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.

Draft Improvement Plan


Following an internal audit, carried out in autumn 2021, of key datasets used by all ministerial portfolios across the Scottish Government and National Records of Scotland (NRS), officials identified improvement actions covering data on a range of equality variables, including the nine protected characteristics, for stakeholder feedback. With the completion of the draft improvement plan, it is now a timely opportunity to take stock of the proposed actions contained within and to gather your feedback.

Within the draft improvement plan, we use the term 'equality variables' to refer to data on age, disability, race/ethnicity, sex/gender, religion, sexual orientation, transgender status, pregnancy and maternity, and marriage and civil partnership, plus "intersections" between these characteristics (e.g. younger women; minority ethnic disabled people; older trans people etc.). Sometimes what is collected in data (e.g. ethnicity, gender) differs from the wording in the Equality Act 2010 (e.g. race, sex).

We recognise that there are currently inconsistencies in the collection of data on sex and gender across the public sector in Scotland. The Chief Statistician sought to address this and his working group concluded and published new guidance for public sector bodies in September 2021. It is recommended that public bodies implement this guidance where practicable. This guidance has been used to inform the proposed actions in the draft improvement plan.

To identify improvement actions, officials took into account a range of factors, including already known pressures to improve relevant equality data and known user need, alongside available resources, to ensure that the plan is achievable yet ambitious. The proposed actions cover both new planned improvement activities and activities already in progress with a future completion date.

The plans cover both shorter-term actions that could be completed by the end of the first phase of the EDIP in December 2022, and longer-term actions that could be completed by December 2025. The shorter-term actions contained within these plans include making available equality data that is collected but not yet analysed or published or pooling together data to carry out multi-year analysis. Longer-term actions contained within these plans include collecting and developing new equality datasets which can often be more costly and time consuming. For example, working with data providers to expand and improve data collections systems.

These draft improvement plans will form a key part of Scotland's Equality Evidence Strategy 2023-25 and therefore it is important that stakeholders are given the opportunity to shape them, and to suggest new actions for inclusion that have not been identified by the Scottish Government.

The main aim of this consultation is to collect views from key stakeholders on the Scottish Government's draft improvement plan, as set out in tabular form later in this document. The consultation questions are designed to gather views to help develop and shape the actions – this will then be fed back to the relevant Scottish Government and NRS analysts for review. Any changes to the actions or the addition of new actions should be proportionate, deliverable and take a careful account of resources within analytical areas. Analysts will take these factors into consideration when reviewing the feedback received through this consultation. There is also an opportunity to feed in to the overall vision and highlight areas not covered in the list of actions put forward. We are aware that we may receive differing views on the proposed actions through this written consultation. We will consider all feedback received when making revisions to the draft improvement plan.

Improvement Criteria

The actions outlined in the table below show a range of different types of planned analytical activity aimed at improving Scotland's equality evidence base. These data sets and improvement activities were chosen by analysts following the internal equality data audit and were based on the following set of criteria.

The Scottish Government and NRS sought to identify equality data improvement actions that are challenging but achievable (particularly taking into account available resources) and where there were:

  • Already known pressures to improve equality data within the portfolio area.
  • Known evidence gaps, including those highlighted by external stakeholders or policy makers.
  • Relevance and a clear user need for the data, i.e. consideration of which equality variables would be relevant to implementation or evaluation of policies or measuring service delivery.
  • Likely to be the resources required to make improvements.

Summary of Improvement Plans

The list of actions that follow demonstrate the ambition of the Scottish Government and NRS to improve the equality evidence base across a range of themes.

These improvement actions are wide-ranging and cover all parts of the data cycle, from engaging with users about their needs around data collection right through to strengthening analysis and reporting. Some common themes have emerged from the actions, which are summarised below.

Across the actions, we are committing to:

  • Work with data providers to improve the completeness of the equality data they have access to for analysis. We have recognised the benefit of working with data suppliers to improve the breadth, quality and granularity of data held on systems. There is also commitment to improve consistency of the variables collected and bring them in line with the Census 2022. Some areas are planning on carry out scoping exercises to assess the quality of the equality data collected by data suppliers and determine gaps.
  • Improve data utility. Several methods were put forward that were designed to improve the quality of the data and increase sample sizes for better analysis. These included data pooling, i.e. combining multiple years' worth of data to gain a larger number of records so that analysis can be carried out and broken down by smaller equality groups. Data utility can also be improved by data linkage and some analytical areas intend to combine their own data with the population census.
  • Producing more detailed analysis of data already collected. For example, expanding the range of characteristics in publications and including additional tables showing breakdowns by equality characteristics not previously collected.
  • Carry out new analysis of powerful data sources, such as the Census, where new data is expected to come on stream. Where the dataset has larger sample sizes, there is also scope for new intersectional equality analysis and some analytical areas intend to carry this out.

