Equality evidence strategy 2023 to 2025: consultation paper

We are consulting on a draft plan to improve and strengthen Scotland’s equality evidence base. The responses we receive through this consultation will help to shape this plan, which will form the basis of Scotland’s new Equality Evidence Strategy.


Purpose of this Consultation

We are consulting on a draft plan to improve and strengthen Scotland's equality evidence base. The responses we receive through this consultation will help to shape this plan, which will form the basis of Scotland's new Equality Evidence Strategy.

The development of Scotland's next Equality Evidence Strategy, covering the years 2023 to 2025, will mark the conclusion of the first phase of the Scottish Government's Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP) that was launched in April 2021 and aimed to lay the groundwork in strengthening Scotland's equality evidence base. The EDIP, and in turn the new strategy, will enable policy makers to develop sound and inclusive policies to improve service delivery and outcomes for people in Scotland. The launch of the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25 will mark the commencement of the second phase of the EDIP, which will be a three year programme of implementing the actions set out in the improvement plan.

Equality Data Improvement: Progress to Date

The EDIP followed on from Scotland's previous Equality Evidence Strategy 2017-21, which set out a vision to make Scotland's equality evidence base more wide-ranging and robust, enabling national and local policy makers to develop sound, inclusive policy and measure the impact on all of Scotland's equality groups. Our aim is that the new Equality Evidence Strategy will re-examine key aspects, such as the vision and purpose, but this time will be accompanied by an equality data improvement plan that sets out key milestones and priorities to filling equality evidence gaps across a range of equality variables, including the nine protected characteristics defined under the Equality Act 2010, rather than just identifying them. It will also make clear the role of equality data in undertaking (ongoing) equality impact assessments (EQIAs) and service improvement.

The first phase of the EDIP is helping to build appropriate understanding and evidence to ensure that the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25 is based on a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities. It also allows time for the updated Mainstreaming Equality and Human Rights Strategy to be developed so that data improvement can align fully with this approach. The first phase of the EDIP, which is expected to conclude in December 2022, has two key aims:

  • Through the sharing of learning and good practice we aim to build the knowledge and skills required to analyse, report and use equality data across the Scottish Government and wider public sector. We are working to understand the barriers to equality data collection, analysis and reporting, as well as to build immediate capacity through the sharing of evidence-based learning and good practice.
  • Through data development we are seeking to increase the availability of robust equality datasets. We aim to improve the accessibility, robustness and use of existing equality data. We will also establish new equality datasets to fill gaps, and help undertake domain-specific equality data improvements.

This preparatory work has enabled us allow us to produce an ambitious cross-professional equality data improvement plan for the future.

Equality Data Improvement: Governance

The EDIP reports to the Minister for Equalities and Older People, and the first phase of the EDIP was proposed and agreed by Scottish ministers.

An EDIP Project Board has been established, chaired jointly by the Scottish Government's Chief Statistician and Chief Social Researcher. The Project Board brings together Scottish Government officials with representatives from a range of external partners with a key interest in mainstreaming equality.[1] Over the 18 month period of this phase of the programme, the Project Board is providing valuable support and strategic input into the design and delivery of projects, is supporting join-up across the public sector and is contributing to the identification of sources of practical expertise and guidance in equality data analysis. The EDIP Project Board provided vital input into the development of the stakeholder engagement approach, including this written consultation, that will inform the development of the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25.

An internal network of lead analysts from each analytical area in the Scottish Government has also been established. The network is undertaking a number of actions to deliver on the aims and ambitions of the first phase of the EDIP. The network has already completed an audit of equality data collected and published in key datasets used to produce official or national statistics, update National Performance Framework (NPF) indicators, and inform significant ministerial decision making. The results of this audit have been used to develop an action plan for equality data improvement in each analytical area across the Scottish Government and including National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Our Consultation

With the completion of the draft versions of improvement plans, it is now a timely opportunity to take stock of their content and to gather feedback. It is for this reason that we are consulting with users, potential users and providers of equality data through this written consultation. We have split the consultation into four sections:

  • Section 1: Seeks views on the vision for equality data improvement over the period 2023-25.
  • Section 2: Seeks views on the proposed improvement actions, including how these should be revised and prioritised, and any additional actions that should be considered for inclusion.
  • Section 3: Seeks to understand when and how equality evidence is used and any barriers faced.
  • Section 4: Seeks to understand who is producing equality evidence and any barriers faced.

Alongside the written consultation we are also planning stakeholder engagement events. These events will provide an opportunity to ask questions, raise any suggestions or ideas you may have and engage in informal discussion.

These events will be centred on key themes and issues arising from this consultation and are due to take place from August 2022 onwards. The goal will be to seek further detailed insight into areas of user interest to ensure that the improvement plans and proposed actions are comprehensive and challenging and that their implementation, throughout the period of the next Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25, will lead to more robust data to for more inclusive policy making.

This consultation builds on recent stakeholder engagement carried out by the Scottish Government on equality evidence and data, and is focussed specifically on shaping the overall vision and the specific actions for inclusion in the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25. The consultation sits within our wider planned approach to engaging with stakeholder organisations throughout the development of the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25.


Your responses to this consultation will be gathered and analysed to input directly into the development of the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25, of which the equality data improvement plan will be a central component. Our goal is to build on Scotland's Equality Evidence Strategy 2017-2021 to further strengthen equality data for policy making and service delivery in Scotland. This will include addressing gaps in the evidence base by developing our Equality Evidence Finder. By taking part in this consultation and in any ongoing engagement activity you will be playing a key role in helping us reach this goal.

It is our intention that the Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25 will be published by early 2023.

Key Dates

  • Consultation to be live on Citizen Space for 14 weeks: 1 July – 7 Oct 2022.
  • Engagement events will take place from August until December 2022.

Please see more details on our Citizen Space webpage.


Email: equalityevidencestrategy@gov.scot

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