Equality at the Heart of HES: Our Equality Outcomes Consultation

Closed 30 Nov 2020

Opened 7 Oct 2020

Feedback updated 30 Apr 2021

We asked

During October and November 2020, we hosted a public consultation to test and trial our existing outcomes in terms of ambition and relevance.

Our purpose in carrying out the survey was to test people's views on our existing outcomes as well as provide feedback on what equality focus our work should take for the next four years.

To support the survey, collaborative discussions were held with external agencies, such as Forth Valley Sensory Centre and Young Scot, as well as internal sessions with our Youth Forum and LGBT+ employee network.


You said

We received 58 responses with 51 responding as individuals.

Organisations who responded included: Deaf Scotland; Hidaya; Heritage Trust Network; Empower Women for Change, National Trust for Scotland; and Stonewall.

There was positive feedback on Historic Environment Scotland (HES) activities to date. Most respondents:

  • agreed that the activities highlighted in the survey did make a difference to the lives of people with protected characteristics.
  • were satisfied with the number of activities HES was engaged in although the levels of satisfaction were lowest in activities on race and D/deaf.
  • agreed that HES was delivering a broad range of activities showing broad support as well as room for improvement.

Recurring themes in the responses received related to:

  • concerns over the growth in hate crime in wider society
  • comments on how the pandemic is disproportionally impacting people with protected characteristics including their socio-economic status and access to services
  • encouragement for HES to keep working with others, learning, and improving
  • a lot of interest in our staff networks and external partnerships and call for more information and updates
  • desire for HES to lead in sectoral change, seeking out, initiating and pursuing debate
  • desire for HES to set equality recruitment and training targets and work towards them.

We did

In analysing the responses, three categories emerged in thinking about equalities and HES:

  • Our Society
  • Our services
  • Our people.

Using these three categories we extracted the following key learnings:

Our Society:

Emphasis on ensuring that equality is integral to understanding our contribution to Scotland’s economic, social, environmental, and cultural wellbeing.

Identification of a need and expectation that HES lead sectoral change.

Recognition of the value of collaboration and partnership with communities and other organisations, including academic partnership for research and evidence base.

Our Services: 

Focus on access, diversity, and inclusion. 

The impact of COVID–19 restrictions on access has been raised as a significant concern and calls to maintain and improve access as we enter the recovery phase and reimagine our work following the pandemic.

The need to draw out untold or hidden histories considered as important issues to be addressed, specifically building on our successful initiatives, and sharing learning wider across HES and the sector. 

Our People:

Our Board, employees and volunteers are committed to do and learn more about how their role can support our equality practice.

The consultation highlighted calls to improve the diversity of our workforce by, for example, setting recruitment targets, targeting the recruitment of interns and apprenticeships, and harnessing the interest and influence of our people through our employee networks. It also highlighted the importance of diversity in our leadership team and Board.

There were calls for more visible and clearer internal leadership on equality issues with some comments still resonating with concerns raised in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is important to embed equality within our decision making, planning, and resourcing processes. HES should lead sectoral change and empower and enable our employees in this.

These responses have helped to shape the HES Equalities Outcomes 2021-25 which is available on our website:


Your views will help shape our Equality Outcomes for 2021-25. These will replace our 2017-21 Equality Outcomes. 

Completing this consultation survey will take you at least 25 minutes. Thank you for taking this time to share your views with us.

A family group enjoying activities at the Glasgow Mela. A young boy is trying on a Roman helmet and laughing.

We have developed our activity with equality and diversity in mind. This has influenced  Heritage for All, our current Corporate Plan, with its focus on ‘making a real difference to people’s lives’. Our progress so far is outlined in our Mid-Term Equality Outcomes Report 2019.

We are setting our new Equality Outcomes during a global pandemic. The effect of Covid-19 has highlighted the social and personal inequalities across wider society as well as for  groups with protected characteristics.

This year, the events surrounding Black Lives Matter have achieved  a breakthrough response, with many public and private sector organisations committing to addressing racism and re-evaluating their employment practice. You can read our initial response on our website.

Why your views matter

The Equality Act 2010 requires all public bodies, including Historic Environment Scotland (HES) to publish Equality Outcomes at least every four years. These demonstrate where we want to be in relation to equality and diversity as both a provider of direct services to the public and an employer.  

We want to hear from people with a variety of life and personal experiences. By sharing your views, you can help us set out our organisational equality plan and commit to actions which make a real difference to people’s lives.   

Along with this survey, we are also consulting directly with organisations and charities that support people who are protected within the terms of the equality legislation. We value the engagement of our employee equality networks towards our consultation and subsequent delivery.  

What happens next

One of our staff members engaging a wee boy in a learning activity at the Engine Shed.

This consultation is now closed. We will be considering every individual response received. A summary of the consultation responses will be published. 

Along with this survey, we are also engaging directly with organisations and charities that support people who are protected within the terms of the equality legislation. Historic Environment Scotland values the engagement of our employee equality networks towards our consultation and subsequent delivery.

Please look out for further updates and our revised Equality Outcomes in 2021.