Fairer Scotland Duty

The Fairer Scotland Duty came into force in Scotland in April 2018. It places a legal responsibility on particular public bodies in Scotland to consider how they can reduce inequalities when planning what they do.

The duty is the result of last year’s consultation around the ‘socio-economic duty”. In the Scottish Government’s words:

“The Fairer Scotland Duty, Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, comes into force in Scotland from April 2018. It places a legal responsibility on particular public bodies in Scotland to actively consider (‘pay due regard’ to) how they can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socioeconomic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions.”

In technical terms, the new legislation triggers the socio-economic duty which is referred to in the 2010 Equality Act, but has not been put into force until now. The new legislation only applies to Scotland. The organisations listed who have to pay regard to the duty are:

  • Scottish Ministers [see below]
  • Local Authorities
  • NHS Health Scotland
  • Integration Joint Boards
  • Regional Health Boards
  • The Scottish Police Authority
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Scottish Enterprise

“Scottish Ministers” includes the following: The Scottish Government, Accountant in Bankruptcy; Disclosure Scotland; Education Scotland; Scottish Prison Service; Scottish Public Pensions Agency; Student Awards Agency for Scotland; Transport Scotland. The new Scottish Social Security Agency, once established, will also be subject to the duty.

Bodies with reserved functions are excluded, but some additional non-Ministerial departments described as “equivalent to UK ‘Government Departments’” have been added:

  • Food Standards Scotland
  • Keeper of the Registers of Scotland
  • National Records of Scotland
  • Revenue Scotland
  • Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

Special Health Boards will also be included.

Download the guidance for the Fairer Scotland Duty on the Scottish Government’s website

Reference list: Scottish Community development center. 2018. Retrieved from http://www.scdc.org.uk/news/article/fairer-scotland-duty/

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