Publication - Minutes

Equality Data Improvement Programme Project Board: minutes - July 2021

Published: 3 Sep 2021
Date of meeting: 21 Jul 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Equality Data Improvement Programme project board held on 21 July 2021.

Published:
3 Sep 2021
Equality Data Improvement Programme Project Board: minutes - July 2021

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government (SG):

  • Roger Halliday (RH), Chief Statistician, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Sean Stronach (SS), Deputy Director for Equality and Inclusion, Scottish Government
  • Trevor Owen (TO), Strategic Lead – Mainstreaming Equality and Human Rights, Scottish Government
  • David Holmes (DH), Economic Policy & Capability
  • Jon Hunter (JH), Statistician, Equality Analysis, Scottish Government
  • Maisy Best (MB), Social Researcher, Equality Analysis

External:

  • Andrew Fraser, Public Health Scotland (PHS)
  • Emily Lynch, Improvement Service
  • Lesley Crozier, Scottish Council’s Equality Network
  • Emma McGeough, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

Apologies:

  • Audrey MacDougall, Chief Social Researcher, Scottish Government
  • Liz Hawkins, Senior Principal Researcher, Equality and Social Justice Analysis Unit, Scottish Government
  • Nick Bland, Strategic Lead – Race Equality, Scottish Government
  • Mark McAllister, COSLA
  • Alan White, Non-Departmental Public Bodies Equality Forum (NDPB Equality Forum)
  • Steven Reid, Non-Departmental Public Bodies Equality Forum (NDPB Equality Forum)
  • Sarah Munro, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

Items and actions

Welcome

RH welcomed attendees to the meeting, and invited brief introductions around the table.

Following introductions, RH summarised the purpose of the meeting – to discuss the work programme and to agree an approach to communications and engagement.

Update on actions agreed at last meeting

MB provided a progress update on actions for SG agreed at the Project Board meeting in May 2021:

    • ACTION: Revision of the Terms of Reference (ToR) and creation of a Project Board gov.scot webpage: Based on feedback at the last meeting and comments received via email from Project Board members, the ToR was revised and circulated via email for final comment on 18 June 2021. No further comments were received so the ToR is now considered finalised. A webpage on gov.scot has been created, and the ToR and minutes from the May 2021 meeting have been published on the page.
    • ACTION: Production of a driver diagram: Officials have drafted a driver diagram that sets out the links between programme aims, themes and actions. This was circulated in Paper 1 for discussion under agenda item 3.
    • ACTION: Draft Communications and Engagement Strategy: Officials have drafted a Communications and Engagement Strategy based on initial discussions in the May 2021 meeting. This was circulated in Paper 2 for discussion under agenda item 4.
    • ACTION: Officials to make contact with the Strategic Scrutiny Group: Officials made contact with contacts in Audit Scotland. The potential for a consultation exercise with scrutiny bodies was raised. Views from the Project Board on this suggestion were invited.

RH provided a steer that SG officials should provide a presentation on the EDIP at a Strategic Scrutiny Group meeting and seek views via that forum rather than a more in-depth consultation exercise. RH suggested that representation of scrutiny bodies on the Project Board is not necessary at this stage, but there should be ongoing engagement with scrutiny bodies as part of the Communications and Engagement Strategy.

Attendees agreed with RH’s suggestion, and highlighted a need for a continued and active dialogue with a variety of groups and organisations. It was also flagged that Project Board membership should be kept under continual review.

Work programme

JH presented slides on the work programme, including on aims, themes and an overview of project actions within the EDIP (Paper 1).

TO highlighted a need for the EDIP to consider how policy officials are using evidence to inform policy and delivery, including how to build skills and capability among policy professionals.

TO flagged potential gaps where there are no current working groups for the EDIP to link in to. TO will consider other groups in existence to ensure join up.

TO suggested a revision to the scope of the Equality Budgeting Advisory Group (EBAG) action to include the building of capability of policy officials and analysts in the use of evidence to engage in effective equality budgeting.

RH suggested that being able to describe what ‘good’ looks like would help policy officials use equality evidence and/or undertake equality budgeting.

Attendees provided positive feedback on Paper 1, including the focus on better services/outcomes and the balance between research and statistics. Intersectionality was flagged as an important area.

It was highlighted that the Expert Reference Group on COVID-19 and Ethnicity (ERG) will soon be disbanded so there may be a need to consider whether additional Project Board membership is needed to ensure links between the EDIP and work undertaken to respond to the recommendations of the ERG. 

