Equalities mainstreaming report 2019-21

Published: 29 April 2021
Freedom of information class: About Registers of Scotland

Equalities mainstreaming report 2019-2021.


Equalities mainstreaming report 2019-21 (pdf, 375.2 KB)


Registers of Scotland (RoS) is responsible for compiling and maintaining 20 public registers in Scotland. These registers relate to land, property, and other legal documents.

Our main registers are:

  • Land Register of Scotland
  • General Register of Sasines

We are formally funded by the Scottish Government from the consolidated budget, although we raise fees to cover of the majority of the costs of delivering our work.

Our Chief Executive and Keeper of the Registers of Scotland is directly accountable to the Scottish Parliament.

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 RoS exists, and are designed with equality, diversity and inclusion built in. These objectives enable us to 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 and provide transparent, accurate and impartial information for all
  • lead on the innovative provision of land and property data so that it is accessible and used to create value for Scotland’s people and economy
  • develop and deliver digital improvements that support a sustainable business where the needs of our customers are exceeded
  • invest in our people so they can support a professional, flexible business that works at pace to deliver value and fulfils our Statutory Duty

You can read our full corporate plan 2021-2026.

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 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.

The purpose of the People Strategy is to support our vision and purpose, articulated in our three people outcomes.

It directly aligns with the Corporate Plan and focuses on providing our talented people with the support, development and working environment that most effectively enables delivery of our strategic objectives and priorities.

Our People Strategy includes and outline of our values and the behaviours that actively promote a culture of empowerment, engagement and delivery. We aim to cultivate an inspiring leadership and management approach that focuses on providing clarity of priority and purpose, fostering an inclusive environment where all colleagues are valued and can thrive.

Mainstreaming equality outcomes

In our previous mainstreaming report, we 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 are also committed to the principles enshrined in the Scottish Ministers’ Fair Work Agreement published in 2018.

The three outcomes from the 2017-19 mainstreaming report:

  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 based on 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:

1. Manager and colleague increased understanding and eliminating discrimination

We measure our colleagues’ employment experience in several ways, including participation in the annual Civil Service People Survey (CSPS). We are pleased to report that our colleagues continue to report through CSPS a very low, and declining level, of discrimination, victimisation or harassment.

For example, in 2020, 4% of RoS colleagues reported witnessing or experiencing discrimination (Civil Service score in 2020 was 10%), compared to 8% the previous year.

The figures witnessing or experiencing bullying and harassment during 2020 were very similar.

We’ve introduced online education on the topic of diversity and inclusion for all our colleagues and this is mandatory on joining. Additionally, the organisation, has created and purchased learning material related to dignity at work.

We’ve developed Management Essentials and Management Induction programmes for our people managers, which includes modules on equality and diversity and fair treatment of colleagues.

We have engaged external experts to deliver workshops on Mental Health Awareness for Colleagues and Mental Health Awareness for Managers.

These workshops have been further supported by training sessions and new materials on Wellness Action Plans and how to support and implement reasonable adjustments.

Additionally, our Employee Relations team attended external training with employment law experts to further add to their knowledge to supporting colleagues with disabilities.

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. We endeavour to arrange training on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to support colleagues with a range of working patterns.

In our Performance and Learning portal there is a rich variety of learning material available to all colleagues. The materials relevant to developing understanding of Equality, Diversity and Fair Work are outlined at Appendix 1.

As part of our onboarding 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 2019 – 2020, 113 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:

Diversity and Inclusion

*mentioned above

This learning encompasses 8 modules:

  • Equality and diversity in the Civil Service
  • Introducing unconscious bias
  • Unconscious bias in the workplace
  • Unconscious bias in recruitment decisions
  • Tackling our unconscious bias
  • Our inclusive workplace
  • Our customers
  • The legal framework

Becoming disability confident

*mentioned above

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.

Mental health at work

*mentioned above

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

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

  • Women in Leadership conference
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace Conference
  • Future of Mental Health Services Conference
  • Employment Law for HR
  • 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 LGBT+ and Carers Colleague Inclusion Networks which are colleague led and self-sustaining.

Recently steps are being taken to establish a new network to support Neurodiverse colleagues and colleagues have been supported in linking into the Scottish Government’s European Nationals Network.

We also continue to be proud of our support to colleagues in providing a wide range of reasonable adjustments for our colleagues with a range of disabilities.

2.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 are audited annually and complete quarterly returns on recruitment activity for the Civil Service Commissioners in which we report on our recruitment processes and the demographic analysis of candidates.

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 at the application stages and only names are provided to interviewers in relation to those who are selected for assessment and face to face interview.

