Response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the socio-economic duty.

This response was submitted to the Scottish Government as evidence for its consultation on the socio-economic duty.

The socio-economic duty asks particular public authorities to do more to tackle the inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage. In particular, the duty aims to make sure that strategic decisions about the most important issues are carefully thought through so that they are as effective as they can be in tackling socio-economic disadvantage and reducing inequalities of outcome. These strategic decisions would include, for example, an economic development strategy; or an annual budget setting out key investment choices.

From ‘About the socio-economic duty’ in the Scottish Government’s socio-economic duty consultation.

It is an individual response written by Dr Hayley Bennett in consultation, and with contributions from, colleagues in What Works Scotland, notably Dr Peter Craig, University of Glasgow and Dr James Henderson, University of Edinburgh.

In preparation for submission, the Poverty Alliance invited Dr Hayley Bennett to be a guest contributor to a round table event on 7th September 2017 at Glasgow Chambers. The event involved 20 representatives from 18 civil society organisations (including EHRC, Oxfam, SCVO, Coalition for Racial Equality, CPAG, SURF) sharing ideas and reflections on the Socio-economic Duty and consultation process. Hayley contributed to these discussions and appreciated being able to learn from the work of others around the table, which greatly improved her understanding of the socio-economic duty.

The response includes an overview welcoming the introduction of a socio-economic duty (SED) in Scotland as well as suggestions for issues for further consideration.

It contains three main arguments in response to section three of the consultation document:

  • The introduction of the duty should be accompanied by investment in knowledge sharing and information on inequality– what it is, how we know about it, how to measure it (what data), and how to address it.
  • Inequality is complex and the heavy emphasis on the SIMD is too narrow and could cause unintended consequences if used for reporting purposes.
  • A wider discussion about the causes of inequality would encourage greater consideration of the role of public agencies as employers and procurers of services; strategic decisions should therefore also include those made as part of organisational decision making

Download the consultation response

Date of response: August 2017

Related resources

  • See all our resources on poverty