Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP) project board minutes: February 2022

Minutes for the meeting of the group on 2 February 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Roger Halliday (RH), Chief Statistician (Chair)
  • Audrey MacDougall (AM), Chief Social Researcher
  • Liz Hawkins (LH), Senior Principal Researcher, Equality & Social Justice Analysis
  • Jon Hunter (JH), Statistician, Equality Analysis Team
  • Maisy Best (MB), Social Researcher, Equality Analysis Team
  • Dan Craig (DC), Assistant Statistician – Equality Analysis Team
  • David Holmes (DH), Directorate for Chief Economist
  • Jenny Kemp, Equality, Inclusion & Human Rights Directorate
  • Trevor Owen (TO), Directorate for Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights
  • Drew McEwan (DM), Directorate for Digital
  • Vicki Gallagher (VG), Directorate for Digital


  • Sarah Munro, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
  • Alan White, Non-Departmental Public Bodies Equality Forum (NDPB Equality Forum)
  • Mark McAllister, COSLA


  • Nick Bland, Equality, Inclusion & Human Rights Directorate
  • Lesley Crozier, Scottish Council’s Equality Network
  • Duncan Buchanan, Public Health Scotland
  • Steven Reid, NDPB Equality Forum
  • Emily Lynch, Improvement Service

Items and actions


RH welcomed attendees to the meeting and invited introductions.

Following introductions, RH summarised the agenda for the meeting - to update on progress; to provide an introduction to the Data and Intelligence Network’s data linkage project; and to further discuss findings from the equality data audit.

Progress update

JH provided an overview of the Highlight Report (paper one), including actions currently underway, ongoing and not yet started. JH asked Project Board members to assist in identifying case study examples of where equality data has been used to improve services or inform policy making across the Scottish public sector.

In response to the highlighted risk around staff capacity, RH noted that the recruitment for statisticians is underway which should help to fill the vacancy within the Equality Analysis team.

RH highlighted a potential risk around ensuring that equality data considerations are mainstreamed across the Scottish Government and the wider Scottish public sector to achieve maximum impact.

TO welcomed work on communications and engagement and highlighted that the Mainstreaming Strategy Unit has recently filled a post focused on communications and engagement who can provide support in developing the approach to stakeholder engagement within the EDIP.

Data and Intelligence Network - equality protected characteristics data linkage

DM and VG provided an overview of the Data & Intelligence Network’s equality protected characteristics data linkage project. The aim of this project is to fill gaps in the equality evidence base by bringing together Census and administrative data sources.

Attendees discussed improvement activity underway to improve the quality of ethnicity data held by PHS, including through the COVID-19 vaccinations programme.

Attendees discussed the burden of data collection on local authorities and the benefit of streamlining data requests. RH noted that the Scottish Government is linked in with work in this space being undertaken by the Improvement Service and EHRC.

Equality Data Audit – peotected characteristics overview

MB presented an overview of findings from the Equality Data Audit showing the collection and publication of data on the nine protected characteristics across the Scottish Government (paper 2).

Attendees asked whether the ‘desired state’ in the improvement plans would include discussion on the disaggregation of protected characteristic data. MB noted that disaggregation will be discussed with lead analysts where relevant.

JK asked about the variability across analytical areas and the extent to which analytical areas are learning from each other. RH flagged that datasets that do not contain information about individuals or households, and so opportunities to collect protected characteristics data are limited, are not distributed uniformly across analytical areas. MB confirmed that a next step would be to look more closely at the dataset types to understand where improvements are possible. MB also noted that the EDIP Internal Analytical Network provides a forum for the sharing of good practice among analytical areas, alongside wider EDIP actions aimed at sharing learning and good practice.

RH welcomed views whether, in the long-term, equality data linkage could provide a way to reduce burden on respondents. Attendees agreed that data linkage would be a positive step but there is a need to balance shorter-term improvements with investments in longer-term data linkage approaches.

AOB and close

RH thanked all for attending and for their input in the meeting.

JK provided an update on the Non-Binary Working Group’s forthcoming recommendations.


  • project board members to disseminate the email requesting case study examples on how equality data helped drive changes in policy development or service design to their networks
  • SG to update the project board once draft improvement plans have been received from analytical areas


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