One of the four key principles adopted by the
Consultative Steering Group for the Scottish Parliament
was for the Parliament to promote equal opportunities
for all. This is a principle that UNISON has been
campaigning for all its life.
UNISON's Serving Scotland campaign has adopted
three key principles;
- Giving people a say in their services
- Choosing quality services
- Choosing teamwork
All those principles depend on the equal treatment
of everyone, both in terms of the delivery of
public services, and in terms of the treatment
of those who form the public service team.
UNISON fully supports the Parliamentary decision
to set up an Equal Opportunities Committee backed
up by an Equality Unit.
Whilst it is clear that authorities and employers
tend to deal with equal opportunities in the three
areas where discrimination is legally proscribed
- race, gender and disability - the Scotland Act
covers a much wider area. Our Scottish Parliament,
therefore, must deal with all areas of discrimination.
And in its own work it must be scrupulous about
the equality of access that was promised in the
run up to its establishment.
It should also create links between equalities
work and that on social inclusion, as these are
often linked in real life.
Giving people a say in
High priority for a Scottish Parliament should
be repeal of Clause 28 of the Local Government
Act and equalisation of the Age of Consent.
Scots with a disability have a right to access
integrated employment and Parliament should work
towards ensuring that this right is enforced.
The Scottish Parliament should use its direct
control over many of Scotland's institutions to
maximise the challenge to racism.
Pressure should be put on to get the Disability
Discrimination Act (1995) replaced by legislation
that has been discussed and agreed with disabled
Outdated legislation on such matters as equal
access to public services, and criminalisation
of sexual activity should be revised in line with
the principles of equality. This should apply
to all legislation.
Legislation effectively debarring same-sex and
unmarried couples adopting or fostering children
should be reviewed as soon as possible with a
view to including all Scotland's citizens.
Increased resources need to be devoted to Care
in the Community, to ensure the proper level of
care is available. Integrated services are important,
and should be made available via democratically
accountable service providers. eg local authorities
We welcome the idea of a Youth Parliament, but
it must have real influence on Parliamentary work.
We would like a minister for Young People.
The voting age for all elections should be reduced
Choosing quality services
Equal opportunities, including sexuality and
related issues, should form part of the educational
Initiatives on drug abuse too, should have a
clear educational direction, not a purely negative
Health information and professional staff back-up
should be available, and information made available
on how to access services for people with particular
Best practice and contract compliance on equal
opportunities should be implemented in Parliament's
own functioning and the areas for which it has
responsibility. It should publish reports on bodies
who fail to implement best practice. For example,
it will be in an excellent position to encourage
professional bodies to adopt equal opportunities
statements, including sexual orientation.
Both the policies of, and the services provided
by, the Parliament and those employers for which
it has overall responsibility, should be based
on the Social Model of Disability where they relate
to disabled people.
Parliament should insist that public institutions
- especially the criminal justice and education
systems - are fully aware of institutional racism
and address the issue in their work.
The rights and needs of all citizens who require
residential care or other social work services,
whatever their gender, race, religious beliefs,
age, disability or sexual orientation, should
be promoted within local authorities and to other
owners and deliverers of care.
Support should be available from local authorities
to ensure these services are of the highest standard.
Health Care should be available equally. Services
such as Breast Cancer Screening, Coronary Rehabilitation
etc should not be removed from older people. Residential
care should not involve the current swingeing
demands on old people's savings.
Same sex partners must have the same rights as
other tenants in local authority, housing association
or private housing.
We want our Parliament to address the causes
of young people on the streets at night. This
would be more effective than the imposition of
'curfews' and other criminalisation tactics which
only serve to exclude young people from society.
Proper resources should be provided for facilities
such as sport and the arts to assist young and
other groups to actively participate in society.
Public transport should be a properly integrated
system. Regulation should be used to ensure affordable
transport especially for older and disabled people,
and in rural areas.
Equal opportunity training for Parliament, its
staff, and employees of bodies for which it has
legislative control, should be a priority. Those
who deliver services should be fully appraised
of equal opportunities policies and trained to
deal sensitively with all Scotland's citizens.
Services for people with specific needs cross
the traditional boundaries of public services,
and require more integration and joint working,
not further fragmentation.
The difficulty in delivering such an integrated,
fully trained service is compounded where services
are delivered by a variety of employers, with
different contractual obligations and motivations,employing
people on different conditions, such as exists
under PFI and elsewhere when services are contracted
out of the public sector.
The importance of the public services team delivering
a consistent, properly resourced service for all
the people of Scotland should mean the abolition
of PFI and other schemes that break up integrated
Pay rates and job opportunities should not be
subject to discrimination on the grounds of age.
Neither lower pay for young people nor the deliberate
exclusion of older workers from the jobs market
can be justified in our country.
Pension rights too, should be equally available
to life partners, whatever their gender or marital
Inclusiveness and respect
Our New Parliament has inherited a situation
where many Scots are effectively debarred from
taking part in public life or properly accessing
its public services, through no fault of their
own. Whilst it is the case that most equalities
powers are reserved to Westminster, there is still
much a Scottish parliament can do.
The creation and dissemination of 'best practice',
for example, and ensuring that they, and other
bodies carry out their functions in a non-discriminatory
We would like to see a Scottish Parliament leading
the way in promoting an end to age discrimination
in benefit qualification and education grants.
And we want the findings of the Commission on
the funding of Long Term Care adopted.
To ensure that our society is truly inclusive,
and to treat all our citizens with the respect
they deserve, we must ensure that they have real
access to the wide range of positive opportunities
society and the public services have to offer.
Only then can we say that we are
This minifesto and a full copy of Serving Scotland,
A manifesto For Scotland's Public Services, is
on UNlSONScotland's Website at http://www.unison-scotland
It is also available in different languages and
formats from UNISONScotland, 14, West Campbell
Street, Glasgow G2 6RX. tel 0141-332 0006, fax
0141 342 2835, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published by UNISONScotland as part of its Serving
Scotland campaign, UNISON House, 14 West
Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX. Tel 0141 332
| Serving Scotland Manifesto | Self Organised Groups