Proposed Actions to Improve the Equality Evidence Base

The following sets out, in tabular form, the actions identified by the Scottish Government and NRS across a number of key themes. These actions cover improvements to the data on a range of equality variables, including all nine of the protected characteristics, and improvements are within a timeframe until the end of 2025. We would like to gain your feedback on these actions through this consultation exercise.


Three datasets used by education officials were identified through the equality data audit for inclusion in the draft improvement plan. It should be noted that many of their statistical outputs are based on data collected from large-scale data collections, such as the teacher, school staff and pupil censuses. These data collections rely on local authorities and there is currently no resource available for expansion. Some data collections have been redeveloped recently and so there is insufficient resource to make further changes, whilst others are based on small populations, which limits the scope for data disaggregation. We have also progressed some improvements to equality data availability over the past few months, including the presentation of subgroup analyses by gender and disability in the Life at age 14: initial findings from the Growing Up in Scotland study, published in February 2022.





Equality Variables


Looked after children

  • Work directly with data providers to improve the completeness of data collected on religion and publish statistics by religion, and 'Prefer not to say' option for data on sex, in line with recent Scottish Government guidance.
  • Improve the completeness of data collected on ethnicity and provide more disaggregated data by race/ethnicity.
  • Explore the development of more granular disability data.
  • Explore the development of data to be collected on trans status for looked after children aged 16+.

These are all longer-term actions, starting in late 2022.

Specific milestones for the development of disability data and possible data on sex and trans status:

  • November 2022: Engagement event to begin consultation on user need for each action.
  • Spring 2023: Draft specification of future data collection.
  • End July 2023: Final data specifications agreed by the Scottish Government and each local authority.
  • August 2024: Recording of new data begins in local authority social work management information (MI) systems.
  • August 2025: Data collection begins.

Milestones for the improvement of completeness of religion and ethnicity data:

  • May 2022: Liaise with local authority data providers to understand any recording issues and highlight uses made of this data.
  • August 2022: Data collection period for 2022-23 statistics begins, and any improvements to recoding introduced.
  • August 2023: Data collection begins.
  • Religion
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Sex


Child Protection

  • Work directly with data providers to improve the completeness of data collected on religion and provide more disaggregated statistics.
  • Improve the completeness of data collected on ethnicity and provide more disaggregated statistics in published tables and any future dashboard presentation of statistics, where currently only some headline statistics at a national level are disaggregated by ethnicity.
  • Explore the development of more granular disability data, to identify specific types of disability/specific health conditions.
  • Explore the development of data to be collected on trans status for older children, and 'Prefer not to say' option for data on sex, in line with recent Scottish Government guidance.

These are all long-term actions, starting in late 2022.

Specific milestones for the development of disability data and possible data on sex/gender and trans status:

  • November 2022: Engagement event to begin consultation on user need for each action.
  • Spring 2023: Draft specification of future data collection.
  • End July 2023: Final data specifications agreed by the Scottish Government and each local authority.
  • August 2024: Recording of new data begins in local authority social work MI systems.
  • August 2025: Data collection begins.

Milestones for the improvement of completeness of religion and ethnicity data.

  • May 2022: Liaise with local authority data providers to understand any recording issues and highlight uses made of this data.
  • August 2022: Data collection period for 2022-23 statistics begins, and any improvements to recoding introduced.
  • August 2023: Data collection begins.
  • Religion
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Sex


Growing Up in Scotland (GUS)

A: Include analysis of sex/gender and disability in reports produced by the Scottish Government.

B: Ensure that analysis disaggregated by key equality variables is conducted in any reports commissioned by the Scottish Government that use GUS data through inclusion in the specification of requirements used in any procurement exercises.

C: Ensure that future data collections include questions on characteristics, including adding a question about marriage to the Sweep 12 questionnaire – this will now be appropriate as the participants will be aged 20.

A: Spring 2024 (estimated) for the Life at Age 17 report.

