The Advisory Group was established in August 2012 by Roseanna Cunningham MSP, the then Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, to provide Scottish Ministers with impartial advice on developing work to tackle sectarianism in Scotland. The interim report of the Advisory Group was published in December 2013 and the Scottish Government responded to the report in February
The Scottish Government welcomes the work that has been done by the Advisory Group, the time invested, evidence gathered and the recommendations that have been formulated. This is a significant step forward for the agenda; by building on the interim report, a picture is emerging of the issue, or what is perceived to be
the issue, and what type of actions can be taken to address it.
In their final report, which has been published alongside this response, the Advisory Group acknowledge that sectarianism is not the most important social issue in Scotland but it is one that should not be ignored and allowed to fester as it impacts on relationships, fear and perceptions. Indeed, the Advisory Group suggest that the depth of conversation that they embarked upon was testament to the health of civic
society in Scotland at this time and shows the potential for exploring the possibilities
for positive change.
The Scottish Government wholeheartedly endorses this view and recognises that a long term approach is required to tackle sectarianism and all other social problems. Long term engagement and action will provide the opportunity to sweep away the remaining stigma and fear associated with sectarianism and change anxious silence into acknowledgement, engagement and action.
We are therefore happy to give a commitment to look at each of the recommendations and conclusions made by the Advisory Group and to take forward work where we have a direct role and work with partners, where appropriate, to move this agenda forward.