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

Our application system allows candidates to tell us if they require any adjustments to our recruitment processes and we work with them to make any reasonable adjustments, for example providing interview questions in text format for neuro diverse candidates or providing additional time to complete assessments.

We continue to participate in the Disability Confident scheme.

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 46 external recruitment campaigns in 2019/20 and 25 external campaigns in 2020/21.

Our recruitment data illustrates the following at application stage.

We have been pleased to see an increase in our Ethnic Minority applicants and will be actively working as part of our equality, diverstity and inclusion (EDI) strategy to attract and support candidates with a disability to apply for roles in RoS:

Graph showing gender, minorities and disability percentages at RoS

In line with Scottish Government Youth Scotland Strategy and Young People and Training Policy, we ran an age restricted Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme in 2019.

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

For example, we recognise that they might not have had the opportunity to fully develop their competency-based application/interview questions in a work setting so we piloted a new Civil Service Framework called ‘Success Profiles’ which looks at an applicant’s strengths as a way of capturing their attributes, as an alternative approach to MA recruitment in 2019.

The combination of behaviour and strength-based interviewing worked well and enabled us to gain insight into using strength-based questions for use in future campaigns.

We currently have a resourcing review in progress which aims to improve our approach to attraction and selection, including how we will attract and support diverse candidates.

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

To support this aim, we are part of a Scottish Government equality, diversity and inclusion working group and have recently finalised an EDI strategy with input from colleagues across the organisation.

The delivery of the action plan that underpins this strategy is being overseen by an EDI steering group which is chaired by our Chief Executive. We are also beginning to use the SG toolkit to further embed our commitment to EDI.

Workforce profile, including pay

Our current workforce gender (binary male: female) profile as of 31 March 2020 - female 582/1174, male 592/1174, 49.6% and 50.4% respectively.

At Registers of Scotland, there has been no hourly wages gap for three years now i.e. women earn £1 for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly wages.

The mean gender pay gap has reduced further this year to 1.67% (2.17% in 2019-20).

At Registers of Scotland, women occupy 46.8% of the highest paid jobs and 47.3% of the lowest paid jobs.

Our Chief Executive, Jennifer Henderson, known formally as The Keeper of the Registers, is a highly experienced female senior Civil Servant who took on the role in April 2018.

Our Executive Management Team has five members, two of which are female. Our Board profile, which includes our Non-Executive Directors, is robust in terms of gender and ethnicity.

The following table details the age demographic of RoS colleagues at the latter end of 2020:


number at RoS % of employee count

Less than age 20


















Age 70 and older



Early career talent is 17.8% of our employee population.


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 May 2019 Scotland’s 2011 Census

White Scottish and White other British



White non-British



Minority ethnic



Not declared


Not applicable

In order to improve the monitoring of our workforce, we have embarked twice over 2020 on a communications exercise with colleagues to encourage and support them to self-declare their diversity information via our online HR portal.

The response has been measured, with approximately 50% of colleagues choosing to do so.

One of the aims of our EDI communications plan going forward is to increase colleague confidence and participation in these exercises.

The response to date, including People Survey results, does provisionally indicate that religious diversity in RoS is low, with most colleagues who have responded to these questions reporting no religion and Christian faith.

Sexual orientation diversity is also indicated as relatively low, with 3-4% of colleagues advising that they are LGBT+.

Strategic workforce planning

RoS has a strategic workforce planning group to provide control and governance over headcount in line with the corporate plan and strategic workforce plan.

We’re committed to developing our own talent and continuing to create career opportunities for our people. Currently underway is the beginning of our ‘Grow Our Own’ initiative with the development of a pilot project to recruit, train and develop interested colleagues into our internal Digital team.

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.


As for many organisations, the pandemic necessitated significant changes to our business approach. We had to rapidly upscale our digital submission capability.

There changes were universally welcomed by customers and a recent consultation exercise to permanently implement these, and further, accessible digital improvements, has been widely supported.

Recent equality impact assessments to assess the impact of our proposed changes to our fees structure and digital submissions process, has given us valuable feedback form our diverse customers to ensure our services remain accessible to all the communities we serve in Scotland.

Examples of utilising the EqIA feedback include a staggered fee structure and wider services available to be accessed digitally but retaining paper-based routes into our services where appropriate.

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.

We have introduced 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, sight and neurological impairments.

During 2020, our Customer Services team received further training on BSL to better support customers with hearing disabilities.

Refreshed approach to EDI - our future plans

Driven by our Chief Executive, with strong support from our wider Executive Team and Board members, we have begun a refreshed approach to EDI within RoS.

