GEF Response to GCC Health and Social Care Partnership Equality Outcomes Consultation

Glasgow Equality Forum (GEF) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the draft Equality Outcomes. We have shared these with our members via email, inviting them to respond with their own perspectives. We have also shared the survey on our Twitter feed, which has a wider readership.

GEF is a City wide strategic policy forum which brings together representatives of voluntary sector equality networks in Glasgow to encourage better co-operation and cross-sector engagement on equality and human rights issues. Our members are:

Glasgow LGBTI Voluntary Sector Network
Glasgow Disability Alliance
Glasgow Women’s Voluntary Sector Network (co-ordinated by Wise Women)
Glasgow Voluntary Sector Race Equality Network (co-ordinated by CRER).

GEF Associate Members include:

Faith in Community Scotland
Age Scotland
WSREC
Interfaith Glasgow
Amina MWRC.

Current situation

Like many third sector organisations, GEF members are currently engaged in devising and delivering lifeline services in response to the Covid-19 crisis. As a direct result, they have not had the capacity to contribute specifically to this consultation. Furthermore, we understand that consultation activities organised with Glasgow Disability Alliance had to be cancelled, so those valuable perspectives and lived experiences cannot be shared at this time.

We are grateful to Carol Young at CRER for sharing their feedback with us and consider this feedback is equally applicable to a range of protected characteristic groups. CRER’s main points are as follows:

“Most pressingly, the equality outcomes need to be worded to describe the specific changes that the HSCP wishes to see in the lives of people with specific protected characteristics. As set out in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s guidance on equality outcomes, “By focusing on outcomes rather than objectives, this specific duty aims to bring practical improvements in the life chances of those who experience discrimination and disadvantage. So in practice, you might find it helpful to think of equality outcomes as results intended to achieve specific and identifiable improvements in people’s life chances.”(Equality and Human Rights Commission (2016), Equality Outcomes and the Public Sector Equality Duty: A guide for public authorities in Scotland)

 

In summary, CRER recommends:

 

• Further analysis of evidence to determine which specific changes in the lives of people with protected characteristics should be the focus of the HSCP’s equality outcomes, including but not limited to evidence gathered through involvement, as required by the duty.

 

• Revision of the equality outcomes in line with the results of this analysis.

 

• Inclusion of much of the currently proposed content within the HSCP’s equality mainstreaming report.

 

• Identification of robust indicators for measuring progress on the revised equality outcomes over the four-year cycle.

 

In the majority of cases, it is not clear which of the protected characteristics each outcome relates to. This creates difficulty in appropriately implementing the work needed to achieve the equality outcomes, and in measuring their progress in relation to specific protected characteristic groups. Only one of the outcomes directly state which protected characteristics they relate to (age, disability and race, in outcome two). Outcome five mentions mental health inequalities, which would be a disability equality issue, however this is part of a generic approach to the overall outcome. Gender reassignment and pregnancy and maternity are entirely absent.

 

Our extensive previous research has consistently demonstrated that where organisations adopt a blanket approach (trying to cover a broad range of equality issues for a broad or unclear range of protected characteristics groups within each of the outcomes), this leads to weak or non-compliant equality outcomes which will fail in practice. This type of outcome cannot be effectively measured over time to demonstrate change for people with protected characteristics, as required. This type of outcome also tends to be very difficult to implement, resulting in an unfocussed mix of activity being undertaken across the organisation, often with great effort but to no effect.”

We are encouraged that GCC HSCP has taken this feedback on board, and have committed to significantly redrafting the Outcomes and to share these with GEF for further dialogue and discussion.

Suggestions and priorities from protected characteristic groups

Equality Outcomes must address the following, as set out in section 149 of the Equality Act:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act;
  •  Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;
  • Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

As the draft outcomes will have to be significantly redrafted, we consider it would be unhelpful to complete the feedback form provided as it is now out of date. GEF have contributed our members’ ideas to the recent Engagement and Participation Strategy.

Consultation. In addition, at our 2019 Conference, participants set out a number of actions they would like to see community planning partners, including GCC HSCP, to address.

The following sets out work that GEF consider to be priorities for people with protected characteristic groups. We look forward to representing our members’ views further to ensure the Equality Outcomes make the biggest positive impact upon protected characteristics within s149 requirements.

1. Equality Outcomes

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
Equality Outcomes to mention specific protected characteristic groups that will benefit, that have the ability to be measured. Without this, won’t be able to track success or otherwise.

Indicator of success/ measurement:
Increase in measurable outcomes that can be clearly reported on- this is important to meet legislative requirements, and to ensure that protected characteristic groups feel listened to and included.

2. Representation

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
Disabled people represented at IJB, Strategic Commissioning Groups,capital build projects.
True representation at places where decisions are made at the earliest stage if policy development.

For every proposed service or policy change, identify the earliest possible stage people with protected characteristics can be involved.

Making commitment within Participation and Engagement Strategy to involve disabled people in decisions that affect them (for example Maximising Independence Programme).

Indicator of success/ measurement:
Disabled people report they feel more involved in health and social care decision making.

Improvement in mainstreaming reports showing how people with protected characteristics involved in decision making.

3. Employment and opportunities

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
Improved rates of employment for protected characteristic groups within HSCP, at all grades.

Ability to demonstrate workable pathways for career progression for disabled and BME workers across HSCP.

Indicator of success/ measurement:
Set targets in partnership with GEF, monitor year on year and publish. Focus on disability and BME people.

 

4. Services that better meet needs

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
Mental health services that better meet the needs and experiences of BME young people

Indicator of success/ measurement:
Evidence of projects addressing identified needs.
Increase in young BME people accessing services

 

5. Procurement and commissioning

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
Community benefit/ equalities clause in contracts, to benefit protected characteristic groups, including employment on capital projects, procured services.

Indicator of success/ measurement:
Target to increase specified benefit, like increased number of BME/ disabled people employed under procured and commissioned contracts.

 

6. Transparency/ accountability

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
All CP partners to publish what third sector orgs they fund/ commission, and specify what work is being delivered (GEF focus is equality groups, conference called for more transparency overall).

Indicator of success/ measurement:
A more joined up approach across city. Clearer picture of what equality orgs and outcomes are being funded. Increased ability to see gap in public sector funding

 

7. EQIAs

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
EQIAs drafted collaboratively with GEF members in range of policy areas identified as priority by GEF.
Review 6 monthly collaboratively

Indicator of success/ measurement:
Pilot project with agreed outputs resourced by CPP. This would feed into Performance Management Framework

 

8. Training

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
All elected members, IJB members and community reps receive training in EQIAs and human rights budgeting. This training is specifically relating to their responsibility within decision-making to scrutinise proposals to ensure they meet the law, rather than existing EQIA training that staff undertake.

Indicator of success/ measurement:
Number of people taking training increased.
Fewer number of GCC committee papers noting “no Equality Impacts”
Measurable and demonstrable increase in effective scrutiny of changes to services, policies and procedures.

 

9. Community Empowerment Act, including PB, Community Action Plan and Locality Plans.

GEF priorities and needs of pc groups:
Fund community development workers to actively engage with people from protected characteristic groups and to reduce barriers to participation. This becomes more and more important as PB is extended to more service areas.
Improve linkages with equalities expertise and delivery of Locality Plans and improve participation and involvement with protected characteristic groups.

Indicator of success/ measurement:
People in post in these jobs.
Increased applications to PB projects from equality groups.
Increase in effective monitoring and reporting of engagement and involvement of people with protected characteristics by community connectors and those delivering work in localities.