B: Ongoing.

C: Sweep 12 questionnaire design is scheduled for 2023/24.

Will consider a range of equality variables, but sex/gender and disability in particular as they can be included in the Life at Age 17 report.


Justice officials have recently taken several initiatives to support analysis and evidence around people with protected characteristics. Principal among these is an investment in analytical capacity to support improvements to equality data and evidence through the creation of a new Equality and Justice Research team. This team will ensure a coordinated approach to identifying and progressing priority areas for equality analysis within justice including qualitative and quantitative research and statistics. The team will work with policy teams, partners and stakeholders across the justice system to ensure a broad range of people input into our equality research. The team will also engage in ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government Equality Analysis team, ensuring a joined up approach to equality analysis across the Scottish Government.

Justice analysts have recently been supporting a number of working groups with remits to improve equality data, including the Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence. Recent initiatives have been focused on race and sex.

Whilst justice analysts use the data collected as the basis for publication of Official Statistics and other analyses, they do not control the content of the datasets. Any improvements will largely be achieved through working with and supporting other organisations. As such, justice analysts' equality work relates less to the improvement of specific data sets, and instead focuses on working holistically with justice partners to drive improvements in the collection, reporting and analysis of equality data, supporting relevant working groups, and exploring the potential of qualitative and lived experience research, to better understand the experiences which lie behind the numbers.





Equality Variables



We will improve the consistency of ethnicity recording across Justice Organisations through adopting the 2022 Scottish Census Ethnicity Classifications.

We will check progress towards organisations achieving this action in early Summer 2022 and will report to the Justice Board on progress made.

  • Race/ethnicity



We will publish a compendium of ethnicity information as it relates to individuals who have been in contact with the justice system. It is intended this will also include ethnicity analysis from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) using a pooled sample of data from 2008/09 to 2019/20.

We will co-ordinate and publish the final compendium on the Scottish Government website in 2023.

  • Race/ethnicity


Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS)

We will undertake analysis of the SCJS by ethnicity using a pooled sample of SCJS data (from 2008/09 to 2019/20) to investigate how experiences and perceptions of crime may vary for people of different ethnicities in Scotland.

We plan to publish the final ethnicity analysis as part of the ethnicity compendium mentioned above, by end 2022/early 2023.

  • Race/ethnicity



We will undertake a series of equality "deep dive" research projects into specific aspects of criminal activity including on police recorded crime, cyber-crime and drugs analysis.

The "deep-dive" review of a random sample of police recorded crime from 2020/21 will result in a final report, due to be published in the autumn of 2022.

Cyber-crime analysis is due to be published in summer 2022, and drugs analysis later in 2022.

  • Disability
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Transgender identity


Police Scotland homicide data

We plan to request ethnicity data on crimes of homicide from Police Scotland from 2021/22 onwards for inclusion in the Homicide in Scotland publication.

We will explore the possibility of collecting historic ethnicity data (for the years prior to 2021/22) with Police Scotland.

Note: due to the relatively small number of homicide cases recorded each year, many of the published breakdowns use the preceding ten years' worth of data. It therefore may not be possible to publish this data until the 2030/31 bulletin.

  • Race/ethnicity

Social Security

Statistics on devolved benefits produced by Social Security Scotland provide information on the applications and payments for benefits in Scotland. While equality statistics are published for all current benefits where Social Security Scotland received an application, the likely volume of information will increase for disability and carer benefits, which are being launched in the next few years. The good practice in the collection and use of equality data undertaken by Social Security Scotland was set out in a recent case study. The need for increased intersectional breakdowns, and the interaction of disability status with other equality characteristics and variables relating to the application process and outcome, will result in a significant analytical requirement.





Equality Variables


Social Security Official Statistics (Social Security Scotland benefits)

Seven of the nine protected characteristics are currently collected (no data collected on pregnancy and maternity or on marriage and civil partnership).

  • By 2025, we will publish equality analysis of outcomes, and key process variables by disability category. This will be additional to existing high-level equality breakdowns of benefit outcomes currently published. An assessment will be undertaken during 2023 of the quality of data collected on Adult Disability Payment (benefit launched late in 2022), including the equality data, and the appropriate time to publish breakdowns for various category of disability.
  • An assessment will take place during 2023 of possible new intersectional analysis of low-income benefit award outcomes on the basis of cumulative data since benefit launch, leading to a revised intersectional analysis for publication by the end of 2024.

