Equalities mainstreaming report 2017-2019

Published: 10 May 2019
Freedom of information class: About Registers of Scotland

Equalities report 2017-2019.

Registers of Scotland is a non-ministerial office of the Scottish Government, responsible for compiling and maintaining twenty public registers in Scotland.

These registers relate to land, property and other legal documents. Registers of Scotland is the home for land and property information in Scotland.

Our main registers are:

  • Land Register of Scotland
  • General Register of Sasines

Our registers ensure that every property in Scotland is protected for its owners, which in turn enables confident land and property transactions.

Our stable land registration system is recognised by the World Bank as underpinning the Scottish economy.

We’re entirely self-funded and our income is dependent on the economic climate and the buoyancy of the property market.

The majority of our income is generated by the fees we charge to purchasers and sellers of property.

This has enabled us to take a commercial approach to what we do and has given us the flexibility to manage our income and expenditure.

Our corporate business plan – vision and values

Our vision is to be a digital registration information business trusted for our integrity.

Our values are customer focussed, forward thinking, impartial and professional.

Our objectives

We have four strategic objectives that capture the essence of why Registers of Scotland exists.

These objectives will help us focus on what we need to do to deliver for our customers, for each other and for Scotland:

  • Complete Scotland’s Land Register by 2024
  • Lead on the innovative provision of land and property data
  • Develop and deliver digital improvements
  • Invest in our people

You can read our full corporate business plan 2019-2024.

Our people

All our people related activities are business driven, aligned to our vision, values and objectives.

Our people are a vital asset and as a knowledge business, we’re proud of the depth and range of experience in our organisation.

We’re committed to the engagement, performance and wellbeing of our people, which is reflected in our people strategy.

The commitments detailed in our people strategy will ensure that our people have the necessary skills, knowledge and motivation to deliver services of the highest quality to all of our customers.

Building capability is a cornerstone of our people strategy, helping our people to be confident, flexible and agile to meet a diverse range of customer needs both now and in the future.

Mainstreaming equality outcomes

We’ve identified three equality outcomes which are directly relevant to our strategic goals and aligned with the general duty as defined in the Equality Act 2010.

In addition, we’re committed to the principles enshrined in the Scottish Ministers’ Fair Work Agreement published in 2018.

Our three outcomes:

  1. managers and colleagues have an increased understanding of Equality and Diversity issues, fostering an inclusive culture and eliminating discrimination, victimisation and harassment within Registers of Scotland
  2. recruitment activities are open and fair and undertaken without bias ensuring roles are filled on the basis of talent, skills, knowledge and experience, creating a staff profile that reflects the population of Scotland
  3. all sectors of the Scottish population can access and be confident about the integrity and usability of Registers of Scotland products and services

How we have performed against these outcomes:

Equality and diversity

We’re pleased to report that we’ve had no substantiated instances of discrimination, victimisation or harassment in the reporting period (2017-2019).

We’ve introduced online education on the topic of unconscious bias for all of our colleagues and this is mandatory on joining.

The organisation, additionally, has created learning material related to dignity at work.

We’ve developed an Institute of Learning Management (ILM) accredited development programme for our people managers, which includes modules on equality and diversity and fair treatment of colleagues and customers.

All our internal learning and development activity pays attention to different adult learning styles and is available in various formats to ensure accessibility of content.

As 75% of our part-time population is female with many having caring responsibilities, we make sure we run any formal taught programmes mid-week to assist with their domestic planning.

In our Performance and Learning portal there is a rich variety of learning material available to each and every one of our colleagues.

The materials relevant to developing understanding of Equality , Diversity and Fair work include:

Cause of Concern A case study designed to give participants practical experience of dealing with the ‘grey areas’ that can arise around diversity.
Definitions of Diversity Language has been identified as one of the key factors in which prejudice can lie. It is vital organisations communicate its diversity intentions using the appropriate terminology and language.
Diversity at Levi-Strauss &Co. An article highlighting the inclusive values integrated within Levi Strauss & Co, where 56.5% of employees are from ethnic minorities.
Diversity Legal Issues This article explains the key legal issues relating to diversity management.