It was agreed that there is a need for a more explicit statement on the governance arrangements for the EDIP on the gov.scot webpage. 

It was highlighted that there are gaps in the representation of some protected characteristic groups in the engagement with existing working groups. Engagement with external stakeholder groups was suggested to fill gaps.

RH agreed with comments raised and highlighted that there may be barriers to data sharing and use. RH suggested working with analysts to establish good practice in data sharing and dissemination.  

RH also highlighted a need to consider what success will look like at the end of the first phase of the EDIP (e.g. what will be different).

Work to update the Local Government Benchmarking Framework was highlighted as a potential way to increase the collection and use of equality data by local authorities.

Attendees agreed that SG officials will provide the Project Board with a Highlight Report ahead of each meeting, setting out achievements, upcoming plans, risks and issues. Production of a Ganttt chart or route map was also agreed to provide an overview of key milestones.

Communication and engagement strategy

MB presented slides to provide an overview of the draft Communication and Engagement Strategy (Paper 2).

Attendees discussed engagement with national and local politicians given the profile of the agenda. RH suggested engagement with SPICe.

The approach to communication and engagement with the general public was discussed. RH flagged a need to be open and interactive, and to ensure any comments on social media are responded to.  

Engagement with third sector organisations who collect data, such as Citizens Advice Scotland, was suggested.

The need to consider a range of ways to engage with the general public was flagged to ensure accessibility (e.g. digital exclusion among certain groups means that webpages/email/social media should not be the only means of engagement). RH agreed.

TO suggested adding SG policy professionals as a stakeholder group.

RH suggested that being proactive should be added as a principle within the Communications and Engagement Strategy, and highlighted a need to consider more proactive forms of communication.

SS flagged a need to consider stakeholder engagement within specific projects. Attendees agreed that this would be helpful to identify existing networks and meetings that the Project Board could proactively approach for input.

RH agreed and encouraged Project Board members to help with identifying existing communication channels – such as meetings and newsletters – that could be used for the purpose of communication and engagement.

AOB and close

RH thanked all for attending, and for their input in the meeting. No AOB raised.

Actions

  • SG to contact Audit Scotland to explore options for presenting at a Strategic Scrutiny Group meeting.
  • SG to consider the inclusion of actions to build skills and capability among policy professionals to increase the use of equality evidence to inform policy and delivery.
  • SG to consider other groups in existence that the EDIP could link in to, to ensure wider representation of protected characteristics and/or policy areas.
  • SG to consider widening the scope of the EBAG action to include the capability of policy officials and analysts to use evidence to engage in effective equality budgeting, and to be able to describe what ‘good’ looks like in the use of evidence/equality budgeting.
  • SG to include a statement on the gov.scot webpage to set out the governance arrangements for the EDIP.
  • SG to consider what success will look like at the end of the first phase of the EDIP.
  • SG to provide the Project Board with a Highlight Report setting out achievements, upcoming plans, risks and issues for consideration ahead of each meeting.
  • SG to explore options for producing a Gantt chart/routemap to provide a visual representation of plans and progress.
  • SG to revise the Communications and Engagement Strategy. This will be circulated in advance to attendees of the next meeting.
  • SG to consider plans for engagement within individual projects.
  • Project Board members to highlight existing communication channels, such as meetings and networks, that could be used for the purpose of EDIP communications and engagement.

PAPER 1 – Equality data improvement programme phase one: work plan overview

This paper provides an overview of the purpose and actions of the first phase of the Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP). An overview of progress against each action is provided in Annex A. A driver diagram setting out the links between programme aims and actions is provided in Annex B.

Overview

The purpose of the first phase of the programme is to focus on the process elements of equality data collection. The aims are to:

Build the knowledge and skills required to analyse, report and use equality data by:

a) Understanding the barriers to data collection, analysis and reporting.

b) Building immediate capacity through the sharing of evidence-based learning and good practise.

Increase the availability of robust equality datasets by:

a) Improving the accessibility, robustness and use of existing equality data.

b) Establishing new equality datasets to fill gaps.

c)  Undertaking domain-specific equality data improvements.

This preparatory work will lay the groundwork in allowing us to pull together an ambitious cross-professional data improvement plan for the future. The actions in the first phase will also inform the next iteration of the Equality Evidence Strategy in late 2022.