This will be undertaken in the longer time-scale – to end 2025 – due to the launch of Adult Disability Payment during 2022, the need to accumulate caseload on low-income benefits, and the need to assess the quality of data which is being collected.

All nine protected characteristics, with the exception of pregnancy/maternity and marriage/civil partnership.


Social Security Scotland Client Survey

  • During the course of 2022, the Analysis and Insight team will set out their plans for benefit-specific client surveys, and the initial round of related fieldwork. This will include surveys dedicated to Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment.
  • During 2023, a review will take place on the quality of the survey data that has been gathered in the above surveys, and to scope the possibility of producing equality breakdowns of new variables, and a projection for intersectional analysis from client survey data. At present, it is considered that there will be only a small likelihood of further breakdowns by refugee, trans, and sexual orientation, and this may also extend to some intersectional breakdowns.
  • By 2025, a cycle of reporting will be established that delivers this additional analysis. This is likely to include amendments to the annual report, and some benefit-specific reports on a less frequent basis.

Delivery of increased analysis will take place by 2025.

All of the nine protected characteristics, with the exception of pregnancy/maternity and marriage/civil partnership.


Scottish Welfare Fund

  • In July 2023, a client diversity report will be published that breaks down high-level indicators by equality characteristic already collected: age, disability, sex, religion and race. This will be part of the July 2023 annual update and will establish a yearly cycle of equality data on the Scottish Welfare Fund. Some analysis may take place in 2022, but the 2023 report will be pending any observations by the Review of the Scottish Welfare fund reporting in January 2023.
  • During 2023, consideration of the relevant aforementioned review recommendations for equality data for new data collections will take place, with a view to implement ahead of the 2024 annual update.

To commence in January 2023 with a view to conclude the improvement process by June 2024.

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Others tbc


The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is the official source for the income statistics used for poverty and income inequality analysis in Scotland. In general data is collected and published on a number of equality variables, including all protected characteristics apart from gender re-assignment. The Scottish Government will continue to provide equality analyses in response to user needs and engage in ongoing development.





Equality Variables


Family Resources Survey (FRS): Food security data

By 2025, we will publish enhanced analysis of the food security data collected in the FRS.

Exact timescales will depend on resolving data issues around the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and acquiring enough years' of robust data (probably not before 2025).

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Others tbc depending on available sample size


Various: poverty related surveys / associated analytical resources

The following actions are not solely focused on statistical data improvements. To improve the broader evidence base on poverty and disadvantage we will carry out a:

  • Scoping exercise to assess key gaps in users' awareness of existing information (both statistical and broader), and development of a minimum viable product to address this.
  • Scoping exercise to assess potential for further evidence synthesis/primary research and appropriate dissemination for diverse range of stakeholders.

These scoping exercises will initially be informed by responses to this consultation with further validation as required, milestones to be confirmed dependent on scope, delivery by 2025.

Equality variables affected by this action will depend on the outcome of the scoping exercises.


Equality analysts often carry out cross-cutting projects using data and evidence sources from across a range of ministerial portfolio areas to improve the collection, analysis and use of equality data, including through the EDIP.

Equality analysts are also working with colleagues on the Public Sector Equality Duty Review, which may have implications for equality data collection in the public sector.





Equality Variables


ONS Time Use Survey (OTUS)

This is a short-term action as the data has already been collected and the dataset is available to the Scottish Government.

The key deliverable will be a report published on the Scottish Government website by February 2023.

Dependent on a review of available sample size for sub-groups in the OTUS 2020 dataset but breakdowns by the following equality variables (and intersections between them) would be produced: gender, age, disability, ethnicity.


Scotland's Gender Equality Index

  • To reconvene an expert working group comprised of gender stakeholders and data analysts to support the next iteration of Scotland's Gender Equality Index.
  • Publish an updated version of Scotland's Gender Equality Index.

This is a longer-term action:

  • The advisory group will be reconvened by December 2022.
  • The next iteration of Scotland's Gender Equality Index will be published in December 2023.

Primarily gender, but where available and relevant, intersections between gender and other equality variables will be highlighted.


Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSAS) – Attitudes to Discrimination module

  • Gather data on public attitudes to discrimination in the SSAS.
  • Publish findings from the SSAS module on attitudes to discrimination in a Scottish Government report.

