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Scotland Act 1998


The exceptions from the reservation mean that the Scottish Parliament has competence over:


The encouragement (other than by prohibition or regulation) of equal opportunities, and in particular of the observance of the equal opportunity requirements.  “Equal opportunity requirements” are defined in the interpretation section as the requirements of the law for the time being relating to equal opportunities so that it can expand to include any new categories of prohibited anti-discriminatory behaviour.  This allows the Parliament to exhort public authorities and others to adopt equal opportunity policies, and to allocate financial and other resources to the encouragement of equal opportunities; and


Imposing duties on:


any office-holder in the Scottish Administration, or any Scottish public authority with mixed functions or no reserved functions, to make arrangements with a view to securing that the functions of the office-holder or authority are carried out with due regard to the need to meet the equal opportunity requirements; or


any cross-border public authority to make arrangements with a view to securing that its Scottish functions are carried out with due regard to the need to meet the equal opportunity requirements.

These exceptions from the reservation will allow the Scottish Parliament for example to develop schemes to secure better provision of services to groups who may be the subject of discrimination or to legislate to require certain public authorities and office-holders to have due regard to equal opportunity requirements. “Scottish functions” are defined in the interpretation paragraph as meaning functions which are exercisable in or as regards Scotland and which do not relate to reserved matters.

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