Diversity Overview

Diversity has a key role to play in helping organisations succeed in a highly competitive and increasingly global marketplace.

Do you lead Diversity?

An exercise designed to give managers an opportunity for structured reflection on their personal contributions to diversity.

IBM - Valuing Diversity

IBM has a consistent reputation as leader in the workforce diversity in the workplace.

Leading Diversity

Effective diversity management requires increasing the diversity of the workforce in a purposeful way, as well as leading with a new range of leadership competencies.

Promoting Diversity

This exercise explores the contribution that education and learning experiences can make in diversity management strategy.

The Benefits of Age Diversity

All organisations have a legal as well as a moral, social and financial obligation to make the most of their employees, regardless of age.

The following diversity material is available for all on Civil Service Learning:


Becoming a dementia friendly employer

This eLearning tool explains what dementia is, what it’s like to have it and the challenges people with dementia face.

Becoming disability confident

This topic is primarily for managers and team leaders and is designed to raise awareness of disabilities in the workplace and the challenges they can pose. By becoming more aware, you’ll

be able to create, or contribute to, an inclusive work environment in which disabled colleagues can thrive.

Disability inclusive management

This topic explores what an inclusive management approach looks, sounds and feels like, as well as the behaviours which can enable or impede that approach.

Equality and diversity essentials

The Equality and diversity essentials eLearning is currently under review.

LGBT awareness

This module covers terminology and the legislation that protects the LGBT community. It includes privacy and confidentiality issues (including permission and disclosure) and how best to support LGBT colleagues.

Mental health at work

This topic is designed to improve understanding of mental health issues and the impact they can have if they remain unaddressed.

Mental health conditions and dementia

This eLearning helps in identifying people who may have a mental health condition (including dementia) and understanding what services, help and support may be available to them.

Race awareness

This eLearning increases your understanding of the issues faced by minority ethnic employees and customers.

Unconscious bias

This eLearning course covers unconscious bias and how it affects attitudes and behaviours.

As part of our on boarding curriculum our colleagues complete mandatory learning within the first four weeks of joining our organisation.

Our onboarding programme is part of the mandatory training issued to all colleagues.

For the period of 2018 – 2019, 350 colleagues were issued our onboarding curriculum and we regularly interact with our colleagues whilst they’re completing these modules to offer help, support and guidance.

The following Civil Service Learning modules are part of the onboarding curriculum:


Becoming disability confident

This topic is primarily for managers and team leaders and is designed to raise awareness of disabilities in the workplace and the challenges they can pose. By becoming more aware, you’ll be able to create, or contribute to, an inclusive work environment in which disabled colleagues can thrive.

Equality and diversity essentials

The Equality and diversity essentials eLearning is currently under review.

LGBT awareness

This module covers LGBT terminology and the legislation that protects the LGBT community. It includes privacy and confidentiality issues (including permission and disclosure) and how best to support LGBT colleagues.

Mental health at work

This topic is designed to improve understanding of mental health issues and the impact they can have if they remain unaddressed.

Unconscious bias

This eLearning course covers unconscious bias and how it affects attitudes and behaviors.

We supported colleagues who requested to take part in the following conferences and events:

  • Women in Leadership conference
  • Tackling Scotland’s Disability Employment Gap
  • Young Scotland Programme
  • Confident Communication for Women in the Workplace
  • Mental Health in the Workplace

We’re proud to have an Inclusion Network which is colleague led and self-sustaining.

Our inclusion network includes members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

We’re also proud of our record of creating reasonable adjustments for our colleagues with disabilities.

One of the most popular members of our Edinburgh based team is an assistance dog called Hillary. Hillary belongs to a colleague in our Communications and Marketing team.

We’ve worked with a long serving colleague to help her remain engaged and productive despite personal disabilities and caring responsibilities for an adult child with disabilities.

She joined our new Colleague Experience team in the People and Change function, to help us grow and embed our inclusion agenda and she is pivotal in promoting our new Carers’ Network at Registers of Scotland in partnership with the charity ‘Vocal’.

