Diversity, equality and inclusion

Embedding equality in how we carry out our work and across our business

Our equalities outcomes have built on those which were first published in 2017 and added to in 2019.

Our aims have developed, with a determination to make them more ambitious, our resolve being made more urgent by the disproportionate impact of Covid-19.

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Our Strategy

The impact of Covid-19 on people living in Scotland hasn’t been equal. Health, social and economic inequalities have always existed in Scotland. The pandemic has amplified and increased those inequalities and has resulted in greater disparity across our society. The depth and breadth of these impacts will be a key focus of our audit work in the years ahead, at both national and local levels. The equalities outcomes set out in this report will frame this work.

Our audits will focus on the health, social and economic issues impacting the day-to-day lives of communities and individuals, and will place an increasing emphasis on capturing the perspectives of those most directly affected.

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Our recent audit on the NHS in Scotland highlighted the ways in which some people have been more adversely affected by Covid-19 than others. And our audits of performance at local government level provide further examples of the inequalities experienced by people living in different communities across Scotland.

We are committed to ensuring that the experience of service users is reflected in our audit and reporting. This will help us to shine a light on the most important issues, supporting public bodies in Scotland to focus their efforts on the areas that will make the most difference to our lives.

Human rights and equalities considerations must be central to how we assess the delivery of public services. We can and will do more to integrate these into our thinking from the outset. Strong links with stakeholders, including members of our external Equalities and Human Rights Advisory Group (EHRAG), will be invaluable, helping to inform and challenge our approach.

The three equalities outcomes have built on those which were first published in 2017 and added to in 2019. Our aims have developed, with a determination to make them more ambitious, our resolve being made more urgent by the disproportionate impact of Covid-19.

Feedback from colleagues, including those on our internal Equalities and Human Rights Steering Group, alongside input from our EHRAG has shaped development of the outcomes.

The reports we produce will continue to consider how Scotland’s public bodies address human rights and inequalities within their own organisations and where gaps exist. Audit Scotland, therefore, must also be ambitious in its focus on diversity and equality of opportunity, in the principles and practices that underpin the organisation.

Our colleagues are key to the delivery of world-class public audit, audit that continues to evolve and better reflect the needs of Scotland’s communities. It follows that we must provide an inclusive and supportive environment in which all colleagues can thrive, develop their careers and progress. Strengthening equality, diversity and inclusion remain central to our business strategy – from broadening recruitment, including plans to extend our modern apprentice scheme, through to greater representation of colleagues from minority backgrounds across all levels in Audit Scotland.

We will continue to review our progress, revisiting these outcomes, ensuring we are responsive to what we learn alongside the uncertain and changing context across all Scotland’s public services. To deliver public audit that matters we must continue to focus and refocus our audit work on the issues impacting our society, economy and public services. Our outcomes will help us to maintain this emphasis.

Our equality outcomes

Outcome 1

Our work supports the public sector to address inequalities including protected characteristics and socio-economic disadvantage, and to protect human rights

What will this look like?

  • Our public reporting on inequalities and human rights issues supports effective strategic decision-making by public bodies to help ensure they address inequalities and protect human rights.
  • We engage with our employees, external organisations and the public to better understand the inequalities and human rights context. This helps inform and develop the focus of our work.
  • We develop and maintain an internal action plan which is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) to support delivery of our outcome and help monitor progress.

Outcome 2

We will increase the diversity of people into Audit Scotland and their progression through every level of our organisation.

What will this look like?

  • Our greater understanding of the challenges, opportunities and needs of people from different groups, specific inequalities faced and contrasting outcomes, will drive our recruitment strategy and support the development of our people.
  • The diversity across our workforce, at all levels, will change to better mirror the diversity of communities across Scotland.

Outcome 3

We will broaden our culture of diversity and inclusion, so all employees feel valued, engaged and contribute

What will this look like?

  • A more inclusive workplace culture which better reflects the needs of people from different groups to deliver an experience that increases wellbeing, a sense of belonging and which enables all colleagues to be themselves at work.