A report presenting findings from the SSAS module on attitudes to discrimination will be published by December 2025.

This module will gather data on attitudes towards the following equality variables: age, disability, sex/gender, race, religion, gender reassignment and sexual orientation.

Housing and Homelessness

Housing and homelessness analysts have identified the following actions to include in this improvement plan. It should be noted that many of their datasets do not include data about individuals or households and sometimes the scope for improvement is limited due to the dataset being owned outwith the Scottish Government. It should also be noted that some improvement activities are expected to take place beyond 2025. In addition, there have already been some recent improvements made to existing housing datasets. For example, the Housing Revenue Account Statistics recently included two new questions on the annual survey to ask about council income and expenditure on Gypsy/Traveller sites, with data being available in Autumn 2022.





Equality Variables


Homelessness data collections (HL1 and PREVENT1)

By 2025, work to consider the appropriateness and feasibility of gathering equality data via the HL1 and PREVENT1 collections will have concluded.

Agreement will be reached with data providers (i.e. local authorities) on the changes to be made, and there may be some progress made as to implementing these.

Exact timescales to implement cannot be known until there is a better understanding of the full extent of the changes required, and the lead in times to update the Scottish Government and data provider systems.

By the end of 2025, the full set of changes to all homelessness data collections will be known, having been worked through and agreed with data providers and stakeholders. An implementation plan will also have been produced.

All protected characteristics will be considered as part of the data review work, although the extent of this will depend on demand for, relevance and feasibility of collection.


Scotland's Census 2022 equality results: housing analysis

During the course of 2023, Scottish Government housing analysts will work with NRS to establish the range of equalities-based output tables that are already planned to be published as part of the Census 2022 output tables. We will also assess the additional analysis that would need to be produced, along with establishing an appropriate mechanism for analysis of the data, for example by obtaining secure access to the source data, or for additional output tables to be produced by NRS.

Subject to the feasibility of undertaking this approach, during 2024 to carry out the analysis of the Census equality data, focussing on a cross-tab/intersectionality approach looking at how dimensions of equality relate to results from other census questions, focusing on those on housing.

Publication of results by 2025.

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Trans status
  • Marriage/civil partnership
  • Sexual orientation
  • Country of birth
  • Long-term conditions
  • Long-term health problem or disability
  • Religion
  • Ethnic group

Health and Social Care

The data sources utilised by health officials within the Scottish Government have a mixture of ownership. Data owners include Public Health Scotland (PHS), the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland/NHS Scotland Education for Scotland, the Care Inspectorate and a further mix of public bodies, universities and private companies.

The Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland continue to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Expert Reference Group on COVID-19 and ethnicity (ERG). They also support a range of further equality-related activity, including a Racialised Health Inequality in Health and Social Care Steering Group, the Women's Health Plan, NHS Gender Identity Services Strategic Action Framework and a Primary Care Data and Intelligence oversight group.





Equality Variables


Health and Care Experience Survey

By the end of July 2022, produce cross-tabulations of headline survey results by equalities characteristic and publish them as additional analysis following the publication of the National Report (10 May 2022) where disclosure rules allow.

Carry out and publish a 'Variations in Experience' analysis using a generalised linear mixed model (GLMM) model to control for confounding factors within the data and publish the results by end-December 2022.

This analysis will examine the relationship between self-reported experiences of patients and a range of patient, GP practice and regional level characteristics.

We will use a statistical modelling technique to allow us to take into account all the available factors that have an effect on the likelihood of a patient reporting a positive experience.

By December 2022.

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sex/gender
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation


Primary Care Out of Hours Workforce Survey

A: Improve the data collected on age and gender by improving the completeness of responses, response numbers from 'opted-in' services and the introduction of age and sex/gender collection for all staff groups who are employed/ directly managed by out of hours services.

B: Investigate the potential introduction of new fields in dataset on ethnicity/race and disability, including exploration of linking data from other sources such as the GP In-hours survey and NHS Scotland Workforce data.

A: December 2024 to allow time for introduction to new survey.

B: December 2025 to allow time for engagement and exploration and information governance of data linkage.

A: Age and sex/gender.

B: Race/ethnicity and disability.