Many areas of the public sector, including different parts of the Scottish Government, are already doing a lot of work to improve their collection of equality data. It is worth reinforcing that often the most effective work will result from this type of action by policy makers, analysts and stakeholders, where there is concentrated focus on specific subject domains and protected characteristics (as specified in the Equality Act 2010). This work allows active prioritisation of the key service outcome issues which can, in turn, help drive and prioritise the data to be collected.

Mindful of the need for urgent improvements to critical data sets, this first phase of the EDIP will build on the work being taken forward by individual analytical areas to produce evidence, guidance, best practice and enhanced networks to improve data in the short term.

Establishing the role of equality data throughout the policy process

Equality data collection is necessary to improve understanding of if and how services and outcomes differ by protected characteristics. As shown in the diagram below, it is a cyclical process from identifying the purpose or need for a data collection, to designing an approach to collecting that data, to removing barriers to encourage a good response, to ensuring the data is high quality and utilised as fully as possible, to reporting according to useful categories which consider intersectionality and are relevant to services and outcomes, and finally to identifying the impact on outcomes and services.

It is clear that the EDIP should be seen as one part of a broader programme of mainstreaming equality and human rights within a public sector organisation. There needs to be good communication between data producers, policy makers and practitioners to ensure that improved data leads to improved outcomes. Service improvement can occur by motivated, trained and knowledgeable staff intervening and seeking best practice at any of the different points in the data cycle.

Policy making data cycle

Stage one: Identifying the purpose for data collection

Stage two: Equality data collection

Stage three: Response to equality data collection by service users and customers

Stage four: Data quality and analysis

Stage five: Reporting and communication of equality data

Stage six: Redesigning services and policies

Actions in phase one of the EDIP

Identifying purpose for data collections

In order to meet the legal duties set out in the Public Sector Equality Duty and the Scottish Specific Duties and to deliver good, fair outcomes, policy makers and practitioners need equality data. This data will help them to understand whether their services, policies and strategies are having differential impacts in terms of access, satisfaction and outcomes. This is as true for a locally delivered policy, strategy or service as it is for indicators in the National Performance Framework. However, not every item of data that policy makers would like to know can be collected, often because of technical, ethical or cost barriers. There is always a need be clear on what data is required - and why - to ensure that the right data is collected to meet the specified purpose, and to balance costs and benefits. Sometimes this will include considering whether a similar existing data collection can be adapted or utilised to help understand the service. It is usually much easier and cheaper to collect equality data if it is built into data collection systems from the start. As a new service is developed, the related IT system should be established to collect relevant equality data and, as services are redesigned to respond to equality data reporting, the data collection itself should be reviewed to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

Planned phase one actions:

  • Work alongside the Mainstreaming Equality and Human Rights team to provide guidance and/or training to help policy areas understand the range of data available to them and to identify the purpose for which they need equality data.
  • At a structural level this will include analysing individual or household-based NPF indicators to identify the extent to which breakdowns by each protected characteristic and relevant intersectionalities are available and, for each indicator, to set out a plan to either allow analysis of the existing indicator by protected characteristic or to identify an alternative means to provide evidence. As a result of this action, by the end of the first phase, all NPF indicators should have a published breakdown by protected characteristics or, where breakdowns are not provided, a clear statement setting out the reasons why.
  • Develop ‘standard 8’ of the Digital Scotland Service Standard to ensure that the revised version covers diversity monitoring to see that the data collection of this information is built into all digital services from the start.

Equality data collection

The Equality Evidence Strategy 2017-2021 describes the range of data collections currently available. Given that equality data tries to identify differences for small groups of the population, a Census or administrative data source is usually better than a sample survey. The most comprehensive equality data at national and local level can be obtained from the Population Census because it surveys everyone in the population collecting a range of equality and other data (although some of the equality data is voluntary). Unfortunately the 2011 Census is now substantially out of date and new data from the next Census (delayed until 2022 because of COVID-19) will not be available until 2024. However, there are also strong subject-specific administrative data sources. In most cases these data sources are locally held and can be analysed at that level, as well as being available for Scottish-wide statistics. 

Education, health and justice sectors have a wealth of administrative data that are available for local service providers to examine their service outcomes. These sectors are working to improve the range of equality breakdowns available in these data sources by improving data collection approaches or data analysis.

Key administrative data sources are owned by the UK Government, particularly Department of Work and Pensions administrative data on benefit receipt and HMRC’s data on income and tax. Neither of these administrative data sources currently hold equality data.