Despite the pandemic and the fundamental programmes of change within the organisation, the following EDI actions have been completed or are currently underway during 2020 and into 2021:

  • an equality, diversity and inclusion steering group was formed to direct the activities/ led by our chief executive and made up of SMEs in EDI issues
  • a new EDI Strategy has been agreed and will be published both internally and externally by the Summer (an associated action plan will be developed in due course)
  • training and support to ensure completion of equality impact assessments for new developments both internal and external e.g., squads restructure, ‘Grow Our Own’ initiative, customer fees increase and Digital Submissions
  • development of a new EDI KPI
  • EDI analysis of the annual People Survey results to determine issues for priority action and to identify problems
  • although discrimination, bullying and harassment is low and improving, this analysis has led to a renewed focus on zero tolerance through comms messages and management training
  • MI analysis of sickness stats leading to mental health awareness training for managers and colleagues, plus refresher training and new support materials for Mental Health First Aiders
  • continuation of the well-being hour pilot exercise to support colleague well-being
  • during the pandemic, enormous effort was utilised to provide colleagues with support materials, training, webinars, etc to support their physical, emotional and mental health. This was the ‘Working Well Remotely’ programme, well-received by colleagues across the organisation
  • a series of 1-2-1 interviews were held with colleagues representing all the protected characteristics to explore their lived experience of working at RoS, and their ideas for actions and priority support to improve the working lives of diverse colleagues
  • regular engagement with, and development of support materials for, colleague networks such as LGBT+ and Carers
  • development of a new recruitment strategy which when finalised and published will actively address how to attract and a diverse group of applicants
  • new draft guidance on supporting trans colleagues, which is being audited by Scottish Trans Alliance, who will also provide training for teams with trans colleagues
  • a new Colleague Inclusion Forum will be formed, made up of diverse colleagues, and those from PCS union representatives and HR to review all RoS policies and procedures, including HR policies
  • an EDI focussed communication plans which includes building EDI messages into colleague webinars, management sessions, employee voice sessions, etc; EDI pages on our Intranet with useful resources and links; awareness days; top tips to promote inclusiveness at work; messages linked to external events e.g. International Women's Day, Pride Week, Black History Month

This programme of work is designed to encourage discussion and debate, facilitate learning and raise awareness of EDI.

New outcomes

The three outcomes outlined previously remain extant. Additionally, we will look to:

  • publish a finalised diversity strategy and develop an action plan, based on colleague feedback. The aim will be to further improve and support the employment experience of colleagues across all the protected characteristics. The impact of this will be measured via our annual People Survey results
  • develop methods and targets to measure progress, including a new EDI dashboard for discussion with the Board and Executive Management Team
  • support colleagues to establish a comprehensive set of colleague networks, including an Inclusion Forum and support the EqIA of internal policies and procedures
  • raise awareness of EDI issues through development of a comprehensive communications programme


It remains our ambition 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.


Learning materials available to all colleagues relevant to developing understanding of Equality, Diversity and Fair Work available via our Performance and Learning portal:

Cause of Concern: A Diversity case study

This case study is designed to give participants practical experience of dealing with the ‘grey areas’ that can arise around diversity.

It looks at team members who are dealing with change and encountering diverse cultures and experiences for the first time. It will help the group to reflect on their own values and assumptions.

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.

Becoming Disability confident

Becoming ‘disability confident’ means seeing past the misconceptions that can exist around disabilities and being able to have open, honest and well-informed conversations with disabled colleagues.

By becoming more aware, you’ll be able to create, or contribute to, an inclusive work environment in which disabled colleagues can thrive.

Among the issues covered are visible and non-visible disabilities, the Equality Act, and how to manage an inclusive team. After completing this topic, you’ll:

  • be aware of the specific needs of disabled colleagues and know how to access workplace support for them
  • understand how to check your unconscious bias or behaviours which may otherwise negatively affect how you engage with these colleagues
  • help to reduce the instances of bullying, harassment and other undesirable situations experienced by colleagues with a disability
EQA – Conversation checklist for managers

This Conversation Checklist for managers accompanies the Equality Act 2010 learning.

Equality Act 2010 – factsheet

This factsheet accompanies the Equality Act 2010 Presentation.

Equality Act 2010 Presentation

A recorded 30-minute overview of the Equality Act 2010 and how to use it when supporting your team members to look after their mental health.

This session is supported by the post-workout materials from the Mental Health Awareness training course and follow up factsheets with additional information.

Gender reassignment Legislation

Since 1999 it has been unlawful for employers to discriminate against any employee who intends to undergo, is currently undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment. Here we give a brief overview of the relevant legislation, and the areas of employment that this legislation affects.

Age Discrimination and how to prevent it

According to Age Concern, age discrimination ‘occurs when someone makes or sees a distinction because of another person’s age and uses this as a basis for prejudice against, and unfair treatment of, that person’. Here we take a closer look at what constitutes age discrimination, and how organisations can prevent it occurring.

Communicating Clearly to Blind and Partially Sighted People

Providing information in a format suitable for blind and partially sighted people is now a legal requirement for all organisations under the Disability Discrimination Act (1995). There are over one million blind and partially sighted people in the UK and a further

700,000 who have sight problems that impair their reading ability. Producing information in alternative formats will therefore help you to communicate your message to as wide an audience as possible. These tips will help you to adopt best practice and comply with the law.

Effective Intercultural Communication

When interacting with other people, we bring with us an array of assumptions, values and beliefs. As communities and the workforce become increasingly diverse, it is more important than ever to learn how to interact with a range of people, different from us in many ways. The benefits of communicating with a varied range of cultures are immense, as we can learn much from others. This article explains more about human behaviour and provides some tips for communicating effectively with people from other cultures.

How B&Q Got Older and Wiser

The Government introduced legislation outlawing ageism in the workplace in October 2006. Whilst many organisations had to rapidly re-assess their recruitment policies, B&Q had little to fear: their oldest employee was 90 years old.

Recruiting and Selecting Diverse Talent

This model will help you to plan and implement recruitment and selection policies that maximise the talent available to your organisation. It will also help you to offer candidates from minority groups the same opportunities as all other potential employees, as well as to hire them according to the same strict requirements. In this way the organisation can remain legally compliant, ethically sensitive and, most importantly, talent rich.

Multicultural Meanings

This exercise is designed to help a culturally diverse team begin to understand each other’s values. It will take around one hour to complete.

Barriers to a Diverse Workforce

This article looks at the various barriers that may exist in your organisation, many of which can be invisible to the casual observer. By thinking about the ways in which the culture of your organisation operates, you can identify barriers that may, consciously or unconsciously, be holding back the potential of the workforce. Be on your guard for these types of discriminatory practices: it’s not as simple as prejudice and isolation.

Pearn Kandola’s Mosaic Model

This model has been developed by the Pearn Kandola occupational psychology consultancy and summarises the key endeavours that must be undertaken by a diversity-orientated organisation. The Mosaic Model offers an excellent opportunity to audit the culture and processes at work in your organisation, and to create purposeful plans for action.

Rajvinder Kandola: Diversity in organisations

A founding partner of the occupational psychology consultancy Pearn Kandola, Rajvinder Kandola has published several important texts on the management of diversity and has worked with a huge variety of organisations around the world. His most popular texts include Diversity in Action: Managing the Mosaic and Managing Diversity in Ireland. Kandola has led thinking on the issues of diversity and equality to a new level that views organisational culture as the key factor in positive change.

The Zone of Impact

This model looks at the impact that effective diversity education should be having in your organisation. It can be easy to think that the main task of diversity education is the learning of policy-based diversity knowledge. Instead, as this model demonstrates, such education should challenge all participants at a deeper level, asking them to think about their behaviours not just in terms of the organisation’s, and the law’s, expectations of them, but in terms of their own firmly held values and beliefs.

The following additional learning materials are available to all colleagues via Civil Service Learning:

Diversity and inclusion

This learning encompasses 8 modules:

  • Equality and diversity in the Civil Service
  • Introducing unconscious bias
  • Unconscious bias in the workplace
  • Unconscious bias in recruitment decisions
  • Tackling our unconscious bias
  • Our inclusive workplace
  • Our customers
  • The legal framework
Inclusion in the Civil Service

Explains the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in the Civil Service.

CSLA: Inclusive Leadership

This learning equips you to recognise and confront bias and create an inclusive work environment, where you can get the best out of your team.

Menopause awareness

This learning has been developed to increase staff and manager’s understanding of the menopause and ways to support staff going through the menopause

Workplace adjustment resources

Workplace adjustments support people experiencing barriers in work. Here you can learn about reasons why people might need WAs.

Mental health conditions and dementia

Help you to better recognise when additional assistance and support are required, and what form that might take.

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.

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.

Race awareness

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

Leading inclusive teams

Find out how you can create a safe environment where team diversity becomes a performance advantage.

Leading Diverse teams

Leading Diverse Teams is an accelerated development programme designed to help senior leaders and managers identify, develop and promote female talent.

Creating inclusive virtual teams

Part of a series featuring a virtual workshop on the barriers to inclusion that virtual working can create and how to overcome them.

Disability inclusive management

You explore what an inclusive management approach looks, sounds and feels like, as well as the behaviours that can enable or impede that approach.

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