Universities and colleges in Scotland have to publish equality outcomes explaining the focus and aims of their equality work.
A key legal requirement relating to equality for universities and colleges in Scotland is the publication and delivery of equality outcomes. Equality outcomes are strategic and express results institutions will achieve to improve people’s life chances over a four year period.
Universities and colleges in Scotland published a set of equality outcomes to meet the Scottish specific duties of the Equality Act 2010 public sector equality duty in April 2013. They reported on progress in 2015 and will publish a new set of outcomes by April 2017.
Equality outcomes should be embedded within outcome agreements set with the Scottish Funding Council, where an equality outcome will support the institution to meet outcome agreement aims. Read our guidance on this here.
Setting equality outcomes
Regulation 4 of the Scottish specific duties requires your institution to set equality outcomes. It requires that equality outcomes are based on evidence and involvement of equality groups and are published.
Your institution must:
- prepare and publish a set of equality outcomes that will enable the institution to better perform the PSED by 30 April 2017 and subsequently at intervals of not more than four years
- take reasonable steps to involve people who share relevant protected characteristics, or who represent the interests of those people
- consider relevant evidence relating to people who share a relevant protected characteristic
- publish reasons if the equality outcomes do not cover every relevant protected characteristic
- review and publish a report on progress made towards achieving the set of equality outcomes by 30 April 2019 and subsequently at intervals of not more than two years
New ECU guidance
ECU has developed new guidance to assist institutions in identifying and publishing new equality outcomes. It sets out a 3 stage process for setting outcomes, involving investigating equality issues, identifying the equality outcomes and disseminating the outcomes.
It contains guidance to help you review your previous outcomes to inform the new outcomes, prioritise the most pressing equality issues for your institution, align your outcomes with institutional and sector drivers, and ensure your outcomes meet all of the specific legal requirements.
Publishing equality outcomes
The specific duties require Scottish institutions to publish their equality outcomes in a manner that is accessible to the public. All HEIs and colleges published equality outcomes on their websites in 2013, and progress reports in 2015. Most were situated on dedicated equality and diversity pages or within a broader strategy and policy page.
To demonstrate that they have met all the specific duty requirements, ECU recommends that institutions publish:
- the evidence used to set the outcomes
- the involvement undertaken during setting the outcomes
- how each outcome will help the institution meet one or more part of the PSED
- which protected characteristics each outcome covers
- how progress will be measured, eg indicators of success