At a national level the Scottish population surveys (Health; Household; Crime and Justice) all have a common core that allows the samples across the population surveys to be combined for a limited number of Core questions. In addition the Annual Population Survey (APS) provides equality breakdowns of key labour market statistics. Equality-focussed sample boosts can help population surveys provide more robust data for smaller sub-groups in the population, although this practice has to be weighed against the robustness of a purely random sample.

However, for a lot of services, equality data needs to be collected from scratch or be redesigned. In this case there are two key areas for consideration:

  • designing appropriate methodologies and instruments for data collection including question wording and setting (face-to-face, digital, self-completed or staff-completed). We usually recommend using Census questions, but this will depend on the purpose and setting for asking questions. Specific issues arise around definitions of sex and gender; capturing the social (rather than the medical) definition of disability, capturing race data; and finding the balance between religion and ethnicity or cultural practice. In the vast majority of cases the question wording chosen needs to respond to the purpose of the data collection. It is critical to be clear on what question the data is to answer in order to identify the best form of data collection.
  • Data cleaning and data quality considerations. Very low response rates or poorly worded questions means that the data will be of little use in helping to shape services.

Prior to the commencement of the EDIP, independent research was commissioned by the Scottish Government to look at the current range of equality data collection by public sector bodies, including identifying barriers to further collection. This research is a starting point to refine a series of actions to improve the breadth and quality of equality data collection in the public sector, including by sharing good practice across networks. The report arising from this research was published in March 2021.

Planned phase one actions:

  • Commission the production of case studies to showcase good practice in equality data collection in the public sector, based on findings from the recently concluded Public sector – understanding equality data collection project.
  • Update guidance on data collection and question wording to be used for collecting equality data.
  • Ongoing engagement with Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence, which has been established with a range of key partners and stakeholders to drive improvements for that domain.
  • As a result of COVID-19, the expert reference group on COVID-19 and ethnicity was established. This group focussed mainly on health data and provided recommendations in November 2020. This is ongoing work led by the Health Improvement Team.
  • As part of Housing to 2040, analysts are looking across the housing system at current data gaps and improvements.
  • Participate in ONS’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to seek improved collection and reporting of equality data in UK administrative data such as that from DWP and HMRC. Also to ensure that we are learning from and considering best practice at UK level and from the other devolved governments.
  • Produce new equalities data through the secure linkage of data from Scottish public bodies on protected characteristics from the 2010 Equality Act to understand the effect of services on people with different protected characteristics. The aim of this project is to develop as complete a picture of the protected characteristics across the Scottish population as possible using existing administrative and Census data. The dataset would be available in the National Data Safe Haven.

Response to equality data collection by service users

Inserting questions into surveys and administrative data collections is one aspect of data collection. The other is to ensure and encourage a good response rate to questions in order to collect a robust number of responses to analyse. For this to happen, there is a need to convince the public that providing such information is worthwhile. Equality questions can involve people divulging sensitive personal information so understandably some people are reluctant to provide answers. For example, people may be reluctant or feel sensitive about declaring their sexual orientation, trans status or religion due to fears of discrimination or harassment or feelings that the data is irrelevant to the service. Many people will have a severe distrust of public bodies’ ability to store their data securely and use it only for the purposes stated. While there appears to be public distrust of large data linkage systems, the lack of join up nationally and locally between data sources and collections means that the same questions need to be asked and answered again and again, increasing respondent burden further.

It may be that if public bodies are sensitive to these concerns, seek to link collections safely and manage the response issues in a safe and supportive way, that response rates will increase along with the quality and validity of the data. Seeing data collection lead to specific improvement is also likely to increase response.

Planned phase one actions:

  • Commission independent research with people with lived experience of holding different and intersecting protected characteristics to explore response issues, to investigate fears and to understand what positive messaging would help reduce fears and encourage participation in surveys etc.
  • Based on the findings of action 11, develop best practice guidance to help public sector data collectors to improve their response rate.

Data quality and analysis

While administrative data sources with a good response rate may be able to provide service-level information by protected characteristics and intersectionalities, it will always be more difficult with population surveys. However, there are various analytical statistical techniques (for example combining years, imputing data, data linkage) that might allow data to be mined better than it is at present. Some of these techniques may not create plausible robust results until the 2022 Census is available but approaches can be tested and trialled on the 2011 Census data. It is also important to quality assure data and this can be difficult for protected characteristics but data should be checked for consistency and to ensure that individual cases are not disclosive.

