Our report summarises progress in delivering equality outcomes.
Our work supports the public sector to address inequalities including protected characteristics and socio-economic disadvantage, and to protect human rights.
Addressing inequalities and protecting human rights is a priority area in our work programme.
The Accounts Commission set out its priorities for 2021-26 which includes highlighting the contribution local government makes to lessening the impact of inequalities on different communities.
Over the last two years over 70 per cent of our performance audit and best value publications mentioned social and economic factors and protected characteristics.
Note: includes performance audit reports, briefings, web outputs and blogs
Our annual audit work found issues with some public bodies' gender pay gap reporting.
We reviewed information from 20 listed public bodies and highlighted how the public sector can improve gender pay gap reporting by:
The report focused on equalities and the personal impact of Covid-19 on students by:
This led to clear findings and recommendations about Covid-19 worsening existing inequalities among students. Younger learners and students with additional support needs or poor mental health find remote learning more challenging.
We have expanded our range of publications, including blogs and briefings, and tailored them to meet the different communication needs of our audience:
We are further embedding equalities considerations into our audit methodology and guidance to support staff to mainstream equalities considerations in their audit work.
We've been raising awareness and are considering how we integrate a human rights based approach into our internal policies and our audit approach based on the PANEL principles.
We have regular engagement with various external stakeholders to share insights and learning. And use our knowledge and insight to influence practice by responding to consultations such as The Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee’s pre-2022/23 Budget Scrutiny.
Members of our external equalities group provide expert advice and valuable feedback, helping us to focus on reducing inequalities and improving outcomes for the most vulnerable.
The audit scope took account of feedback from EHRAG, which contributed to the equalities messages in the final report. Discussions also highlighted useful data sources and points for consideration in other audit work, particularly social care and the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
We will increase the diversity of people into Audit Scotland and their progression through every level of our organisation.
Audit Scotland has a diverse workforce compared to the Scottish population in relation to gender and ethnic minority background. The number of staff who have declared a disability at Audit Scotland has increased each year. We are actively supporting our employees to declare diversity information helping us better understand the needs of our workforce.
In March 2022, our mean gender pay gap was 7.4% and our median gender pay gap was 12.5%. In 2021/22, there were 32 permanent promotions made across Audit Scotland, of which 65 per cent were women.
Recruitment and selection training for staff has a strong focus on equality and diversity. We continue to find ways of attracting further interest from a more diverse range of candidates.
In 2021 we added an additional route for those working towards an accountancy qualification. Individuals can now join Audit Scotland at Audit Officer level and complete their qualification.
Proposals to further widen access:
Note: ICAS: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
We will broaden our culture of diversity and inclusion, so all employees feel valued, engaged and contribute.
We have increased the visibility of our staff diversity network groups. These provide a supportive environment for colleagues to share personal experiences.
Carers support group
The Managing Menopause group
REACH (Race, ethnicity and cultural heritage)
To broaden knowledge of equality, diversity and inclusion we have a range of resources and support such as online learning, internal events and Healthy Working Lives activities.
Elaine Boyd OBE, Audit Director, has been named as one of Britain's most influential disabled people in 2022 and recently featured in Able magazine. Elaine has worked for Audit Scotland since 2002 and is a passionate advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion. Elaine was awarded the OBE in the 2023 New Year's Honours list.
We continued to be recognised as 'very good to work for' by Best Companies. Key factors include staff support from leadership, supporting charitable activities, recruitment practices to increase diversity and high levels of wellbeing.
We recognise we have more to do. Our focus over the next two years will include:
The Accounts Commission is committed to broadening the diversity of our members. Our approach has begun to be successful, but more is needed to ensure members of the Commission reflect Scotland’s communities and bring wider lived experience of Scotland’s public services.Dr William Moyes Chair of the Accounts Commission
In Audit Scotland we are agreed that we need to broaden the diversity of our workforce. We’ve made progress and it’s welcome that we are becoming a more diverse organisation. But we can do more.Stephen Boyle Auditor General for Scotland