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

Paper from the meeting of the group on 11 May 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: 11 May 2022

Period covering: 18 March 2022 to 04 May 2022

Report date: 28 January 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, due to staff leave and competing pressures, there are several actions that were planned but not achieved. The most significant achievements in this period were:

  • finalising the Equality Data Improvement Plans – we have now received draft improvement plans from all analytical areas and have provided feedback on these

Preparations for the stakeholder consultation are now underway, which will inform the development of the next Equality Evidence Strategy. We anticipate launching the stakeholder consultation in early June.

Project achievements for this period


  • the Equality Analysis Team has now received draft Improvement Plans from all analytical areas and have provided feedback on these to lead analysts. Lead analysts are now seeking senior sign off on plans
  • the Equality Analysis team has advanced with preparations for the Equality Evidence Strategy stakeholder consultation, and are currently drafting the Consultation Paper. {draft consultation questions shared with board for discussion}
  • data linkage project - work to design, build and test the equality protected dataset is underway. The dataset will then be tested and evaluated to assess data quality and coverage, comparing against published sources of population data on equalities characteristics where possible
  • the Equality Analysis Team is underway with updating the NPF Data Explorer to improve transparency about data gaps in equality breakdowns from the indicators

Communications and engagement

  • in collaboration with the SG Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit, the Equality Analysis Team have revised the Communications and Engagement Plan based on the feedback received by the Project Board at the 23 March meeting {revised draft paper shared with board for discussion}
  • the Equality Analysis Team met with the Minister for Equalities and Older People on 3 May to update her on the EDIP
  • met with MSPs as part of Evidence in Holyrood week
  • included an update on the EDIP in the OCS weekly newsletter, which is circulated to all Scottish Government statisticians
  • the Equality Analysis Team met with officials at the Welsh Government to discuss the EDIP, and share plans for work going forward
  • the Equality Analysis Team met with officials at the ONS, and provided a quarterly update on the EDIP to the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF)

Milestones/tasks planned but not achieved

There were several tasks planned but not achieved during this period:

  • lived experience – following discussion with the Project Board at the 23 March meeting, the Equality Analysis Team contacted ONS colleagues to discuss join up with existing lived experience projects being carried out as part of the Inclusive Data Taskforce. However, due to staff absence and competing pressures, we have not had capacity to develop plans
  • stakeholder consultation – due to delays in receiving draft improvement from analytical areas we have revised the timetable for the consultation. We are now working to launch the consultation in early June
  • due to re-deployment of staff in the Mainstreaming and Strategy Unit to work on the Ukraine response, we have paused work to establish examples for case studies of where equality data has driven a change to a policy or a service. We will revisit this project later in the Summer and, depending on staffing, may consider an external commission

Plans for next period

  • launch the stakeholder consultation in early June. It is envisaged that this will run until late August, inviting views on the draft improvement plans
  • the Equality Analysis Team will progress the lived experience project and share a proposal with the Project Board at the 29 June meeting
  • the Equality Analysis team will host a seminar on intersectionality for SG policymakers and analysts to disseminate findings from the Using intersectionality to understand structural inequality in Scotland: evidence synthesis report
  • the Equality Analysis Team will work to find alternative data sources to cover gaps in equality breakdowns through cross-referencing with the returns of the Equality Data Audit and Evidence Finder

Key risks

Risk no. 1: New – there is insufficient time to produce the Equality Evidence Strategy following conclusion of the stakeholder consultation

Severity (1-5): 4 
Probability (1-5): 3
Actions: We have revised the timetable for the stakeholder consultation. At present, although this represents a delay, we feel there will be sufficient time to develop the strategy following close of the consultation. We are currently exploring options for external commission of the consultation analysis to free up staff capacity in the Equality Analysis Team, and holding stakeholder engagement events whilst the consultation is live.

Impact of Actions on Risks: The actions are expected to reduce the probability of this 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: 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: There is not sufficient lived experience engagement in the EDIP programme

Severity (1-5): 2 
Probability (1-5): 2
Actions: This was discussed at the 22 March Project Board meeting. The Equality Analysis team is developing a proposal for this action which builds on work already underway by the ONS. 

Impact of Actions on Risks: Tbc – discussions with ONS ongoing.

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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