Planned phase one actions:

  • Run workshops to discuss best practice in analysing protected characteristics, initially for Scottish Government analysts and then wider public sector analysts. The initial event will be for analysts to discuss how they have sought to use data in interesting ways to be able to report on race data but, if successful, similar events will be held for other protected characteristics.
  • Undertake an intersectionalities project, including literature review of what is meant by intersectionalities and how the concept of overlapping/interconnected protected characteristics can be utilised when analysing data. For example, we know that employment participation rates are lower for minority ethnic communities than for White Scottish/British; we also know that employment participation is lower for women than men. A minority ethnic woman is likely to feel a cumulative discrimination that is over and above responding to sex or race alone. This project would also include examination of data sets to identify what can currently be said about key structural intersectionalities and ways in which evidence gaps can be captured through both qualitative and quantitative data. If this project does not produce innovative ideas or identify key structural intersectional inequality a competitive commission will be undertaken to seek good practice ideas from academia or international bodies.

Reporting and communication of equality data

Once data is clean, quality assured, analysed and ready for reporting there can still be some issues to overcome. Included in this would be the categories that can or should be reported; the labelling used; acceptable confidence intervals, disclosure issues and presentation in a range of easy to understand accessible formats. The Equality Evidence Finder provides a central repository for equality data. It has been improved recently to produce interactive charts and better access to data as well as improving the updating process to make data more relevant. However, we know that there is still room for improvement and that it is important to consider a range of accessible formats and presenting data and charts in a range of formats which can be challenging.

Planned phase one actions:

  • Continue to update the Equality Evidence Finder (EEF) and liaise with users to ensure the EEF meets needs as demand for this data increases and seek ongoing improvements.
  • Run training workshops (linked to action 13) to discuss and showcase good practice approaches and accessible presentation methods. This can build on good practice and ongoing training events already being led by the NRS team and the Scottish Household Survey team.

Redesigning service and policies

Once data is available in a visually attractive, easy to understand, accessible format, it should be much easier for service providers and service users to understand issues and to improve outcomes. Public sector bodies are accountable for using data and evidence effectively to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act. Within the Scottish Government, good data should drive service and policy improvements and lead policy and practice teams to refine the data questions to seek further information. The same will be the case for other public sector providers.

This will be a key part of the updated Scottish Government Equality and Human Rights Mainstreaming Strategy and activity as well as the review of the operation of the Public Sector Equality Duty (including a review of the effectiveness of the Scottish Specific Duties) being developed during 2021.

Planned phase one actions:

  • Working with Equality Unit and equality networks identify and develop case studies of how improved equality data has led to changes in service outcomes from across the public sector. This will be ongoing throughout the 18 month period as part of the Mainstreaming Strategy. It should increase the motivation to improve data and to help to increase the impact of data.
  • Working with Equality Budget Advisory Group ensure that equality data on impact is built into budget processes.

Preparing for the next iteration of the equality evidence strategy

The actions undertaken will inform the next iteration of the Equality Evidence and second phase of the EDIP. In addition, a network of analysts from each analytical area within the Scottish Government will be established to take forward a series of actions over the next 18 months, including:

  • Commit to promoting this with staff and agencies.
  • Carry out an audit of current equality data, including a RAG rating by each protected characteristic.
  • Based on the outcome of the audit, develop an action plan to improve equality data in their area.
  • Ensure equality issues are part of any new analysis.
  • Help with the Equality Evidence Finder.
  • Work with the data linkage project on equality data (action 10 above).

ANNEX A – Summary and progress of work plan actions

Action

 

Progress at w/c 12 July 2021

Identifying the purpose for data collection

Work alongside the Mainstreaming Equality and Human Rights team to provide guidance and/or training to help policy areas understand the range of data available to them and to identify the purpose for which they need equality data.

Ongoing. This will be undertaken through the first phase of the EDIP as part of the Mainstreaming Strategy.

Analyse individual or household based NPF indicators to identify the extent to which equality breakdowns are available and for each indicator set out a plan to either allow analysis of the existing indicator by protected characteristic or to identify an alternative means to provide evidence.

Equality breakdowns are now available for some NPF indicators. Work to ensure all indicators have published breakdowns will be commenced in late 2021.

Develop ‘standard 8’ of the Digital Scotland Service Standard to ensure that the revised version covers diversity monitoring to see that the data collection of this information is built into all digital services from the start.

Underway. Due to conclude by 23 July with the publication of guidance.

