First Focus of Scrutiny

Focus of Scrutiny

The NACWG have concluded their First Focus of Scrutiny. Nine recommendations were scrutinised,  which all had a focus on the internal structures and processes within Scottish Government (full details below). These recommendations were selected for this first focus because of their potential to create the necessary foundations for change that will improve the lives of women and girls for generations to come.

The NACWG engaged with Scottish Government officials responsible for implementing these nine recommendations to gather evidence and information on implementation activity. An Accountability Event was then held on 11 January 2023 in which officials and Scottish Government senior leaders met to collectively discuss the progress and hear the NACWG’s feedback. You can see the meeting note from the First Focus of Scrutiny Accountability Event here.

The purpose of this accountability work is to ensure that recommendations are being implemented in a way that makes a tangible difference to the way policy and strategy is developed, so that they create better outcomes for women and girls in Scotland.

This first focus of scrutiny culminated with a debrief session with senior leaders and NACWG Co-Chairs to discuss the actions that were agreed at the Accountability Event.

A meeting was then held with the First Minister in which the NACWG shared their observations and findings from the First Focus of Scrutiny. An Interim Report was submitted to the First Minister, providing specific feedback on recommendation implementation progress.

Key points

Below are some key points which the NACWG have shared with the First Minister and are supporting progress on:

  • There is clear enthusiasm and interest from officials to embed gender equality and an intersectional analysis competently in Scottish Government policy-making. However, prioritisation of resources including staffing, time, and funding is needed to make this happen.
  • A programme needs to be developed to enable civil servants from across directorates to build knowledge and skills on gender mainstreaming and intersectional analysis.
  • Improved, accessible accountability mechanisms are needed for both internal and external scrutiny of the extent to which Scottish Government is delivering on its ambitions and commitments.
  • Whilst there are pockets of good practice on the inclusion of lived experience expertise in policy and service development, there is not a coherent approach across Scottish Government. This should be developed to ensure lived experience input is ethical, meaningful and genuinely power-redistributive.

Next steps

The Second Focus of Scrutiny will be thematic and focussed on the gendered dimensions of the cost-of-living crisis.

It is important to the NACWG that the accountability and scrutiny work is wider than Council members. Therefore, a panel of marginalised women with lived expertise of poverty and inequality will support the remainder of Phase Two and help to shape the elements that we will focus on.

Throughout Phase Two the NACWG are looking to the Circle to take inspiration from the recommendations delivered in Phase One and asking members to make change within their own organisations, communities, and networks. The Circle is made up of individuals and representatives of organisations and in Phase One this was the main channel of participation. The NACWG will periodically meet with the Circle to discuss progress.

The NACWG will formally publish a report following the second Focus of Scrutiny (expected in spring 2024).