SCRA – Spotlight on Employee Monitoring

The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) is a national non-departmental public body.

As of 31 January 2021, SCRA had 499 employees located in every area of Scotland.


In SCRA, the people are predominantly female (88%). There is an ageing workforce (59.3% of employees are over the age of 45; just 16.2% are 34 or younger and 24.4% are aged 35 to 44). Of the total workforce, 38.5% are women who work part-time.

This lack of diversity is reflected at all levels throughout the organisation, in particular in the lower grades (A to D) where women comprise over 95% of the workforce. Due to the composition and distribution of the workforce, SCRA has a median gender pay gap of 27.87% (12.07% higher than the median gender pay gap reported across the UK public sector). Only 4.6% of employees state they have a disability; 2.2% report being of a Black or minority ethnic background; and 2.2% say that they are LGBT (no one has advised that they are transgender).

Under the Equality Act, there are nine protected characteristics. SCRA’s employee monitoring uses the Census categories to enable comparison to the Scottish population. SCRA also recognises a tenth protected characteristic of ‘care experience’. The Equality Employee Monitoring Campaign 2021 is the first year that SCRA people were asked to record their tenth protected characteristic.

As a public body, SCRA has legal obligations under the Equality Act to publish employee information statistics and gender pay gap. To ensure effective compliance and to enable these obligations to be fulfilled, SCRA needs to properly understand the workforce. This requires robust, accurate, and up-to-date employee equality monitoring data.

Innovative actions

SCRA’s equality employee monitoring strategy is two-fold: an annual monitoring campaign and regular topical monitoring campaigns throughout the year. The equality network members and network of locality-based inclusion ambassadors also encourage colleagues to complete their employee monitoring data throughout the year, but specifically during the organisation’s annual monitoring campaign and topical monitoring campaigns.

Annual monitoring

SCRA’s annual equality employee monitoring campaign launches on the International Day of Tolerance (16 November) and runs until Human Rights Day (10 December). It encourages all employees to record their protected characteristic data on the human resources (HR) system. This is promoted on the internal intranet by e-mailing all managers (who are asked to cascade to their team) and through direct e-mail to all staff from the CEO (in their regular team brief).

The campaign is honest and transparent and promotes the purpose and value of providing personal and sensitive data while reassuring people of its confidentiality (and anonymity in any aggregated reporting). Participation is encouraged but emphasised as being optional.

Topical monitoring

Regular topical equality employee monitoring campaigns take place throughout the year to celebrate and raise awareness of specific inclusion and diversity awareness days. Topical campaigns vary from year to year and have included: World Religion Day; LGBT History Month; World Cancer Day; Sign Language Week; International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; Transgender Day of Visibility; Care Experienced History Month; Deaf Awareness Week; Pride Month; Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller Month; Autistic Pride Day; International Non-Binary Persons Day; International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief; Bi-visibility Day; Black History Month; National Coming Out Day; International Disability Awareness Day; Islamophobia Awareness Month; and Inter Faith Week.

With each campaign—topical or annual—the importance of robust equality employee monitoring data is highlighted. Each campaign has a relevant case study, including illustrating how SCRA has previously used employee monitoring data in organisational improvement and how enhanced employee information can affect positive change.

Evidence of impact

SCRA strives to be an inclusive employer of choice, to be more representative of the Scottish population, and to be a welcoming environment where all its people feel they belong and are supported to achieve their full potential. The organisation considers this essential in providing a sensitive, needs-based, inclusive, and responsive service to Scotland’s children and their families. A robust equality employee monitoring strategy enables SCRA to deliver on this aim.

SCRA views the benefits of equality employee monitoring as much wider reaching than legal compliance. Understanding the needs of SCRA’s workforce is essential in strategic planning and ensuring that inclusion and diversity inform continuous improvement and are embedded in all that the organisation does. Why?

• SCRA’s people are the organisation’s most valuable asset; by understanding who they are, SCRA can respond to the needs of their people.
• To promote an inclusive and welcoming culture to attract, retain, and nurture talent.
• To understand the diversity of the workforce and enable positive steps to redress any imbalance.
• To enhance awareness and understanding of the organisation’s legal obligations as well as the impact of the diversity of the workforce on the service (for instance, representation of the communities it serves to mitigate the potential impact of unconscious bias).

The employee monitoring campaign is not just an HR exercise but an essential tool to enable SCRA to understand the impact of the culture on its people and its people on the services provided by the organisation. This holistic annual and topical approach to equality employee monitoring has increased reporting which provides SCRA with robust and accurate information to drive its inclusion and diversity journey. In November 2018, SCRA’s annual equality employee monitoring campaign saw an increase in staff reporting across many protected characteristics, most notably disability (up 15%), faith and belief (up 14%), and nationality (up 9.5%). In November 2019’s campaign, there was an increase in reporting of race (up 1.4%) and marriage and civil partnership (up 3.2%). Due to operational pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, neither the annual or topical campaigns were held, but this was re-started as of April 2021 with Care Experienced History Month.

This article was created in 2021 and revised in July 2022.

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