Equality data collection

Commission the production of case studies to showcase good practice in equality data collection in the public sector, based on findings from the recently concluded Public sector – understanding equality data collection commission.

Underway. This work has been commissioned and the contractors have provided the first draft of the case studies. It is anticipated that the final case studies will be published by the end of October 2021.

Update guidance on data collection and question wording to be used for collecting equality data.

Underway. Scottish Government analysts are currently updating guidance on data collection and question wording for disability and ethnicity.

 

Sex/gender guidance is being produced as part of work being carried out by the Chief Statistician.

 

It is anticipated that updated guidance for all protected characteristics will be published by late 2021.

Ongoing engagement with Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence, which has been established with a range of key partners and stakeholders to drive improvements for that domain.

Ongoing.

As a result of COVID-19, the expert reference group on COVID-19 and ethnicity was established. This group focussed mainly on health data and provided recommendations in November 2020. This is ongoing work led by the Health Improvement Team.

Ongoing.

As part of Housing to 2040, analysts are looking across the housing system at current data gaps and improvements.

The Scottish Government published a Housing needs of minority ethnic groups: evidence review in January 2021.

 

A Housing to 2040: equalities position statement was published in March 2021.

Participate in ONS’ Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to seek improved collection and reporting of equality data in UK administrative data such as that from DWP and HMRC. Also to ensure that we are learning from and considering best practice at UK level and from the other devolved governments.

Ongoing through SG attendance at ONS meetings.

Produce new equalities datasets through the secure linkage of data from Scottish public bodies on protected characteristics.

Underway.

Response to equality data collection by service users / customers

Commission independent research with people with lived experience of holding different and intersecting protected characteristics to explore response issues, to investigate fears and to understand what positive messaging would help reduce fears and encourage participation in surveys etc. Will probably require a research budget because this work would best be undertaken by representative stakeholder bodies.

Not yet started.

Develop best practice, guidance and if necessary legislation to help public sector data collectors to improve their response rate.

Not yet started (depends on outputs from the research.)

Data quality and analysis

Run workshops to discuss best practice in analysing protected characteristics for public sector analysts.

Underway. The first workshop for SG analysts on race analysis scheduled for 22 July. Further workshops will be scheduled for wider public sector analysts and to cover other protected characteristics.

Undertake an intersectionalities project which will include literature review of what is meant by intersectionalities and how the concept of overlapping/interconnected protected characteristics can be utilised when analysing data. Additional research may be commissioned, where gaps are identified.

Literature review is currently underway. Key findings from the literature review are expected to be complete by early October 2021.

 

An intern is currently being sought to undertake further work relating to the intersectionalities project in Autumn 2021.

Reporting of equality data

Continue to update the Equality Evidence Finder (EEF) and liaise with users to ensure the EEF meets needs as demand for equality data increases and seek ongoing improvements.

An intern is currently in post until September 2021 to undertake improvements and updates to the Equality Evidence Finder.

 

Further analysis of a user engagement survey will be conducted.

Run workshops to discuss and showcase good practice approaches and accessible presentation methods of equality data.

Not yet started.

Redesigning services and policies

Identify and develop case studies of how improved equality data has led to changes in service outcomes from across the public sector.

Not yet started.

Working with the Equality Budget Advisory Group (EBAG) to ensure that equality data on impact is built into budget processes.

Ongoing. EBAG have provided recommendations to Ministers. It is anticipated that these will be published on the EBAG webpage by end of July.

ANNEX B - Equality data improvement programme drivers

Programme aims

Themes

Actions

Links to policy-making cycle

Build the knowledge and skills required to analyse, report and use equality data

Understanding the barriers to data collection, analysis and reporting

Commission independent research with people with lived experience of holding different and intersecting protected characteristics to explore response issues, to investigate fears and to understand what positive messaging would help reduce fears and encourage participation in surveys.

Response to equality data collection by service users / customers

Building immediate capacity through the sharing of evidence-based learning and good practice

Provide guidance and/or training to help policy areas understand the range of data available to them and to identify the purpose for which they need equality data.

Identifying the purpose for data collection

Develop ‘standard 8’ of the Digital Scotland Service Standard to ensure that the revised version covers diversity monitoringto see that the data collection of this information is built into all digital services from the start.

Identifying the purpose for data collection

Commission the production of case studies to showcase good practice in equality data collection in the public sector, based on findings from the recently concluded Public sector –understanding equality data collection project.

