Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence minutes: March 2022

Minutes from the group's meeting on 3 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • SG – Justice Analytical Services (JAS)
  • SG – Police Division
  • SG – Communities Analytical Division (CAD)
  • SLAB (Scottish Legal Aid Board)
  • CRER (Coalition for Racial and Equality Rights)
  • Glasgow University; SCCJR (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research)
  • Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
  • Police Scotland (PS)
  • Scottish Prison Service (SPS)
  • SIPR (Scottish Institute for Policing Research)
  • BEMIS 
  • SFRS (Scottish Fire and Rescue Service)
  • Community Justice
  • CEMVO Scotland (The Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations)

Items and actions

Introductions and apologies

JAS welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for attending. 

Review of action points and minutes from last meeting 

There were no outstanding action points and no further comments or suggestions arising from the previous minutes.

Review of achievements to date

JAS presented an update on what the group has achieved so far:-

  • data: data audit; meetings between JAS and justice  organisations; agreement to adopt the 2022 census ethnicity classifications; conducting a survey of academics/researchers and carrying out community engagement to find out about obstacles faced when using ethnicity data; and opinions of members of minority ethnic communities around data classifications
  • research: audit of existing research; survey of what research academics have done/plan to do; finding out what research working group members and members of the JAS research and analysis forum have planned, and using this as a starting point to create a joint research plan 
  • engagement with academics/researchers, representatives of minority ethnic community groups and members of the JAS research and analysis forum
  • sharing knowledge – presentations given by JAS, and NRS around data Linkage

Feedback from the Justice Board (presentation)

Justice Board were supportive of the following four priorities for the working group:

1.    Data/Statistics – to work towards a publication containing an agreed set of minimal data by a particular date
2.    Joint Research Plan
3.    Joint Communication/support for joint narrative
4.    Exploring setting up of a “reference panel”  

Proposed work streams and sub-groups

Next steps – JAS to lead on points 1 and 4 and work with others in the group, and on points 2 and 3 to work more collectively as a group. The aim is to setup a  two short-life sub groups, (one around the joint research plan and one around joint communication). with at least one representative from each organisation on at least one of the sub-groups. JAS is increasing its capacity to support the working group, through the appointment of an additional social researcher.

There was positive feedback from the group with everyone willing to provide support.

Action point:

  • please can each working group member from a justice organisation or academia sign up to one (or more) of the working groups? Please see instructions in accompanying email


Data is the foundation for doing the research, so if we improve data collection then we get better quantitative research and improve the evidence base.

We need to make sure this has a value for everyone – should we be doing this more generally across the Scottish Government? – (May expand later)

Link with the Workforce Group

There seems to be a workforce issue around recruitment, retention and a lack of data and evidence. May need to do some more research into the evidence base, before passing back to policy and implementation side of things. Is this a sensible approach?

Workforce and Race – short life working group – Lack of understanding across the sector about what we know and don’t know and what the challenges are – different operational needs re: policy and framework outcomes etc. There is a need to have an understanding of the barriers and how we get the evidence and data and then apply into practice. How the two groups could work together to agree on priorities, make improvements and feed this into the group.

The workforce meeting is planned for 15th March and an update will be provided at the next Race and Evidence meeting.

There were no objections to these two groups working together.

Initial results on Ethnicity from The SCJS (presentation)

Questions/comments :-

There was a general consensus that these were meaningful results and there was a discussion around other analysis that may be available and the possibility of liaising with Police Scotland colleagues.
It has been mentioned that a bigger sample and targeted locations could be included to support clustered communities and potential hot spots. 
How can the SCJS be used to do further research and add to the evidence base going forward around race and ethnicity?

Format for future meetings

JAS proposed getting other organisations within the group to share any work that they have been doing and have more regular presentations from the group.
There was a discussion around the regularity of the meetings – It had been agreed on the Terms of Reference to hold these meetings every month however this has proved to be quite a challenge, so it was suggested that we move the meetings to every two months with the sub-group work carrying on in the interim.
There were no objections to this proposal.


There was no other business.

Next meeting

Date of next meeting – to be arranged.

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