economic etc) are influencing
- Does this issue require further policy analysis?
- If so, why take action now?
Broadly, what process has been used to define the intended
- What outcomes does government want to achieve with this
- Is this outcome targeted on particular groups, or society
- What outcomes would other stakeholders reasonably expect
from this policy?
- If there are priority target groups, on what is this priority
- Can any of these outcomes be achieved by means other than
new or revised policy/legislation?
- Is the development of a policy/legislation the best means
to produce the desired outcome?
- How do these outcomes meet or hinder other government values,
objectives or policies?
- What FABRIC compliant outcome indicators are identified?
- What factors/forces could contribute/detract from the outcomes?
- Have the indirect, as well as the direct, effects of proposals
been taken into account?
- What options are indicated by the data/ information/research?
- How are the options directly related to the desired outcomes
- How do your values, those of the system and those of society
limit the range of options being developed?
- How do these options influence or change the factors affecting
the issue as previously identified?
- How do each of the options meet or hinder existing policies,
programs or legislation?
- How to ensure accountability?
Definition - Policy makers take account of influencing factors
in the national, European and international situation: draw
on experience in other countries; and consider how the policy
will be communicated with the public [and stakeholders]
Broadly, what consultation processes have been used
- What did you need to know about the issue?
- What influencing factors are there at the national, European
and international level?
- Did you consider there were any underlying problems?
- Did you consider there were any values held, which would
influence the approach adopted towards the issues?
- Who was involved in determining what information is needed?
- What information sources were available?
- Were there any partners in information gathering/provision?
- What processes were are required to effectively consult
with these partners?
- What information was required to ensure that all perspectives
will be taken into consideration?
- Who has been consulted, and how?
- How was the fact that it is harder for some groups than
others to speak out been taken into account?
- Were the Cabinet Office guidelines on consultation followed?
If not why not
- How was the full range of options and their differential
impacts on all equality groups presented as part of the consultation
- Did each of the options present a "real" alternative
- Was there, at any time in the policy process, a decision
made as to whether the policy should be redefined in light
of the availability and appropriateness of the information?
Broadly, what communication processes are used for public and
- What is the message you want to communicate?
- To whom do you want to communicate it?
- What is the main message to be communicated to each audience?
- How will the policy be communicated?
- What information will be given to whom?
INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE
Definition - Policy makers are flexible and innovative, questioning
established ways of dealing with things; encouraging new and
creative ideas; and, where appropriate, making established ways
work better. Wherever possible, open to comments and suggestions
of others. Risks are identified and actively managed. Experimentation
and diversity are encouraged through the use of pilots.
The Committee does not seek to stifle creativity by delineating
possible activities as having greater value than others have:
it will evaluate on result.
Definition - Policy makers' advice/decisions are based upon
the best available evidence from a wide range of sources: all
key stakeholders are involved at an early stage and through
the policy's development. All relevant evidence, including that
from specialists, is available in an accessible and meaningful
form to policy makers [and also to public scrutiny]
Broadly, what research has been done to provide evidence?
- Is the data you have been provided with broken down into
sub-categories of gender, ethnic origin, age and disability?
- What was the analysis seeking to determine (e.g. cost/benefit,
social impact, and effect on government priorities)?
- Who determined the research question(s)?
- What were the research question(s)?
- What factors affected the research design?
- Who was involved in the research and the research design?
- What guarantees existed that the scope and nature of the
research design were appropriate for this policy issue?
- What methodology (ies) were used?
- What type of analysis was carried out?
Definition - Policy makers take account of the impact on and/or
meet the needs of all people directly or indirectly affected
by the policy; and involve key stakeholders directly in the
- Does, as a minimum, the policy properly consider the needs
of diverse groups of women and men?
- Have equalities dimensions been explicitly addressed in
line with SE Equality Strategy?
- Do we have full information and analyses about the impact
of the policy upon all equalities groups?
- If not, why not, and when will we have it?
- How can you demonstrate you have mainstreamed equality?
Definition - policy makers take a holistic view, looking beyond
institutional boundaries to the government's strategic objectives
and seek to establish the ethical, moral and legal base for
policy. Consider appropriate management/organisational structures
needed to deliver cross-cutting objectives. Develop a rewards
and incentives system that encourages and maintains cross-cutting
Broadly, how would the strategy proposed work to overcome organisational
boundaries and deliver a holistic, cross-cutting service?
- What are the direct and/or indirect implications of each
- Are there unintended outcomes?
- What factors will positively and negatively affect the implementation
of each option?
- Who would implement each option?
- What resources are required for each option?
- How have resources been allocated to support the chosen
- How have resources been allocated for future support?
- What resources are they (e.g. financial, resources, staff
SUBJECT TO REGULAR REVIEW
Definition - Existing/established policy is constantly reviewed
to ensure it is really dealing with problems it was designed
to solve, taking account of associated effects elsewhere.
Broadly, how can the quality of the outcomes be assured?
- What monitoring and accountability processes are needed
to ensure the outcomes?
- Who will establish the criteria to judge the success of
- At what stage in the process were the success criteria defined?
- Who will report on the outcomes, and to whom?
- Who is accountable for the quality
SUBJECT TO FORMAL EVALUATION OF OUTPUTS
Definition - Systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of
policy is built into the policy making process
- What outcome indicators should be identified?
- What monitoring and accountability processes are needed
to ensure the outcomes?
- Can we measure progress through existing data collection
- What proportion of current and future allocation has been
ring-fenced for evaluation purposes?
LEARNS LESSONS WHICH ARE DISSEMINATED.
Definition - Learns from experience of what works and what
- Who will be involved in external and peer reviews of the
- What measures will be taken to communicate the policy, program
and legislation to those who participated in its development?