Equality Data Improvement Programme project board - highlight report: March 2022

Supporting paper for the meeting of the group on 23 March 2022.

Project name: Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP)
Senior Responsible Officer: Mick Wilson, Head of Communities Analysis Division
Project Manager: Jon Hunter /Maisy Best
Next project meeting: 23/3/2022
Period covering: 2/2/2022 – 18/3/2022
Report date: 18/3/2022
RAG last period: Amber
RAG this period: Amber

Summary of overall progress 

The overall status of the project is Amber as we have made progress on a number of key actions, but there are a small number of actions that were planned but not achieved. The most significant achievements in this period were: 

Project achievements for this period


Equality Analysis Team published the set of refreshed draft guidance notes for data collection, largely based on the 2022 Census questions, on the Scottish Government website on 2nd March.  The team have updated links on equality pages and will focus on dissemination, including to all analysts.  

Equality Analysis Team published using intersectionality to understand structural inequality in Scotland: Evidence synthesis on 9th March 2022.  This publication included a summary of key findings.  Ahead of its release this paper received positive feedback from prominent equality stakeholders, and further positive feedback has been received from policy and analytical colleagues following publication. 

Equality Data Audit – ASDs are in the process of drafting Improvement Plans. The Equality Analysis Team have now received some of these but the majority of analytical areas requested an extension to the 25 February deadline due to competing work pressures.  These documents will be reviewed by the Equality Analysis Team and feedback will be given to ASDs ahead of them being shared with stakeholders for their input.  

Equality Analysis Team have drafted a communications strategy for stakeholder engagement throughout 2022.  This includes both written feedback on the Improvement Plans and interactive engagement towards the development of a new Equality Evidence Strategy.  {This paper has been shared with the programme board for comment.} 

Work has been progressed to identify where intersectionality data breakdowns are currently provided, and where there is scope to increase the publication of these from the household surveys and admin data sources. This work is being taken forward by a PhD intern.

Work has progressed on the Equality Data Linkage Project. 

Communications and engagement

  • the Equality Analysis Team sent a submission to the Minister for Equalities and Older People updating her on the EDIP programme and providing her with the opportunity to meet.  The Minister agreed to meet officials in May
  • ‘Evidence in Holyrood’ week is taking place this week (w.c. 21st March) where MSPs and their staff have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the barriers and challenges to collecting, analysing and reporting equality data, and the role of the EDIP. We will be supported at these meetings by the SG Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit. Watch the professionally produced three minute promo video
  • the Equality Analysis Team have published blog posts on the two most recent publications - on refreshed data collection guidance and on the intersectionality report

Milestones/tasks planned but not achieved

The team are still waiting to receive most of the draft Improvement Plans from ASDs and are working closely with the analytical network on this.  

After an exploration of the options, the Equality Analysis Team decided not to commission research on lived experience at this point in time. This was for a number of reasons:  

  • a large bulk of the work was already done at UK level as part of a large consultation exercise, stakeholder engagement and research carried out for the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF);  the Equality Analysis team were conscious not to duplicate work done elsewhere and wanted to be sure to add real value. 
  • the team explored some areas for collaboration with ONS, and also explored grant-funding a third sector organisation in Scotland, but felt that the benefits and added value weren’t clear so decided to hold off on a commission for now.   

A Communications and Engagement Plan is not yet fully formulated however the Equality Analysis team are working with SG Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit to ensure streamlined communications with external equality stakeholders on the Equality Data Audit, leading in to the new Equality Evidence Strategy {draft paper shared with board for discussion}

Still to establish examples for case studies of where equality data has driven a change to a policy or a service.  

Plans for next period

  • Equality Analysis Team will further engage with ASDs to develop their draft Improvement Plans to be shared with stakeholders and work with the SG Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit to ensure stakeholder engagement is streamlined and effective
  • Equality Analysis Team will push forward with plans to improve equality breakdowns from the National Performance Framework (NPF) indicators

Key risks

Risk no. 1: Equality Data Audit improvement plans are not progressed by analysts within agreed timescales or are not of desirable quality 

Severity (1-5): 4 
Probability (1-5): 4
Actions: The Equality Analysis Team are continuing to support lead analysts from each analytical area, so that improvement plans will be ready to share with stakeholders in May
Impact of actions on risks: This support should raise the quality of the plans to be shared with stakeholders, reducing the risk

Risk no. 2: Lack of statistician support (vacant B2 post) prevents us from progressing as fast as we would like

Severity (1-5): 3 
Probability (1-5): 3
Actions: SGSSS intern has been recruited (start date: 1 November, departs in April). Q-step intern to start in May. B2 vacancy flagged in next round of recruitment but unlikely to be filled until summer 2022
Impact of actions on risks: The team will continue to explore resourcing options including innovative ways to resource the project. This should help reduce the risk

Risk no. 3: The contract for the lived experience commission is not awarded in time meaning budget is lost

Severity (1-5): 4 
Probability (1-5): 5
Actions: This risk was realised for 2021/22 financial year however if we can develop a worthwhile and valuable project we will explore funding for this from the 2022/23 budget
Impact of actions on risks: Developing a clear project spec should increase the chances of gaining budget

Risk no. 4: New – there is not sufficient lived experience engagement in the EDIP programme

Severity (1-5): 2
Probability (1-5): 3
Actions: action to be developed following discussion at board meeting
Impact of actions on risks: tbc

Project RAG status key

Red: some risks/issues require immediate attention from the Programme Manager/Challenge Owner/Lead
Amber: some risks/issues are self contained within tolerances
Green: project is proceeding on schedule

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