Various (data relating to women's health)

  • Review of existing data landscape to understand the current data available and identify gaps in data provision (complete).
  • Consultation with Scottish Government stakeholders to ascertain women's health data needs (ongoing).
  • Engagement with dataset owners to understand the availability of further Management Information and barriers to publication (ongoing).
  • Engagement with stakeholders and dataset owners to discuss possible data collection reforms to improve the quality and availability of data on women's health.
  • Negotiate and agree a data reform action plan with stakeholders and dataset owners.
  • Support implementation of the data reform action plan and track progress.

Start date – December 2021.

Estimated end date – December 2025.

Sex/gender – ideally with ability to gather intersectional data on other characteristics as required.


Primary Care (General Practice) Workforce Survey Scotland

A: Improve the quality of data collected on age and sex by improving response rates and exploring linkage to National Primary Care Clinician Database (NPCCD).

B: Investigate the quality of data collected on maternity leave.

C: Investigate the potential introduction of new fields in this dataset on ethnicity/race and disability.

A: December 2025 to allow time for data governance processes around linkage of datasets, if appropriate.

B: December 2023 so this can be explored both on existing datasets and for a new collection period.

C: December 2025 to allow time for engagement, first collection (expected poor quality) and then collection for second time.

A: Age and sex.

B: Pregnancy and maternity.

C: Ethnicity/race and disability.


Core Dataset for Tier 2 and Tier 3 Weight Management Services for Children/Young People and Adults in Scotland

A: Review existing dataset to identify:

(1) where additional fields are required;

(2) where options/values/guidance for existing fields needs to be revised and updated.

B: For each field identified in (1) above consult with stakeholders and subject matter experts to develop a proposal. Stakeholders include Scottish Government officials (Equalities, Diet & Health Weight Policy, Type 2 Diabetes / Weight Management Professional Advisers), PHS (data processor responsible for dataset analysis and reporting of national statistics) and expert reference group with representatives from NHS boards (data owner).

C: Consultation to allow mechanism for gathering feedback from data owners in NHS boards (Healthy Weight Leads).

D: Final revised dataset agreed (between the Scottish Government and PHS).

E: Specification of changes required to data collection system (IT system changes required).

F: IT system changes made – NES.

G: Dataset completion guidance updated and communicated to NHS boards.

H: NHS boards begin collecting improved equalities data using updated dataset.

I: Improved equalities data forms part of annual data collection, analysis and publication going forwards.

It is expected that actions A-E can begin in summer 2022 and be completed by end 2022/early 2023.

Timeline for IT system changes to be agreed with NES but anticipated to be during 2023 with target to begin data collection using revised dataset from October 2023 (analysis year for this data runs October – September).

On this timeline, first publication of revised data would therefore be late 2024/early 2025.

Age, disability, race (ethnicity), religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity.


Mental Health Inpatients Census (MHIC)

The MHIC is split into 3 parts:

  • Part 1 covers Mental Health and Learning Disability Inpatient Beds.
  • Part 2 covers Mental Health, Addiction and Learning Disability Patients: Out of NHS Scotland Placements Census.
  • Part 3 of the MHIC covers Hospital Based Complex Clinical Care and Long Stay patients.

The MHIC is in the process of being reviewed. The MHIC was paused in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for health boards to prioritise critical activities. The MHIC will run in its current form in April 2022. The Scottish Government is exploring new ways of collecting the information for the MHIC primarily to reduce the burden on health boards and to also examine what other data sources might be available to complement or replace parts of the MHIC. Alongside this, the content of the MHIC is also being reviewed to ensure that we are collecting the right data for users to meet their needs. As part of this work, we intent to expand the range of data that is collected to cover all nine of the protected characteristics if possible.

Improvement work to be completed by December 2025.

Work has already begun on reviewing and improving the MHIC. The review, which will be completed by the end of 2022, will inform options ahead of the 2022/23 census to be run in 2023.

Any improvements on data and survey content and the associated priorities for implementation will be in line with any stakeholder feedback and in parallel with any changes to data collection options that are available.

For parts 1 and 2, gender reassignment, religion/belief, sexual orientation.

For part 3, disability, gender reassignment, religion/belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership.


Transport Scotland have identified two relevant data collections through the internal Equality Data Audit for improvement, the transport components of the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) and Reported Road Casualties.





Equality Variables


Scottish Household Survey (SHS): Transport Components

We will consider whether we can include combined years analysis in our annual statistics publications (latest publication) where year-on-year analysis is not supported.

We will consider this improvement for the next publication of Travel and Transport in Scotland which is scheduled for publication later in 2022.