Recruitment activities

All our recruitment activity is aligned to the Civil Service recruitment principles as defined by the Civil Service Commission.

Importantly, these principles require that external selection for appointment to the Civil Service is merit based and includes, as standard, fair and open competition.

We complete an annual return on recruitment activity for the Civil Service Commissioners in which we report on our recruitment processes and the demographic analysis of successful candidates.

Our recruitment process and outcomes are also subject to external audit.

All our external and internal job applications are anonymously presented to our internal recruiters.

The names, age and gender of candidates are not available to recruiters until the day of assessment and face to face interview.

This ensures that applicants invited to interview are done so on the basis of skills, knowledge, relevant experience and potential competency.

We make adjustments to our recruitment processes for applicants with special requirements such as enlarged font or different font colours for ease of reading and interpretation.

We were re-accredited with the Disability Two Tick symbol in 2016 and we subsequently transitioned to the Disability Confident Employer accreditation when the national award changed in the same year.

To support monitoring and reporting in each recruitment campaign, data is captured on the method of advertising and selection criteria used.

Statistics are recorded during the recruitment process regarding age, disability, ethnicity and gender. This information is reviewed to consider whether there are any equality implications of the decisions taken.

We ran 23 external recruitment campaigns in 2017/18 and 19 external campaigns in 2018/19. Analysis of the recruitment statistics has not highlighted any equality issues or concerns.

Our recruitment data illustrates the following at offer stage:

Male 49% 44%
Female 51% 56%
Disability 9% 11%
Ethnic minority 4% 5%

It’s our aim to ensure that our people population reflects the population of Scotland and we’ll continue to review the Scottish Census statistics.

We acknowledge areas we could improve our reporting functionality to further extrapolate the data at each stage of the application, e.g. number of women successful at assessment centre but not at interview.

We’re working closely with our Digital team to improve this data by looking at alternative e-recruitment systems to support this.

In line with Scottish Government Youth Scotland Strategy and Young People and Training Policy, we’re continuing to review resourcing needs, and we’re currently looking to run Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programmes in 2019, with the possibility of further opportunities in 2020 in support of our demographics, which will increase diversity in our workplace.

To ensure our MA recruitment is open and reaches the widest possible audience we’ll advertise across a stream of media including s1jobs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Edinburgh Guarantee who help us get our message into local schools.

Typically, the MA applicants have limited workplace experience and we take this into consideration at the assessment stage.

For example, we recognise that they might not have had the opportunity to fully develop their competency based interview answers in a work setting and we’ll use analogous settings such as secondary school or sports groups.

We’re currently researching the use of success profiles, which consider an applicant’s strengths as a way of capturing their attributes through behaviours, strengths, ability, experience and technical elements, and we’ll pilot this as an alternative approach to MA recruitment.

We’re currently running internal opportunities through Graduate Apprenticeship Schemes within the field of Cyber Security, which supports us in providing learning and development opportunities for our colleagues by growing our own talent in areas where roles are more difficult to recruit to, whilst providing on the job learning and potential career pathways.

We only accept application forms via our online recruitment system.

This ensures that we blind sift applications and any personal data gathered, including equality and diversity information is stored securely and separately.

Where we’re made aware that it may be difficult for an applicant to apply online due to a disability, we’ll provide an alternative application method.

All recruiting managers undertake external training prior to interview by a firm of business psychologists and are required to complete Civil Service Learning modules on Unconscious Bias and Equality & Diversity.

An updated competency framework was launched in May 2018 and is aligned to the Civil Service Competency Framework and reflects the need for equality and diversity.

As previously mentioned in this report, we’re currently conducting research into success profiles as an alternative method of assessment in line with the Civil Service approach, which may have more inclusivity potential.

Workforce profile including pay

Our current workforce gender (binary male: female) profile at 1 May 2019 is - female 544/1101, male

557/1101, 49.4% and 50.6% respectively. Scotland’s general population gender profile is female 51%, males 49% *. At Registers of Scotland, there is no hourly wages gap, women earn £1 for every £1

that men earn when comparing median hourly wages.