Equality data collection

Update guidance on data collection and question wording to be used for collecting equality data.

Equality data collection

Develop best practice guidance to help public sector data collectors to improve their response rates.

Response to equality data collection by service users / customers

Run workshops to discuss and share best practice in analysing and presenting equality data.

Data quality and analysis and Reporting and communication of equality data

Identify and develop case studies of how improved equality data has led to changes in service outcomes from across the public sector.

Redesigning services and policies

 

Participate in ONS’ Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to seek improved collection and reporting of equality data in UK administrative data such as that from DWP and HMRC. Also to ensure that we are learning from and considering best practice at UK level and from the other devolved governments.

Equality data collection

Increase the availability of robust equality datasets

Improving the accessibility, robustness and use of existing equality data

Analyse individual or household-based NPF indicators to identify the extent to which equality breakdowns are available and for each indicator set out a plan to either allow analysis of the existing indicator by protected characteristic or to identify an alternative means to provide evidence.

Identifying the purpose for data collection

Continue to update the Equality Evidence Finder (EEF) and liaise with users to ensure the EEF meets needs as demand for equality data increases and seek ongoing improvements.

Reporting and communication of equality data

 

Review literature on what is meant by intersectionalities and how the concept of overlapping/interconnected protected characteristics can be utilised when analysing data.

Data quality and analysis

Establishing new equality datasets to fill gaps

Produce new equalities datasets through the secure linkage of data from Scottish public bodies on protected characteristics from the 2010 Equality Act to understand the effect of services on different people with different protected characteristics.

Equality data collection

Undertaking domain-specific equality data improvements

Working with the Equality Budget Advisory Group to ensure that equality data on impact is built into budget processes.

Redesigning services and policies

 

Ongoing engagement with Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence, which has been established with a range of key partners and stakeholders to drive improvements for that domain.

Equality data collection

As a result of COVID-19, the expert reference group on COVID-19 and ethnicity was established. This group focussed mainly on health data and provided recommendations in November 2020. This is ongoing work led by the Health Improvement Team.

Equality data collection

Equality data improvements as part of Housing to 2040.

Equality data collection

PAPER 2 – Equality data improvement programme phase one: draft stakeholder communications and engagement plan

Objectives

The key objectives of communications and engagement in relation to the first phase of the EDIP are:

  • To engage with and gather input from a wide range of stakeholders to inform the implementation of the first phase of the EDIP and the development of next iteration of the Equality Evidence Strategy.
  • To ensure that projects within the EDIP are informed by the views and expertise of those with knowledge of equality data collection, analysis, presentation and use.
  • To ensure the views of people with lived experience of wide ranging protected characteristics and intersectionalities (“experts through experience”) are gathered and used to inform the approach to sharing learning and good practice.
  • To ensure strong linkage with wider work programmes and groups across the public sector to mainstream equalities.

Principles for communications and engagement

In undertaking communication and engagement activities related to the EDIP, the following principles will be applied:

  • Collaboration – We will support the effective and efficient sharing of information and gathering of input across the public sector, including through the establishment of a Project Board, and through the regular hosting of information sharing workshops and events.
  • Openness – We will share key documentation and regular updates related to the programme on a dedicated webpage on the gov.scot website and significant updates via social media.
  • Accessibility – We will place a strong emphasis on ensuring that all outputs from the programme are accessible to a range of audiences.
  • Inclusivity – We will ensure that the views of experts through experience, and the organisations and networks representing a range of protected characteristics, are sought and used to shape the programme.
  • Integrity – We will ensure that all outputs from the programme are high quality and robust.

Stakeholder mapping exercise 

The Project Board brings together stakeholders from a range of public sector organisations with an interest in mainstreaming equalities and equality data improvement, with representatives from the Scottish Government. The Board will engage with wider stakeholder views as part of its work, and have initially identified the following stakeholders:

Stakeholder

Interest

Current Engagement

Public sector bodies

Collectors and users of equality data. Will be the focus of actions to share good practice and learning, and their input will be required to disseminate key outputs and ensure join up with ongoing work across the public sector.

Representatives from public sector bodies with a key interest in mainstreaming equalities will be invited to join the Project Board.

 

Representatives from public sector bodies will be invited to attend workshops, consultation events and information sharing sessions, where relevant.

Academics and data experts

May wish to share expertise  on data collection, analysis and presentation.

 

Input may be sought from academics and data experts.

The Project Board will write to selected academics and experts to arrange a meeting, where a need for input is identified.