Those for which we lack robust year on year data or data at all on. This includes some categories of ethnicity and religion/belief data; sexual orientation; and gender reassignment.


STATS 19 – Reported Road Casualties

Transport Scotland to liaise with PHS to establish the viability of publishing ethnicity information for those receiving hospital care as a result of road traffic accidents, whether by Transport Scotland as part of their Reported Road Casualties publications, or through PHS.

Summer 2022: Engagement between Transport Scotland and Public Health Scotland.

Autumn/Winter 2022: Publication of ethnicity analysis.


Local Government

The majority of local government datasets are either aggregated at local authority level or have individual level records with only financial/non-person data.

The datasets used to inform the National Performance Framework Indicators (NPI) 'Quality of Public Services' and 'Influence Over Local Decisions' collect and currently publish a range of equality variables. The NPI Trust in Public Organisations dataset is currently in development and more information about planned equality data disaggregation can be found in the proposed action below.





Equality Variables


Scottish Household Survey (SHS) - Trust in Public Organisations – National Performance Framework Indicator

Publish the range of breakdowns as part of the next SHS data release (SHS 2021 data).

SHS 2021 data due to be published late 2022.

Age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion.

Labour Market and the Economy

Several of the datasets used by officials working on the economy, employability and the labour market capture statistical information about businesses in Scotland or the UK as a whole, including economic performance or outlook, rather than about individuals or households. As such, it is often not possible or appropriate to record sensitive equality information. For example, survey responses can be provided on behalf of a company by a representative who is not the business owner or a senior board member.

In addition, the availability of equality data for these datasets must be considered in the round rather than individually. Given that the same equality data can be obtained from different sources or surveys, it is often not necessary or cost-effective to try and capture equality information in every dataset.

Several of the economy and labour market datasets identified in the equality data audit are owned and maintained by UK Government departments or agencies, or by external organisations. The Scottish Government is working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and other partners to support existing improvement activity in relation to some of the datasets, including in relation to the collection, analysis and publication of equality data.

In addition to the ongoing work the Scottish Government participates in to support and improve the equality data in collections, including in relation to No One Left Behind, Fair Start Scotland, the Business Insights and Conditions Survey, and the Small Business Survey Scotland, the following action has been identified to enhance the analysis of the Annual Population Survey (APS).





Equality Variables


ONS Annual Population Survey (APS)

Further analysis and publication of equality data already collected.

The Scottish Government plans to publish detailed analysis of the minority ethnic population in the labour market in Scotland from the APS by the end of 2022. This analysis would include intersectional breakdowns of ethnicity by age, sex/gender and disability.

Plan to publish analysis by end of 2022.


Constitution, International and Migration

Constitution, International and Migration analysts cover a number of areas such as organisational readiness, governance and elections, the constitution, Open Government and Freedom of Information, European Union / Brexit, population and migration, international relations and development.

Three data collections for improvement are listed in the table below. Other data sets in this area were not selected for improvement due to a variety of reasons, including data not collected at an individual level and very small sample sizes.





Equality Variables


Scottish Household Survey (SHS) - Importance of Voting in Local Elections questions

  • The 2020 'importance of voting in local elections' data was published for the first time in January 2021. Due to the impact of the move from a face-to-face to a telephone survey in 2020 due to COVID-19, no comparisons were made with previous years in the 2020 report and the data was not broken down by equality variables.
  • When the 2022 data is available in 2023 an assessment will be made as to what is possible to publish given the sample sizes. The Scottish Government elections policy team will be consulted to see what would be useful. It should be possible to provide breakdowns by age, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. The general rule of thumb is that we don't publish breakdowns if the base is smaller than 50. However, even with bases of 50 or larger, the confidence intervals can be quite wide, and so the results need to be interpreted carefully.

This will be undertaken in the longer time-scale – in 2023, when the 2022 SHS report and data is published.

All nine protected characteristics except pregnancy and marital/civil partnership status.


Scottish Social Attitudes Survey: Attitudes to Government and Political Engagement

We will review what equality data is collected and published before the next core module runs. If the core module runs in 2022/2023 data would be published around Autumn 2023.

This will be undertaken in the longer time-scale – in 2023 or 2024 – when the 2022 or 2023 report and data is published.

Assess whether data on disability, race/ethnicity and gender reassignment could be published. Investigate whether we could collect and publish data on sexual orientation and marriage and civil partnership.