At Registers of Scotland, women occupy 45.4% of the highest paid jobs and 48.5% of the lowest paid jobs. Our Chief Executive, Jennifer Henderson, known formally as The Keeper of the Registers, is a highly experienced senior Civil Servant who took on the role in April 2018.

Our board profile, which includes our non-executive directors, is robust in terms of gender, age and ethnicity.

Our workforce demographic age profile has broadened in the past two years with an increase in early and late career employment.

The following table details the demographic at 1 May 2019:

* Source – Mid 2017 Population Estimates Scotland NRS, last reported April 2018

Age Band N = As % of total employee population (1,101 permanent employees)
















65 +




Currently, we do not mandate that colleagues complete their ethnicity data on our self-service portal but we do gather such data through participation in our wellbeing and engagement surveys.

The following table compares what we know about the ethnicity of our workforce with the results of the 2011 Scottish census:

Ethnicity Registers of Scotland at 1 May 2019 Scotland’s 2011 Census

White Scottish and White other British



White non-British



Minority ethnic



Not declared


Not applicable

In May 2019, we’re running a workshop on applying for United Kingdom Settled Status for colleagues who are citizens of other European Countries of the current European Union and countries in the European Economic Area, representative of 11.1% of our workforce.

The intention of the workshop is to provide advice and support to our valued colleagues and to help Registers of Scotland retain our impacted colleagues in mitigation of the United Kingdom’s planned exit from the European Union.

Strategic workforce plan

In June 2019, we’ll publish our strategic workforce plan which will provide the detail of our immediate and long term resourcing objectives and approach.

We’re committed to developing our own talent and continuing to create career opportunities for our people.

In the past financial year, we’ve managed four internal talent campaigns, resulting in one hundred and eleven promotions to higher grades, 54 successful female candidates and 51 successful male candidates.

Through the activities of our strategic workforce planning group and our partnership with the Public and Civil Service Union, we ensure that our planning reflects best practice and will stand up to the scrutiny of the Fair Work Agreement.

The citizen

We’ve invested in creating a business environment which provides greater access for the citizens of Scotland.

Our offices at Meadowbank House in Edinburgh and St Vincent Plaza in Glasgow are easily accessible for people with disabilities and in 2019, we’ll introduce a new telephony system to better meet customer needs.

We make use of the latest technology and training to create ease of access to information for our colleagues and customers with hearing and sight impairments.

We’ll continue our programme of investment in the physical workplace to foster an environment which is inclusive, flexible and meets the different needs and working preferences of our people and visitors.

Our future plans

In addition to continuous improvement in all three outcomes, we’ll actively work towards a working environment where everyone has a great day at work and can be their true self, bringing the best of their talent, age, gender, ethnicity, carers’ responsibilities , sexuality and any other protected characteristics.

We’ll provide training opportunities to enable us to have an inhouse cohort of colleagues equipped to use British Sign Language (BSL).

All of our people related activities will subject to Equality Impact Assessment (EIA).

In May 2019, we’ll run a wellbeing survey to seek input as to the preferences of our colleagues in the following areas:

  • physical wellbeing
  • financial wellbeing
  • inclusion in all forms
  • emotional resilience
  • total reward including funded and self-funded benefits
  • employee representation

Our 2019-24 people strategy and specifically the refreshed wellbeing approach, will be informed by the results of the survey.

In addition to building our colleague capability and fostering the circumstances which lead to a highly- engaged workforce:

  • we’ll continue our capital investment in the workplace including work space and technology, using colleague user groups to shape the future of our workplaces in Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • in 2019, we’ll lead the way in Scotland in piloting a wellbeing hour each week at work for all of our colleagues, a joint venture with the Public and Civil Service Union
  • we’ll work towards advanced accreditation with Investors in People Scotland, to be externally awarded by 2021
  • we’ll continue to promote and expand the mainstreaming outcomes detailed in this report

Finally, and in summary, it’s our ambition is to be an employer of choice and a knowledgeable source of data and analytics to the citizens who seek our services, contributing to a fairer Scotland for all.

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