Response 345288361

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Jackie McKelvie - inputting responses on behalf of Judith Mackinnon - Head of HR Governance

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Scottish Police Authority

Questions

1. What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 1 [Gender representation objective] of the draft Bill?

What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 1 [Gender representation objective] of the draft Bill?
Will the use of a target approach to representation mean there will be an indirect result of more focus on achieving the target rather than the evidential benefits of having a gender-balanced board?

2. What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 2 [Key definitions] of the draft Bill?

What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 2 [Key definitions] of the draft Bill?
Should co-opted members be included? If they are a commonly used supplement of skills and experience to ministerial appointments, and also potential succession replacements, shouldn't they be included?

3. What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 3 [Duty when appointing non-executive members] of the draft Bill?

What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 3 [Duty when appointing non-executive members] of the draft Bill?
Nos. 2 & 3b - SPA's interpretation of these paragraphs is that before decisions are made, the post-appointment impact on the gender balance of the board should be considered - is this correct? If yes, this needs to be articulated more clearly - if no, ditto.

4. What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 4 [Consideration of candidates] of the draft Bill?

What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 4 [Consideration of candidates] of the draft Bill?
There is potential for positive discrimination here rather than positive action. This could be avoided with the use of different language - e.g. "may" rather than " must" in relation to giving preference to some candidate.

5. What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 5 [Encouragement of applications] of the draft Bill?

What, if any, comments would you make in relation to section 5 [Encouragement of applications] of the draft Bill?
The balance between positive discrimination and positive action is a fine one. What is the legal view that Scottish Government has taken into account in relation to this? The recruitment process should be transparent to avoid claims or perceptions of positive discrimination.

6. What if any, comments would you make in relation to Schedule 2 (introduced by section 7) [Application of Act to Certain Listed Authorities] of the draft Bill?

What if any, comments would you make in relation to Schedule 2 (introduced by section 7) [Application of Act to Certain Listed Authorities] of the draft Bill?
None

7. What, if any, comments would you make in relation to Schedule 1 (introduced by section 2) [Listed Authorities] of the draft Bill?

What, if any, comments would you make in relation to Schedule 1 (introduced by section 2) [Listed Authorities] of the draft Bill?
None

8. The draft Bill does not specify any requirement for reporting. Do you have any comments on reporting arrangements under the legislation, including timescales, location and content of reports?

The draft Bill does not specify any requirement for reporting. Do you have any comments on reporting arrangements under the legislation, including timescales, location and content of reports?
The Equalities Mainstreaming report, which is published every 2 years should contain reporting on this issue - both statistics and qualitative actions.

9. Do you have any comments on the draft Bill, not already expressed in response to previous questions, including on how the Bill could be strengthened to deliver Minister’s stated objective of gender balanced public boards?

Do you have any comments on the draft Bill, not already expressed in response to previous questions, including on how the Bill could be strengthened to deliver Minister’s stated objective of gender balanced public boards?
We have concern about the exclusion of the other protected characteristics, by focusing entirely on gender. What does "equally qualified candidates " mean - how is "equally" measured? If it is meant in a recruitment sense, this may mean particular strengths or skills are lost.

10. To help with the development our Equality Impact Assessment, please provide any comments on the impact of the draft Bill on people who share certain ‘protected characteristics’: age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race and religion or belief, or any further information you think is relevant.

To help with the development our Equality Impact Assessment, please provide any comments on the impact of the draft Bill on people who share certain ‘protected characteristics’: age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race and religion or belief, or any further information you think is relevant.
How can you ensure that by focusing solely on gender, the Bill doesn't impact on the other protected characteristics? What is the reason that gender balance is a priority over all other protected characteristics?

11. To help with the development our Business Regulatory Impact Assessment, please provide any comments on the costs and benefits of the draft Bill, or any further information you think is relevant.

To help with the development our Business Regulatory Impact Assessment, please provide any comments on the costs and benefits of the draft Bill, or any further information you think is relevant.
Potential costs associated with proactively encouraging applicants (Section 4). Potential costs associated with legal claims of positive discrimination if process is not actually perceived as transparent.