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

Supporting paper for the the meeting of the group on 2 February 2022.

Highlight report

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: 2/2/2022

Period covering: 16/12/2021 – 28/1/2022

Report date: 28/1/2022

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:

  • the progression of the Equality Data Audit, including - a request to analysts to identify key data sets for improvement; the production of a draft Improvement Plan template; and the production of a summary of the RAG ratings
  • the progression of equality question guidance notes
  • the progression of the National Performance Framework (NPF) project
  • the progression of the Intersectionality Report
  • providing information to the ONS Inclusive Data Taskforce implementation plan (published 28 Jan)
  • the progression of groundwork for a possible Lived Experience commission

Project achievements for this period


  • Equality Data Audit - ASDs have been asked to identify priority datasets by the end of this month i.e. those where there is potential to improve equality variables or where there is a push from stakeholders. ASDs will be asked to make it clear why each data set is chosen and explain why those that aren’t are not included.  ASDs will soon be expected to draft up Improvement Plans to be shared with stakeholders and have been provided with a draft template and guidance on this
  • a summary of the RAG data gathered from the first phase of the Equality Data Audit has been produced and has been shared with the project board (see paper 2)
  • the set of refreshed draft guidance notes on the equality questions, largely based on the 2022 Census questions, have been sent to Scottish Government policy colleagues for comment and input. It is expected that these will be published in early 2022
  • the NPF project has been progressed – an assistant statistician in the Equality Analysts Team and a PhD intern in the NPF team worked together to assess what equality breakdowns are available for each NPF indicator across six of the national outcomes. A comprehensive report was produced by the intern and consideration has been given on how to proceed with work on the remaining outcomes
  • Equality Analysis Team completed a draft version of the intersectionality paper and shared with stakeholders, including board members, for comment. Positive feedback was received from external stakeholders. Equality Analysis Team are now working toward its publication and plan to include an accessible summary version
  • work has been progressed to identify where intersectionality data breakdowns are currently provided, and where there is scope to increase the publication of intersectional data breakdowns from the household surveys. This work is being taken forward by a PhD intern
  • the Inclusive Data Taskforce Implementation Plan, including material from the EDIP, was published on Friday 28 January. Equality Analysis Team met with a range of ONS researchers in January to explore areas for potential collaboration, especially around lived experience work
  • work has been progressed on a project to identify potential case studies from the Scottish Government or wider public sector on how equality data helped drive changes in policy development or service design (the board was previously asked to disseminate an email on this with their networks)
  • work has been progressed on the Equality Data Linkage Project and an update will be provided at the board meeting

Communications and engagement

  • Analytical Leaders (ALG) have been provided with an update on the Data Audit and asked to consider resources for taking forward improvement. Equality Analysis Team will soon be putting up a submission to the Minister on this and the EDIP programme more widely, inviting a meeting including discussion how best to engage with other Ministers
  • Equality Analysis Team met with the new Communications and Engagement lead in the SG equality mainstreaming team. Their help will be vital to ensure a streamlined communications with external equality stakeholders on the Equality Data Audit and Equality Evidence Strategy
  • ‘Evidence in Holyrood’ week, which should help MSPs and their staff gain a better understanding of the barriers and challenges to collecting, analysing and reporting equality data, and the role of the EDIP, is still scheduled to take place in March 2022 and will be a joint venture with the SG equality mainstreaming team. Filming of a short video is scheduled to take place next week

Milestones/tasks planned but not achieved

  • the project plan for the lived experience commission is taking longer than expected to develop. The Equality Analysis team are conscious not to duplicate work already taking place elsewhere (e.g. by the ONS) and are taking time to scope what has already been done elsewhere in order to add real value
  • a Communications and Engagement Plan is not yet formulated however the Equality Analysis team will work with the new communications lead in equality mainstreaming team to ensure streamlined communications with external equality stakeholders on the Equality Data Audit and Equality Evidence Strategy

The next analytical gathering, on sex/gender data, has been postponed due to uncertainty around the final 2022 Census question guidance. (NRS has been issued a pre-action litigation letter in relation to the sex question guidance for Scotland’s Census 2022).

Plans for next period

  • the Equality Analysis team will further engage with ASDs to develop draft improvement plans to be shared with stakeholders and work with the new communications lead in equality mainstreaming team to ensure engagement is streamlined and effective
  • the Equality Analysis team will further progress with the lived experience commission by developing a project plan
  • the Equality Analysis team will continue the work to publish the Intersectionality Report along with an accessible summary
  • the Equality Analysis team will aim to publish refreshed draft guidance notes on the equality questions, subject to Ministerial approval

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): 2
Actions: Established an internal network to support with the Equality Data Audit. The Equality Analysis Team have met with lead analysts from each analytical area, achieved buy in, and agreed that they will develop draft improvement plans in early 2022 to share with stakeholders. 

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). Vacancy flagged in next round of recruitment but unlikely to be filled until Summer 2022.

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): 4
Actions: We will prioritise the commissioning of this work, including identifying potential contractors in advance and contacting them to scope their capacity to undertake the work. 

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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