Sex, gender identity, trans status - data collection and publication: guidance

Guidance for public bodies on the collection of data on sex and gender.

7. Analysing, disaggregating and publishing data that has been collected

My expectation is that organisations across Scotland, as part of their focus on promoting equality, should be publishing disaggregated data that illuminates the situation for people who are female and male, and for trans people, therefore helping to understand where there are differences and where there are not. I'd also expect organisations to actively look to review their data collection to do more to both collect and publish disaggregated data. This is both for sex and trans status, and intersectionality with other socio-demographic characteristics (whilst preserving privacy).

A public body will need to consider precisely what disaggregation is required. There are a number of considerations that are relevant to reporting this data:

Information needs

A key starting point in thinking about how to disaggregate between those who are female or male, and present data about trans people should be to consider why the data is being collected, and what [equality] objectives the organisation is trying to achieve. The guidance on data collection covers this and gives some details of the reasons why a public body may need to collect data that is disaggregated in this way.


Public bodies who are listed for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 will also require adequate information to assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the needs of the PSED, for example by completing a Equality Impact Assessment.

Those public bodies must also publish a set of equality outcomes which they consider will enable them to better perform the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). A public body must publish a report on the progress made to achieve its equality outcomes every two years and publish a fresh set of equality outcomes within four years of publishing its previous set. Again, information from data must underpin the development and monitoring of these equality outcomes.


The Code of Practice for Statistics provides a framework for the production of statistics, to make sure that the things that most need to be measured in society are collected and reported in a way that maintains trust, quality and value of the data[23].

The Code or Practice places "above all, the confidentiality of individuals and of business information", and ensuring that this is protected. This is very relevant to publishing and reporting statistics on small groups, where there is a risk that an individual's data may be identifiable in breach of their right to privacy. The Government Statistical Service has published guidance on how to present data in ways that preserve privacy[24]

The Code is not concerned only with official statistics. It provides a framework that can apply to a much wider range of data that have not traditionally been described as official statistics. Providers of these other types of data, and this includes data held by public bodies, can draw on the Code as they judge appropriate to help support public confidence, and serve the public good. For example, it is accepted good practice that if the analysis of data collected shows results which are unexpected, the reasons for those results should be investigated

It is important that when reporting statistics that the strengths and limitations of the data are communicated clearly, and this includes making clear how the data was collected, whether face to face, whether in writing, over the phone, and the wording of question used. See the Ministry of Justice technical guide as an example of doing this[25]. This allows users to take a decision on whether the data is suitable for their needs and uses.

The Government Statistical Service produces a number of resources related to communicating statistics, and this guidance can support the visual presentation of the statistics and data to conform to ways in which the user can easily digest and understand, so that your statistics and data are accessible[26].



Back to top