Diversity in Political Representation in Scotland: Data Improvement Project

The 2022 local government candidate diversity survey (2022 LGCDS) was carried out during the nomination period of the 2022 local government elections (March – April 2022).

All candidates standing for the election were asked to complete a non-mandatory survey asking questions on their demographic characteristics, previous experience and any caring responsibilities they may have.

Analysis of the data is underway.

This new data collection will take place in advance of the 2022 local

government elections using a non-mandatory questionnaire to collect

equality data at the candidate nomination stage, when all candidates (or their agents) are completing mandatory nomination papers.

Analysis of the data to begin following the results of the election in May 2022. High level analysis anticipated to be published in summer 2022 with a report and more detailed data tables to be published late 2022.

The following equality variables will be collected:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sex/gender
  • Gender reassignment
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation

Rural and Environment

The Agricultural Census team are aware that improvements need to be made to the

qualities data collected. Hence, they are reviewing all statistical publications within the team as part of a Transformation Programme and a component of this will be to address equalities issues. Any short-term improvements will be featured within the next iteration of the publication which is due to come out in 2023. They are also looking at alternative longer term options such as data linkage to the population census to help provide context around the farming community and inform policy and support provisions for farmers.





Equality Variables


June Agricultural Census

As part of the Scottish Government's agricultural statistics group's Transformation Programme, we are building a new product to replace the June Agricultural Census. Within this work we will improve timeliness, relevance and accuracy of data we will also improve how we report on equality data. The current route to these improvements are unknown however are likely to involve redesigning of questions and/ or in the future looking to data linkage with the population census.

The new product which will replace the June agricultural census will need to be delivered Summer 2023. The census team will not be producing any publications prior to this time. Longer-term plan of data linkage we would hope to achieve by 2025 if initial feasibility testing suggests this is possible.

Full scope unclear yet but will include age, marriage and civil partnership.

National Records of Scotland (NRS)

National Records of Scotland (NRS) is a Non-Ministerial Department of the Scottish Government. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and produce information about Scotland's people and history and make it available to inform current and future generations. It publishes statistics on – vital events (births, deaths and marriages), population & migration, households, and the Census.

In June 2022, NRS will add a table on civil partnerships by country of birth of parties to the Vital Events Reference Tables 2021 and it will also add an additional table on age of mother and/or father for stillbirths.

In addition it has identified the following key areas where it can improve the collection and publication of equality data.





Equality Variables


Scotland's Census 2022

Scotland's 2022 Census included questions on all characteristics previously included. Additionally, new census questions gathered information on the characteristics of sexual orientation and trans status/history.

The planning and delivery of the 2022 Census predates the development of this plan, including actions that we know will improve equalities data, but is ongoing through the period of the next Equality Evidence Strategy so is presented in this improvement plan.

Actions include:

  • Consultation and planning – gather feedback and review, then finalise plans.
  • Live Census collection.
  • Processing and quality assurance for the Census.
  • Producing outputs – National Stats Accreditation and UK Harmonisation.

2022 census outputs to be released over 2023-25.

Information on the Census release schedule can be found in the Scotland's Census 2022 Outputs Strategy.

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sex/gender
  • Religion or belief
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Sexual orientation
  • Trans status/history


Vital Events - Deaths

We will issue a revised version of the laminated card which Registrars show to the next of kin when asking about ethnicity of the deceased. This would provide a clearer explanation of the need for the question and how it should be answered.

We will reorder the sequence of questions to ask about ethnicity before country of birth to avoid the two answers being conflated.

Revise guidance to Registrars.

We are seeking confirmation from NRS Registration on details. Likely to be 2023 or later.

  • Race/ethnicity


Small Area Statistics on Households and Dwellings

2022-23: We will consult local authorities on the feasibility and cost of providing more granular data from their council tax billing systems on households with 'disregarded adults', in particular so that data on households with disabled adults can be separately identified within the statistics.

2023-24: Subject to confirmation from local authorities of the feasibility of providing data from their council tax billing systems on households with disabled adults, and the availability of funding for them to pay for any software upgrades necessary, trial and evaluate the extended data collection.

2024-25: Commence routine collection of data on households with disabled adults within the annual collection of data for the small area household estimates.

Timeline is detailed within the actions.

  • Disability


Email: equalityevidencestrategy@gov.scot

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