Data collection - protected characteristics: guidance - equality impact assessment

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) for guidance for public bodies on the collection of data related to age, disability, ethnic group, religion/belief and sexual orientation.

Equality Impact Assessment Record

Title of policy/ practice/ strategy/ legislation etc.: Protected Characteristics in Data Guidance

Minister: Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government/Minister for Equalities and Older People

Lead official: Jon Hunter

Officials involved in the EQIA:

Name: Dan Craig, Roanna Simpson, Liz Hawkins

Team: Equality Analysis

Directorate: Division: Team:

Housing and Social Justice,

Communities Analysis Division,

Equality Analysis Team

Is this new policy or revision to an existing policy?:

Revised policy – data on protected characteristics is already routinely collected by Public Bodies in Scotland


Policy Aim

The aims of producing guidance are:

  • to improve the collection of data about protected characteristics by public bodies in Scotland
  • to encourage the collection of data about protected characteristics by public bodies in Scotland
  • to support bodies to analyse and present this data more effectively
  • for this data to be used

This policy aims to bring the guidance in line with current methods for gathering and disseminating data on protected characteristics to enable organisations to develop better policy and services which deliver better and more equal outcomes. This includes highlighting the importance of disaggregation of data both along the lines of protected characteristics, and intersectionality with other socio-demographic characteristics (while preserving privacy), as intersectionality can give insight into the experiences of different groups in society, and how particular characteristics can combine to impact on an individual's experiences.

The guidance contributes to all National Outcomes in the sense that we need data on people with different protected characteristics to monitor performance against these Outcomes.

Who will it affect?

The policy may affect public bodies - i.e. the way that they collect data from people, what data is collected and published and how the questions are asked, however, as the guidance is not changing substantively, any effect is likely to be minimal. Because the guidance relates primarily to the collection of data about protected characteristics, all people are likely to be impacted.

What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?

Technology - existing systems used to collect data from people who use public services could be affected, though with the changes being minimal there should be little disruption to operations.

Buy in - there may be lack of buy in from public bodies and they may not have the resources to review their data collection systems. However, as the guidance is not substantively changing, there should be minimal impact on and investment required from public bodies. Data may be collected differently across organisations, which will limit options for data linkage and comparability, and therefore the wider utility of the data.



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