Expanding Equally Safe at Work: Piloting with NHS, Scottish Government and the third sector

We're pleased to announce that we will be expanding Equally Safe at Work as part of the Gender Beacon Collaborative which was a recommendation of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls. This expansion follows a successful pilot of Equally Safe at Work with councils. The accreditation programme will be tailored for delivery with NHS boards, the third sector and in Scottish Government.

Women experience a range of gendered barriers which prevent them from entering and progressing in the labour market, resulting in women’s concentration in low-paid work and undervalued work, placing them at greater risk of poverty. Women’s experiences of men’s violence make it difficult for women to do their job to the best of their ability, and in some cases, women are forced out of work entirely, creating additional barriers to gender equality at work.

What is Equally Safe at Work?

Equally Safe at Work supports employers to review, update and develop employment policies and practices to advance women’s equality in the labour market and prevent violence against women (VAW). It provides a framework for change and sets out the advice and guidance on how to develop best practice. It’s comprised of six criteria which include: leadership, data, flexible working, occupational segregation, workplace culture and VAW.

Equally Safe at Work was piloted with an early adopters group of councils, with four receiving bronze accreditation. The evaluation of the pilot found that the programme was an effective mechanism for progressing gender equality at work. As a result of the pilot, employers introduced initiatives to address occupational segregation, developed policies on VAW, ensured all jobs advertised included flexible working, and completed training on flexible working and VAW.

The expansion of Equally Safe at Work will see new early adopter groups in the NHS and third sector, and Scottish Government, participate in a pilot and work towards the accreditation standards. We're working with experts in health and social care, learning and development, HR, gender equality and VAW across different sectors to oversee the development of the Gender Beacon Collaborative.

Next steps

We will be developing a community of practice which will bring together employers from third sector, the Scottish Government, NHS boards, local authorities and the private sector to engage in shared learning opportunities, and to disseminate good practice. This will also provide a variety of perspectives and insight into levering change in different sectors.

Earlier this week, Close the Gap hosted information sessions for employees in NHS boards to introduce the pilot, what’s involved, and the benefits of involvement. In the next stage of development we'll be inviting employers from NHS boards to join the early adopters group, alongside third sector employers.

If you're interested in finding out more, please contact our Programme Officer, Nikki Chung, on for more information.

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