Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP) Project Board minutes: November 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 14 November 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government (SG)

  • Alastair McAlpine (AMcA), Chief Statistician (Chair)
  • Jonathan Wright, Senior Principal Researcher, Equality & Social Justice Analysis, Communities Analysis Division
  • Beth Cocker, Principal Researcher – Equality Analysis Team, Communities Analysis Division
  • Maisy Best (MB), Social Researcher – Equality Analysis Team, Communities Analysis Division
  • Nanjika Nasiiro (NN), Strategic Lead – Strategic Anti-Racism and NACWG, Directorate for Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights
  • Gill McCrum (GM), Strategic Development and Organisational Capability Lead, Mainstreaming, Directorate for Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights
  • David Holmes, Head of EPCD: Coordination and Briefing, Directorate for Economic Strategy and Fair Work
  • Rhys Howell (RH), Principal Researcher, Justice Systems Equality Analysis


  • Nick Cassidy, Improvement Service (deputising for Emily Lynch)
  • Jordon Gorevan, Non-Departmental Public Bodies Equality Forum (NDPB Equality Forum)
  • Rishma Maini, Public Health Scotland (PHS)
  • Hannah Telling, Equality and Human Rights (EHRC)


  • Lesley Crozier, Scottish Council’s Equality Network
  • Audrey MacDougall, Chief Social Researcher
  • Catherine McMeeken, Deputy Director Equalities, Directorate for Equality, Inclusion & Human Rights
  • Emily Lynch, Improvement Service

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

AMcA welcomed attendees to the meeting and invited introductions.

Following introductions, AMcA provided a staffing update. Beth Cocker has replaced Jon Hunter as the head of the Scottish Government Equality Analysis team and Molly Halligan will replace Maisy Best on 4 December 2023.

AMcA summarised the agenda for the meeting - to provide an update on progress against the actions in the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-2025; to provide focused updates from the Mainstream Unit and Justice Analytical Services; and to share updates from external Project Board members.

EDIP Progress Update

AMcA highlighted that minutes from the August meeting have been published.

MB provided an overview of the Highlight Report (Paper 1).

Attendees asked whether updates to the Sex, gender identity, trans status - data collection and publication: guidance are likely in the immediate future. AMcA advised that the guidance is unlikely to be reviewed immediately. 

AMcA suggested inviting the National Performance Framework (NPF) team to the February meeting to provide a focused update on their current and planned work to strengthen the intersectional equality evidence base.

Spotlight updates – Mainstreaming

GM provided an update of current and planned work in the Mainstreaming Unit.

This included:

  • supporting the Equality Fairer Scotland Budget Statement (EFSBS)
  • working with the OECD on gender budgeting
  • publishing a formal Scottish Government response to Equality & Human Rights Budget Advisory Group recommendations
  • responding to the publication of the EHRC’s statutory reports, Is Britain Fairer? and Is Scotland Fairer?
  • advancing the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) Review
  • commencing stakeholder engagement on a draft Mainstreaming Strategy and accompanying action plan

Attendees asked for examples of where the EFSBS has influenced decision making, or where budget decisions have changed when looked at through an equality lens.

GM advised that this year’s EFSBS will present case studies to showcase key budget decisions, and suggested that analysts from the Public Spending Unit, who are leading on the EFSBS, provide further details to the Project Board in writing or at the next meeting.

Attendees asked to what extent the PSED Review is linked up with developments on the Human Rights Bill. GM and NN provided reassurance of strong working relationships between the teams working in these areas.

Spotlight updates – Justice Analytical Services (JAS)

AMcA invited RH to provide an update on progress made by JAS against actions in the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-2025.

RH advised that the majority of actions being taken forward in JAS relate to ethnicity data, which is the focus of the Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence.

Key outputs to date arising from Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-2025 actions include:

RH highlighted a range of activity underway in relation to the collection and use of ethnicity data, and summarised key findings from recent publications.

Attendees asked whether there was any work planned to compare ethnicity data from Scotland’s Census 2023 with ethnicity data from the pooled SCJS sample to identify differences. RH confirmed that this could be possible but that pooling the SCJS over nine years was necessary to ensure the required sample size.

Attendees asked whether the SCJS pooled sample data is available by postcode. RH confirmed that there is no geographical disaggregation.

Roundtable updates

The following attendees provided an update:

    • Nick Cassidy, Improvement Service
    • Hannah Telling, EHRC
    • Jordon Gorevan, NDPB Equality Forum
    • Rishma Maini, PHS

AMcA suggested that PHS inputs into an upcoming NPF project on intersectionality.

AOB and close

No AOB was raised.

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


  • Project Board members to provide feedback on the Highlight Report format
  • Equality analysis team to invite NPF team to the February meeting to provide a focused update on their current and planned work
  • Equality analysis team to ask Public Spending Unit to provide a written or in-person response on the impact of the EFSBS
  • AMcA to contact Rishma Maini about PHS involvement in an upcoming NPF project on intersectionality
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