Data owners

May be asked to share datasets or information about the datasets they own on a voluntary basis.

Data owners will be contacted by officials where their input would be helpful.

Experts by experience 

May wish to share their experience and ensure that this is taken into account.

 

Their views will be sought to inform the development of the programme including ongoing and future priorities, and ensure best practice guidance reflects the experience and expertise of people with a range of protected characteristics and intersectionalities.

Experts by experience can provide input on the programme in writing to social-justice-analysis@gov.scot

 

Input will be sought in a project-specific basis to ensure their anonymised contribution is sought on key issues, and is coordinated in way to ensure the same groups are not overburdened.

Organisations and networks representing protected characteristics

May wish to express their views and ensure these are taken into account with respect to the protected characteristic they represent.

 

Input from stakeholder organisations will be sought on a project-specific basis, especially as the programme moves towards developing a new equality evidence strategy and an accompanying equality evidence programme for the period 2022-2025.

 

Stakeholder organisations can provide input on the programme in writing to social-justice-analysis@gov.scot

 

The Project Board will contact stakeholder organisations, where a need for input would be helpful.

 

Regulatory and scrutiny bodies

May wish to provide their views on what equality data is collected and how it is used.

Regulatory and scrutiny bodies will be contacted, where a need for input would be helpful. 

 

The membership of the Project Board will be kept under review, and invitations will be extended to relevant organisations where a need for contribution would be helpful.

 

Scottish Government analysts

Will be required to contribute to data development actions, and will be the focus of actions to share good practice and learning.

A network of lead analysts from each analytical area will be established to support communications and engagement across the Scottish Government.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Government Equalities Office (GEO)

Shared interest in equality data improvement, and are undertaking parallel work programmes around improving equality evidence.

Scottish Government analysts will provide regular updates to officials from ONS and GEO and seek their input where a need for contribution would be helpful.

The general public

May want to express their views and ensure these are taken into account.

A dedicated webpage on the gov.scot website has been set up to publish key documentation and regular updates.

 

Twitter will be also used to share significant updates via @EqualityPoverty

 

Members of the public can also provide input on the programme in writing to social-justice-analysis@gov.scot

What we already know

The Scottish Government has recently engaged, and is currently engaging, with a number of stakeholder groups on equality data improvement, including through the:

A number of views and recommendations have been provided through these groups around equality evidence. The engagements with stakeholders through the EDIP will build on views and recommendations already gathered.

Ongoing communications

As the EDIP develops, it is possible that new stakeholders will be identified and their interests may change over time. Consequently, the strategy for engaging with stakeholders will be reviewed regularly through the first phase of the programme.

The Project Board has established a web presence, with a page on the gov.scot website. The webpage is accessible here: Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP) project board - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

The webpage will be used to share:

  • Key documentation related to the programme, including an indicative work plan.
  • Project Board membership.
  • Project Board Terms of Reference and a minute of meetings.
  • Quarterly progress updates.

Scottish Government officials will also share significant updates via the @EqualityPoverty Twitter account. Officials are also raising awareness of the programme through a series of presentations to internal and external analysts. In addition, a network of analysts from each analytical area within the Scottish Government has been established to support the programme and disseminate key outputs.

The Board will need to engage with wider stakeholders to consider their views and input on projects as they develop. It will be important to ensure timely and regular engagement with stakeholders, and that projects are clearly communicated and practical implications for public bodies are highlighted. Stakeholder input will also be critical to identify gaps in the programme and within projects, and links with ongoing work. To achieve this, the Project Board:

  • Invites stakeholder input on any published material on the gov.scot web page or requests for additional information in writing to social-justice-analysis@gov.scot.
  • Will proactively contact identified stakeholders where a need for input would be helpful.
  • Will engage in a period of extensive stakeholder engagement as the programme moves towards developing a new equality evidence strategy and an accompanying equality evidence programme for the period 2022-2025, commencing in Spring/Summer 2022.

Sensitivities

The EDIP is expected to be of relevance to a range of public sector bodies, and will be of interest to stakeholder organisations representing protected characteristics. There is a high risk that the programme does not meet the expectations of all stakeholders who are looking for significant data development across a range of diverse areas including increased mandatory powers. The communication strategy needs to articulate the importance of ensuring a strong groundwork for equality data collection and then the establishment of agreed priorities for data development around core themes. An open government approach will be taken to ensure key outputs and regular updates are shared.