Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Scottish Qualifications Authority signs legal agreement to improve equality practices
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has signed an agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to improve its equality practices.
The agreement commits SQA to complete outstanding Equality Impact Assessments for its current policies and practices. It has also agreed to improve its approach to carrying out assessments for any new policies it may develop.
The SQA entered into the agreement with the equality body following discussions about how it was meeting its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).
The EHRC established that SQA was not routinely assessing the impact of its policies and practices against the three needs of the PSED, which requires public authorities to give due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different groups.
This is one of nine specific duties which help public authorities in Scotland meet the general equality duty.
Lynn Welsh, Head of Legal at the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, said:
“Considering equality implications when making decisions isn’t a ‘nice to do’ for public bodies, it is a legal requirement to ensure that public institutions make better quality, robust decisions which work for everyone.
“By signing this agreement, we are pleased to see that the SQA has demonstrated its clear commitment to equality and to improving its practices. This will ensure that SQA continues to make necessary improvements in this area, reviewing all existing policies and ensuring that equality is at the heart of all of its practices.
“This agreement sends a clear message to other public bodies that considering the impact of their work on people from protected groups is critical in fulfilling their legal duties.”
Mike Baxter, Director of Finance & Corporate Services at SQA said:
“Although we have significantly tightened up on equality impact assessments in recent years, we recognise there is work to do to improve our processes and practice from years gone by. We will be taking this opportunity to work with the Commission to further embed equality into our policies and processes across SQA’s activities. Over the next two years we will be delivering our agreed action plan across a range of work streams. We are fully committed to ensuring equality and fairness are at the heart of all we do.
“We have embarked on a large-scale programme of review of our policies and practices and assessing and documenting the equalities impacts of those is a core element of this work.”
The EHRC has used its legal powers under section 23 of the Equality Act, to enter into the agreement with SQA. The agreement will be in place for two years and SQA will also implement an agreed action plan and report to the regulator on its progress.
The equality regulator will monitor the agreed actions to make sure they are completed and will carry out an evaluation at the end of the two years.
Press contact details
For more press information contact the Commission's media office on:
0161 829 8102
07767 272 818 (out of hours)
Latest News from
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Report finds evidence of inequality in treatment of ethnic minority ‘Covid heroes’ working in health and social care09/06/2022 14:25:00
Lower-paid health and social care workers, who played a pivotal front-line role during the COVID-19 pandemic, experienced bullying, racism and harassment at work according to their evidence to an inquiry conducted by Britain’s equality regulator, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
EHRC to investigate Pontins over fears of racial discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers26/05/2022 14:15:00
Britain’s equality regulator has launched a formal investigation into Pontins holiday parks due to continued concerns about discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers.
EHRC statement on ‘long Covid’, disability and the Equality Act10/05/2022 11:33:00
EHRC statement given yesterday on ‘long Covid’, disability and the Equality Act.
Action plan announced to tackle sexual harassment culture in hospitality29/04/2022 10:25:00
Hospitality bosses have agreed a strict zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment of staff in their venues with the launch of a new action plan yesterday.
Britain’s human rights record reviewed ahead of UN examination27/04/2022 13:10:00
Britain must relieve the pressures on its education, health and social care systems following the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s human rights watchdog says in a report to the UN today.
The war in Ukraine and issues for local authorities: our letters to local government27/04/2022 12:10:00
We have written to local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales about the war in Ukraine and their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty
EHRC taking action to improve the treatment of disabled benefit claimants19/04/2022 13:05:00
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is requiring the Department for Work and Pensions to improve its treatment of disabled benefit claimants. This is in response to serious concerns about failures to meet the needs of its customers with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.
Guidance published for providers of single-sex services05/04/2022 13:25:00
A practical guide to the law in relation to single-sex spaces was yesterday published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Protecting people from sex and gender reassignment discrimination05/04/2022 09:25:00
As the statutory regulator charged with upholding equality and human rights laws and standards, we protect all people in Britain against discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics. It is an important part of our role to explain how the law works in practice.