Publication - Minutes

Sex and Gender in Data working group meeting: March 2020

Published: 10 Mar 2020
Date of meeting: 5 Mar 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 5 March 2020.

10 Mar 2020
Sex and Gender in Data working group meeting: March 2020

Attendees and apologies


  • Roger Halliday (RH)  
  • Elaine Strange (ES) 
  • Simon Cameron (SC) 
  • Sean Stronach (SeS) 
  • Simon Stockwell (SSt) 
  • Jon Hunter (JH) 
  • Sarah Munro (SM) 
  • Anneli Lyon (AL) 
  • Poppy Wilson (PW) (Secretariat) 
  • Eliza Swinn (ES) 


  • Mark Hollinsworth 
  • Matthew Maycock 
  • Michelle Monkman

Items and actions

Welcome and review of actions from last meeting

RH welcomed attendees to the meeting, and invited introductions around the table and on the phone. Minutes from the previous meeting on 20 January were reviewed and agreed.  

Feedback from public engagement events

The aim of the events was to facilitate a respectful discussion on what the working group has learnt so far, and to inform the proposal that is being developed. 

These events took place in Glasgow and Edinburgh (11th and 17th February, respectively), with nearly 40 people (academics, members of the public and representatives from public sector organisations) who had expressed an interest and registered on Eventbrite taking part in facilitated roundtable discussions about sex and gender in data.  

There were a number of consistent themes raised by people across the events, including:

  • public bodies being clear about the purpose of collecting the data and how it will be used
  • the need for clear definitions, simple language, and standardised questions with accompanying guidance
  • collecting disaggregated data in order to highlight if there are inequalities between men and women generally which need to be tackled
  • that there are different circumstances where information on sex, gender and the trans population is needed by public sector bodies
  • in a small number of circumstances it may be necessary, proportionate and reasonable to ask about aspects of people’s biology as these relate to sex
  • importance of people being trained to ask questions in a sensitive and respectful way
  • and, being able to maintain privacy and confidentiality of people who provide their data  

The atmosphere at the public events was constructive and people engaged respectfully during the roundtable activities.  

This is an important part of the work, and aims to make sure that the working group’s proposals are informed by evidence from a wide range of individuals and organisations with views on and lived experience of these issues. 

Discussion of developing draft guidance

RH reflected on what he has heard from the public events, the working group, and from the stakeholder organisations he met and who shared views and evidence, and is working to put together a first draft of the guidance.

Members around the table and on the phone were invited to share their comments and views on putting together the guidance. 

The intention is to seek feedback on the draft from those who have already shown an interest in this work, and remains to provide advice to Ministers in late Spring. 

AOB and next steps

RH thanked all for attending, and for their input to the meeting. Next meeting is expected to be in April 2020.