Sex and gender - draft guidance: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to the consultation on the draft guidance on the collection of data on sex and gender.


In her statement to Parliament in June 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People announced that the Scottish Government would establish a working on sex and gender in data to address issues that had been raised in response to proposals to reform the gender recognition process in Scotland around the collection, disaggregation and use of data on sex and gender.

The issue does not result specifically from the proposed reform of the gender recognition process, but there is some overlap.

The Sex and Gender in Data Working Group had its first meeting in September 2019. The working group is comprised of professionals from across statistical services and key public sector bodies which collect and present data.

The Group is led by Scotland’s Chief Statistician and membership includes representatives from Scottish Government Equality Unit, Family Law Unit, National Records of Scotland, Scottish Prison Service, Police Scotland, NHS Information Services Division, Equality and Human Rights Commission, COSLA and Office for National Statistics.

The Chief Statistician, Roger Halliday, has been engaging with key interested parties, such as women’s groups and trans groups, to hear their views and evidence. Prior to Covid-19 he held two public engagement events to take the conversation wider and allow members of the public to contribute to respectful discussions around the Group’s work. This engagement is an important part of producing the guidance.

Clear guidance on how to collect data about sex and gender is welcomed by many organisations and individuals that the working group have spoken to.

The draft guidance is not prescriptive for each public body about what data they should collect. A strong recommendation is that the data collected should follow from an organisation’s understanding around why it needs this data, as well as clarity on the approach taken to collect it.

Following this first phase of engagement with stakeholders and the public, the Chief Statistician put together, in consultation with members of the working group, and sought feedback on a draft version of the guidance.

A public consultation seeking feedback on the draft guidance ran from 9 December 2020 to 12 February 2021. The draft guidance was published on the working group’s page with a contact email address to send feedback to, as well as being shared directly with the stakeholders and members of the public who had already met with the working group and engaged with the work.

The outputs from the consultation – alongside those from engagement activities and working groups which were conducted over 2019 to 2020 – will be drawn upon as work to develop the guidance progresses.



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