Equality in policy-making
When working on policy, our officials look at the impact a policy option might have on those from protected groups, including positive opportunities for promoting greater fairness for them. They also consider if there are options for avoiding or otherwise mitigating against any negative impact on that group. Ministers are advised of the impact a decision has on protected groups, and this is taken into account when a policy decision is made.
Although the Treasury sets departmental budgets, it is up to each individual department to decide how they spend that budget. In deciding how the budget is to be spent, departments must consider the impact on protected groups. There are some policy areas, such as welfare, where the Treasury has a greater policy making responsibility.
Case study: Spending Round 2013 and Autumn Statement 2014
We considered the impact policy measures have on protected groups, throughout the policy development and decision making process, both in the Spending Round of 2013 and in the Autumn Statement of 2014. Advice to ministers on individual measures for these fiscal events included a summary of impacts, including the impact on protected groups. Equalities analysis was included in advice submitted to the Chancellor before he made final decisions.
Building on our work on equalities during Spending Review 2010, the Spending Round 2013 process also involved working with other government departments to assess the equality impacts of their work. In addition, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury hosted an external ‘equalities experts round table’ early in the Spending Round process in order to inform the government’s thinking. An Equalities Annex was published alongside the main document.
Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) were produced for tax measures announced in the Autumn Statement of 2014. TIINS provide information on the policy objective, the impact on the Exchequer, the economy and individuals, businesses and civil society organisations, as well as the impact on protected groups. All TIINs published in the autumn were personally signed off by the Financial Secretary, confirming that it was a reasonable view of the impact of the measures, given the available evidence.
In December 2014 HMRC published a document that brought together the TIINs of tax measures for which draft legislation was published.
Equality as an employer
We promote equality of opportunity in employment to ensure our workforce is representative of the community it serves and that we attract and retain talented employees. We publish regular information on the diversity of our work force.
Information on the diversity of the Treasury’s employees is also published in the Treasury’s Annual Report and Accounts.
Public sector equality duty (PSED) objectives – 2016-20
Most public sector organisations are required by the Equality Act to publish equalities objectives every four years. For the 2016-20 period, We have set seven workforce related equalities objectives and two that relate to our policy work. All nine are shown below:
Equality as an employer
Progressing talent from under-represented groups
- identify and address progression barriers for staff with disabilities and implement a talent management initiative to ensure staff with disabilities progress (by Autumn 2017)
- continue and extend the work already underway to ensure BAME staff at graduate entry level (Range D) and the feeder grades to the senior civil service (Range E and E2) are supported to progress (by Autumn 2017)
- review options and take action to improve diversity at all levels of the senior civil service (by 2020)
Building an inclusive culture
- embed the work on unconscious bias with continued mandatory training for all line managers both in the senior civil service (SCS) and below. Below the SCS reinforce unconscious bias in wider management training for all new line managers in the feeder grades to the SCS (ongoing to 2020)
- support and promote flexible working and work life balance, including pilots on innovative recruitment approaches to flexible working, reviewing findings and implementing proposals (by November 2016)
- continue to champion the work of the Treasury’s Mental Wellbeing Network – raise awareness and improve understanding around mental health, helping to remove any stigma associated with it through workshops and events (ongoing to 2020)
Improving social mobility
- in the context of graduate recruitment, collect, monitor and analyse appropriate socio-economic background data so to establish an evidence base, to develop interventions and new initiatives designed to improve access for applicants from lower socio-economic groups (ongoing to 2020)
Equality in policy work
The objectives focusing on policy assessments and advice within HMT are:
promoting awareness: continue to deliver and update the rolling programme that updates and informs Treasury officials on their responsibilities under the public sector equality duty (PSED) (ongoing to March 2020)
internal mechanisms: refresh the equalities governance, tools and guidance within Treasury to ensure that equalities continues to be properly considered in policy work and decision making (ongoing to March 2020)