Mainstreaming equality in RoS

Published: 16 May 2023
Freedom of information class: How we deliver functions and services

The Equality Act (2010) places a public sector equality duty (P.S.E.D) on public authorities, including RoS. It means that we must consider how we can:

  • remove unlawful discrimination,
  • advance equality of opportunity, and
  • foster good relations.

The Act covers nine protected characteristics that are linked to inequality:

Gender reassignment
Marriage /civil partnership
Pregnancy and maternity
Religion and Belief
Sexual  orientation

RoS is also a listed authority under The Specific Duties (Scotland) Regulations (2012) which is intended to help organisations to meet the P.S.E.D. It gives us duties relating to equality impact assessments, employee information and procurement.

Through this report, we are meeting our duty to:

  • report our progress on mainstreaming the equality duty, and
  • publish equality outcomes.

We will also refer to our pay gap reporting and our statement on equal pay. We mainstream the publication of this information in our Annual Report and Accounts.

Our approach to mainstreaming

In RoS, equity, diversity and inclusion are core to our purpose and values. We prioritise EDI for two key reasons.

It is the right thing to do and helps create the kind of fair and equal society we want to live and work in.

A workforce that reflects the society it serves, can better understand and meet its needs.

"Inclusion is an essential business concern, the greatest asset we have is our colleagues" The Keeper, Foreword of RoS EDI Strategy.

In RoS, we expect all colleagues to consider EDI as they carry out their roles. This includes supporting each other as colleagues. We mainstream EDI by assigning actions to the most relevant teams. Equality specialists, forums and networks support these teams to take action.

Leadership and governance

Strong leadership and a clear commitment to EDI from senior levels are critical to create an inclusive culture. Leadership is a key theme in our EDI Strategy.

It commits our leaders, at all levels to:

  • lead by example and show a consistent and visible commitment to EDI
  • engage with colleagues around EDI and ensure they have access to the training and support they need

The Keeper has led the way in showing a commitment to EDI and continues to make it a priority. Our Non-Executive Directors support this by contributing to our programme of communication about EDI matters.

In our consultation for this report, colleagues noted this had built momentum and helped to drive this agenda.

"We have seen real leadership in relation to EDI in RoS. Since The Keeper joined, she has made this a  priority and really set the tone for its importance across the organisation." RoS colleague.

EDI Governance Structure

Our governance structure for EDI connects groups at all levels of RoS and ensures that responsibility for EDI runs from our Leadership to our colleague-led networks.

Visual representation of EDI governance structure

Our direction and the importance of EDI in RoS is clearly outlined by our Executive Management Team (EMT), with support from our Non-Executive Directors.

The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) support our Board and the Accountable Officer to monitor how we deliver. This includes our corporate governance, risk, value for money and control systems.

Our Employee Relations Team lead on developing the policies that affect our people. This includes considering the needs of those with protected characteristics. This makes them a key group in our EDI governance structure.

Our EDI Steering Group is chaired by The Keeper. It is made up of senior managers from across RoS and representation from our Trade Union (PCS). The group directs EDI activity for us as an employer and service provider. They oversee our EDI strategy and action plan.

Our EDI Colleague Forum support the work of our Steering Group to bring the EDI Strategy to life and achieve real momentum to deliver our goals. They are also key in supporting consultation and liaison with RoS colleagues.

This is supported by our colleague-led equality networks. These networks provide peer support, advice and information. They also champion diversity and input to policies and processes to make sure they are inclusive. More information on our equality networks is described under the review of Outcome 2 from 2021-23.

Board and Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) diversity

In 2022, we asked our Board and Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) to complete equality monitoring information. We wanted to understand the representation of protected characteristics on our Board and ARC.

Our Board and ARC has variation in the representation of religion/belief, gender, marital status and sexual orientation. However, there is limited representation of disabled people and those from minoritised ethnic communities.

Our new outcomes for 2023 to 2025 will consider how we can engage the voice of lived experience across RoS. This will help us to find ways to include input from those with protected characteristics to groups that lack representation.

Setting our direction

"I think RoS is leading the way and our goals feel real and relatable, not just words on paper or a box that's been ticked."

RoS colleague,  Equality Network.

Our Corporate Plan

Our commitment to further equity, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our Corporate Plan.

Objective 4 aims to “inspire our people to adapt, grow and innovate to empower a thriving, and inclusive organisation”. As part of this we have committed to:

  • building on our culture of equity, diversity and inclusion, and
  • supporting wellbeing, engagement and increasingly flexible ways of working.

Accessibility of our data and digital services is also key within our strategic objectives. We have linked our 2023-25 outcomes to our strategic objectives. This will further mainstream EDI as we take forward our Corporate Plan.

Our EDI strategy 2020-25

The vision of this strategy is to have:

  • an inclusive working environment where everyone feels equally valued and respected, everyone can communicate effectively, and everyone can work to the best of their ability,
  • an engaged and high performing diverse workforce that reflects modern Scottish society, and
  • high quality delivery on the needs and expectations of our diverse customer base, for all.

As well as the theme of Leadership, we have a focus on legal compliance, workforce equality and diversity, colleague engagement and partnerships.

The strategy added an EDI commitment alongside each of our organisation’s values. This is key to mainstreaming equality in RoS. It sets the example that we must consider EDI in all that we do, from our purpose and values to our day to day activity.

Delivering our services

We continue to support our customers through accessible digital services. We also recognise that digital services are not the preferred option for some customers. This can be particularly true for those with protected characteristics. Our customer experience team continues to support people who would prefer to speak to someone. They are experienced in helping customers who require additional support to access and understand the information they need.

Supporting our colleagues

We continue to be committed to the engagement, performance and wellbeing of our people. Our people strategy ensures that we support and develop our colleagues. We want our colleagues to enjoy their work, experience success and feel confident in supporting our customers.

We work with our Trade Union (PCS) and external organisations to ensure that we are doing the best we can for our colleagues. This includes working towards accreditations to audit our progress and the quality of our support.

Working with our Trade Union (PCS)

Our Trade Union, PCS, fully supports equality in RoS. In particular, they support policies and procedures to make RoS an inclusive and welcoming organisation for our colleagues.

We work together to embed Fair Work in RoS, ensuring our colleagues have an effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and that they are treated with respect.

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