Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence minutes: March 2021 – engagement around race data and evidence gaps update

Paper for meeting of working group on 31 March 2021.

Paper 1 - Engagement around race data and evidence gaps update for Working Group Meeting Wed 31 March 2021

Academic Engagement work 

An online survey for academics / researchers has been developed, with thanks to Megan O’Neill at SIPR, and Ali Fraser and Fergus McNeill at SCCJR, for their valuable input with this and comments on earlier drafts. 

The survey is split into 3 sections:

  • section 1 asks about experience of previous, current or planned future research around race and justice, including asking about any obstacles encountered and potential solutions
  • section 2 asks about priorities for further research, asking respondents to select from a list of overall topics (taken from the research audit), and then allowing them to write in more specific sub-topics or research questions of interest and why they think these are a priority
  • section 3 asks about data priorities, and links with the work that Phillipa has been leading on, engaging with Justice partners about the ethnicity data they collect.  This section asks respondents if/how they currently use ethnicity data from Justice Organisations, how they might use improved data in future if it was available, and how important they think certain aspects around collecting and publishing ethnicity data are

The survey contains “routing” so that respondents only see questions which are relevant to them, based on how they have answered previous questions. 

The following have agreed to distribute the survey link to their mailing lists: 

  • Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR)
  • Scottish Institute for Policing Research SIPR
  • Centre for Research on Racism, Ethnicity and Nationalism (CRREN) 
  • Community Justice Scotland Academic Advisory Group

It has been decided not to use GRAMNet to distribute the survey – their mailing list contains community groups and individuals as well as academics. As the community group survey will not be live until after the academic survey, there were concerns around confusion and over-burdening their mailing list, if it was used to distribute the academic survey, then the community survey.


  • fieldwork: survey live for 3 weeks - Tues 6 Apr to Tues 27 - dependent on: DPIA approval (see below); not having to make major changes to survey, following feedback from working group meeting; and owners of mailing lists being available to distribute survey link
  • analysis - May – early June - dependent on the number of responses; the more responses, in particular the more open text responses received, the longer analysis will take; staff annual leave in May
  • reporting - June     

Community group engagement work

Community group engagement work remains a priority. However it has been pushed back to fit with the timescales and priorities of CEMVO, CRER and BEMIS.  It was agreed at the last working group meeting that it is worth waiting and doing this work well, and ensuring it is meaningful. This requires the input and support of groups such as CEMVO, CRER and BEMIS. 

Revised proposed timescales for the community engagement work are:


  • development - April - dependent on capacity of key third sector stakeholders
  • piloting and revising - end April/early May - dependent on capacity of key third sector stakeholders
  • fieldwork - late May/early June     
  • analysis - June - dependent on the number of responses; the more responses, in particular the more open text responses received, the longer analysis will take
  • reporting - July     

Ethics and data protection

An ethics checklist has been completed for the engagement work in order to comply with robust Government Social Research (GSR) ethical and legal obligations, and to highlight any potential ethical sensitives and actions to mitigate them.

A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) has been completed in order to comply with GDPR legislation and to highlight any potential risks and mitigating actions. A DPIA is required for any project which collects “personal data”. This DPIA only relates to the academic engagement. A separate DPIA will be drafted for the community engagement if required, however it is likely that the community group engagement survey will allow groups to respond anonymously, and not collect any personal data, in which case a DPIA would not be required. 

A draft version of the DPIA is included. Working group members are welcome to read and comment on it, if they wish to do so. There is no obligation to do so. 


Any comments on the engagement plans outlined above, or the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) are welcomed. 

Susan Robinson
Justice Analytical Services
March 2021

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