There is a need to apply a more consistent approach to the collection of data around sex, gender identity, and trans status. The Working Group has built on work by Scottish Government Equalities analysts on this area.
Many uses of data require bringing together a number of sources. Having consistent definitions, language and question structure in data collection makes it much easier to interpret these different sources together. The proposed questions in this guidance aim to facilitate better harmonisation across the Scottish public sector in collecting data about sex and trans status.
Harmonisation is important to allow data collected in different sources, for example on a survey or in an administrative system, to be combined or compared, and still reported in a meaningful way. Harmonisation is also an important consideration when publishing data. For example, it is generally desirable to have harmonised questions and definitions so that data can be aggregated, linked, and disaggregated to smaller levels. This also allows for comparability between groups and other data sources when this data is reported.
Increasing sample size of data about particular groups should in theory increase the usefulness of the data, and allow for an intersectional analysis to be carried out while minimising the risk of disclosure issues. This could be achieved by better linkages between datasets and data sharing between public services, and an important determinant of being able to link data is harmonisation.
The underlying principles that the working group has adopted, based on professional codes of practice and frameworks, mean that a number of presentational issues when publishing this data will ultimately be determined by consideration of professional statistical matters (for example, disclosure control and data reliability).
This is a rapidly evolving area for the collection of data, and for data standards. As such, statisticians in Scottish Government will continue to work with those in the Office for National Statistics and elsewhere to make sure the standards laid out here continue to be relevant.
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