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Equalities and human rights

SEPA's statutory purpose is to protect and improve the environment in ways that create economic and social success. Our Equality and human rights approach helps us think about the different needs that people have and the best way to meet their needs. It encourages us to provide our services in ways that meet our customers' needs. It makes it easier for people to work with us to find innovative ways for Scotland to achieve the goals of our regulatory strategy.

We have set out our equal pay statement (including occupational segregation) and our Equality mainstreaming and outcomes progress report 2023, which shows the high value we place on diversity in our workforce and our equality outcomes setting out what we want to achieve for our people and our services.

This work is supported by equality impact assessments on all our relevant policies and projects, these assessments are available on this website.

Help and assistance

If you have any questions about equality in SEPA or require any of these publications in an alternative format, please contact us.

Equality Impact Assessments (EQIA)

What is an EQIA?

An EQIA is a process of simply asking the question if any part of your proposed policy, project or service could be disadvantaging any part of our organisation or those who we work with. The outcome of the EQIA is to make sure that we prevent or limit, as far as possible, any negative effects or barriers that our work may have, even if these are unintentional. We also use the EQIA to identify potential positive impacts of our work and take full advantage of any opportunities for promoting the business benefits of being an inclusive organisation. There are 4 questions on the EQIA Sheet, you may only need to answer the first one, but if you do identify any negative impacts, consult those who are impacted, and outline actions to mitigate if possible.

Why do we need to do one?

The Equality Act (2010) puts a general legal duty on all public bodies like SEPA, it says we must "have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality and foster good relations."

What does that mean in reality, it is simply a way of improving our policy development, service delivery and decision making to ensure we consider the needs of our staff, partners and the local communities we serve, to identify potential steps to prevent any discrimination, to advance equality and foster good relations.

It will allow us to make better decisions as our work will be as useful as possible to as many people as possible.

You need to reflect on how people - and different groups of people and/or communities - might be affected by your policy, project or event, directly or indirectly.

This is a straightforward process, but a vital one that will help us to reach that goal of being a world class organisation.

What are the Protected Characteristics?

The Protected Characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 include:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Religion/ belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Pregnancy/ maternity
  • Marriage/ civil partnership

You can find out more about the protected characteristics on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Website.

You can find evidence relating to the protected characteristics in Scotland on the Scottish Government's Equality Evidence Finder.