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Advancing equality and diversity in universities and colleges

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Embedding equality in outcome agreements

Developing outcome agreements that help meet the mainstreaming equality duty in Scotland

All colleges, higher education institutions (HEIs) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) have a legal duty to mainstream equality across their work under the Equality Act 2010 public sector equality duty (PSED) Scottish duties. Outcome agreements are a key vehicle through which mainstreaming can be achieved.

The SFC also makes mainstreaming equality a requirement for outcome agreements in its guidance for 2015–16:

‘Equality and diversity should be embedded throughout an outcome agreement and considered in relation to all of SFC’s priorities’.

2015/16 Toolkits

ECU published helpful toolkits on embedding equality in outcome agreements for colleges and higher education institutions for 2015/16. These aimed to support institutions to review how equality featured across their previous outcome agreements and refresh or amend to meet SFC’s new equality priorities and enhance mainstreaming. They included guidance on the following.


  • using equality impact assessment to embed equality
  • including public sector equality duty (PSED) equality outcomes
  • equality commitments beyond PSED outcomes
  • addressing SFC’s new equality priorities
  • using equality data and benchmarking

New toolkits for 2017 – 20

To support institutions as they continue to embed equality, we have updated our 2015/16 toolkits. Our new toolkits are applicable for 2017 – 20 and include examples drawn from colleges’ and HEIs’ 2015/16 agreements and resources, in addition to tools and reflective questions to support embedding.