Scottish Specific Duties
The Scottish Specific duties were created by secondary legislation in the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012. These specific duties came into force on 27 May 2012. The purpose of the specific duties in Scotland is to help those authorities listed in the Regulations in their performance of the general equality duty.
The Scottish Specific Duties
A listed authority is required to publish a report on the progress it has made to make the general equality duty integral to the exercise of its functions, so as to better perform that duty.
The report must be published not later than 30 April 2013, and subsequently at intervals of not more than two years.
The report must include (if not published previously): an annual breakdown of the information the authority has gathered under its duty to gather and use employee information and details of the progress that it has made in using that information to enable the authority to better perform the general equality duty.
A listed authority is required to publish a set of equality outcomes which it considers will enable it to better perform the general equality duty, by no later than 30 April 2013.
In preparing a set of equality outcomes, the authority must take reasonable steps to involve people who share a relevant protected characteristic and anyone who appears to the authority to represent the interests of those people.
The authority must also consider relevant evidence relating to people who share a relevant protected characteristic.
If an authority’s set of outcomes does not further the needs of the general equality duty in relation to every relevant protected characteristic, it must publish the reasons for this.
An authority must publish a fresh set of equality outcomes within four years of publishing its previous set.
By no later than 30 April 2015 and every two years thereafter, an authority must publish a report on the progress made to achieve the equality outcomes it has set.
A listed authority is required to assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice, against the needs of the general equality duty, in so far as is needed to meet the general equality duty.
In making the assessment, an authority must consider relevant evidence relating to people who share a protected characteristic (including any evidence received from those people).
In developing a policy or practice, an authority must take account of the results of their assessment of that policy or practice.
If an authority decides to apply the policy or practice in question, it must publish the results of the assessment, within a reasonable time.
An authority must also make arrangements to review and, where necessary, revise any existing policies or practices.
An authority’s consideration of whether or not an assessment of impact is needed cannot be treated as an assessment itself.
A listed authority is required to take steps to gather information on the composition of its employees (if any); as well as annual information on the recruitment, development and retention of employees with respect to the number and relevant protected characteristics of employees.
Importantly, the authority must use this information to better perform the general equality duty.
An authority’s mainstreaming report (see above) must include an annual breakdown of the information gathered. It must also include details of the progress that the authority has made in gathering and using the information to enable it to better perform the general equality duty.
As noted above, the first report on mainstreaming the general equality duty must be published not later than 30 April 2013, and subsequently at intervals of not more than two years.
A listed authority is required to publish information on the percentage difference, among its employees, between men’s average hourly pay (excluding overtime) and women’s average hourly pay (excluding overtime), no later than 30 April 2013, and every two years thereafter.
The information published must be based on the most recent data available for a date when the authority had at least 150 employees. No publication is necessary if, since these regulations came into force or since publication was last due, the authority has not had 150 employees at any point.
A listed authority is required to publish a statement on equal pay, no later than 30 April 2013, and every four years thereafter.
An equal pay statement must contain the authority’s policy on equal pay, as well as information on occupational segregation (the concentration of groups in particular grades and in particular occupations).
The first such report needs to contain information relating to women and men. However, from the second report (due within four years of the first) a listed authority is also required to publish its equal pay information, in relation to people who are disabled and people who are not, and people who are members of a minority racial group and people who are not.
The same 150 employee threshold applies to this duty as to the duty to publish gender pay gap information.
Where a listed authority is carrying out a public procurement exercise, it must have due regard to whether its award criteria should include equality considerations which will help it to better perform the equality duty.
Where it proposes to stipulate performance conditions in its procurement agreement, it must have due regard to whether the conditions should include equality considerations which will help it to better perform the equality duty.
If it has existing public performance reporting systems a listed authority is required to use these, as far as practicable, to publish its:
- report on mainstreaming the equality duty
- set of equality outcomes and report on progress made to achieve these outcomes
- gender pay gap information
- statement on equal pay and occupational segregation.
The reports must also be accessible to the public.
Scottish Ministers must publish proposals for activity to enable a listed authority to better perform the general equality duty not later than 31 December 2013 and subsequently every four years.
This timing will allow Scottish Ministers to take account of the information published by Scottish listed authorities in their mainstreaming reports, equality outcomes, gender pay gap information and statements on equal pay and occupational segregation.
Scottish Ministers must publish a report on progress in relation to this activity not later than 31 December 2015 and subsequently every four years.