Our plan for Scotland: equality and human rights for all

Nicola Sturgeon has announced the Scottish Government’s plans for the year ahead. Our new Programme for Government sets out how we will uphold the rights and values of an open, inclusive, diverse and progressive democracy.


Here’s what you need to know.


Defending and enhancing human rights


  • We will continue to oppose any attempt by the UK government to undermine the Human Rights Act or withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.


  • We will appoint an advisory group – led by the Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Professor Alan Miller – to look at how Scotland can lead by example on human, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.


  • We will pass legislation that will establish a rights based approach to social security.


  • We will explore how best to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention sets out civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child.


Delivering gender equality


  • We will take forward the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill that will make Scotland the only part of the UK with a requirement for equal representation of women on public boards.


  • We will work with colleges and universities to address gender inequality at all levels. Best practice will also be embedded to improve the participation of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths courses and training.


  • We will establish an Advisory Council on Women and Girls which will advise on the impact of government policies on women and girls, as well as identify areas where action is required.


  • We have established a working group to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace and encourage best practice


Equality for all LGBTI people


  • In the next year a consultation will begin on reforming gender recognition law, to ensure that it is in line with international best practice.


  • New legislation will be introduced to parliament to right an historic wrong by pardoning people convicted of same-sex sexual activity offences under outdated and discriminatory laws.


  • The Scottish Government will work with the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign to deal with LGBTI bullying, discrimination and prejudice in schools.


An inclusive Scotland for all disabled people


  • Delivering for disabled people through our Disability Delivery Plan – commended by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


  • We will use new powers to provide employment support to disabled people and those at risk of long-term unemployment. Fair Start Scotland – our devolved employment support scheme – will begin in April 2018 and will support at least 38,000 people.


  • A new pilot work experience scheme will be aimed at helping disabled people find permanent employment.


  • A disability internship programme will provide 120 opportunities in the third sector, public sector and in politics between 2017 and 2012. A two year NHS internship programme will support disabled graduates too.


  • We will publish Scotland’s first National Action Plan on British Sign Language this October to improve access to information and services for BSL users.


  • To tackle the additional barriers faced by disabled people seeking election, we will continue the Access to Elected Office Fund for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections.


Tackling discrimination based on race and religion


  • We will implement a new Race Equality Action Plan, setting out the steps we will take to deliver our Race Equality Framework.


  • We will work to strengthen inter-faith relations and dialogue, as well as delivering on the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion.