Public sector - understanding equality data collection: main report
This research describes and explores the range of equality and socio-economic disadvantage data collected by public sector organisations. Findings offer insights into what works best in terms of collecting, utilising and safeguarding robust data, highlighting major barriers to its collection or use.
1. Scottish Government, National Performance Framework.
3. For the purpose of this research the term 'data collection' is restricted to quantitative data collected through surveys, equality monitoring forms or administrative processes.
4. From here onwards, the phrase 'equality data' is used to mean 'equality and socio-economic disadvantage data'.
5. Note that the Data Protection Act 2018 provides the current legal framework for the collecting and processing of personal data in the UK. This Act codifies into UK law the European Union's General Data Protection Legislation.
6. Specifically, Health and social care, Justice, Education and skills, and Employment, labour and welfare.
7. The nine (9) protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010 cover: age, religion and belief, race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, and gender reassignment.
8. The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) classifies small geographical areas (called 'data zones') based on information across seven domains: income, employment, education, health, access to services, crime and housing.
9. Office for Statistics Regulation, National Statistics.
10. An equality monitoring form is a self-contained set of equality questions that can be used in relation to a number of different processes or services.
11. Equality Act 2010.
12. The Act provides a range of protections for nine 'protected characteristics': age, religion and belief, race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, and gender reassignment.
13. The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012.
14. Scottish Government (2018) Fairer Scotland Duty: interim guidance for public bodies.
15. Scottish Government, National Performance Framework.
16. Scottish Government, Equality Evidence Finder.
17. Scottish Government (2017) Scotland's equality evidence strategy 2017-2021, section 6: Scope of the Strategy.
18. Scottish Government (2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health and social impact assessment. June.
20. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
21. Also known as a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA).
22. The terms 'DPA 2018' and 'GDPR' have been used interchangeably by participants during this research. In what follows 'DPA 2018' is used as an umbrella term to cover both the DPA 2018 and the GDPR.
23. For the purpose of this research the term 'data collection' is restricted to quantitative data collected through surveys, equality monitoring forms or administrative processes.
24. A list of Scottish public bodies is available from the Scottish Government's National Public Bodies Directory.
25. It was not possible within the resource constraints of the project to include all data collections within these large and complex organisations.
26. Because, for example, the original selection did not undertake any relevant data collection or did not have sufficient capacity to engage with the exercise.
27. Note that it was particularly challenging to engage with NHS Boards during this period, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
28. Thus, the final number of 'entities' included in the research was 29. This comprised 21 'unitary organisations' (i.e. organisations where no second stage sampling was undertaken) and 8 'departments'.
29. Note that these discussions were not focussed on any specific data collection, but were of a more general nature.
30. In two data collections, the information gathered reflected changes due to be implemented in the coming months.
31. Note that (i) collecting postcode information (ii) using it to generate a SIMD code and (iii) undertaking analysis based on SIMD are three separate issues. This project has identified whether postcode data were collected in each case; however the information about generating a SIMD code and undertaking SIMD-based analyses was addressed qualitatively (i.e. no counts were obtained for these aspects).
32. Note, though, that in some cases, the information was collected as qualitative - rather than categorical - data.
33. Indeed, in some cases, a 'prefer not to say' option isn't included because a question isn't mandatory.
34. Office for Statistics Regulation, National Statistics.
35. That is, new cases were added to the data collection in an ongoing way. Note that some of the 'ongoing' data collections could also be described as 'continuous' - where the record of any one individual was updated as more information became available. Examples of ongoing and continuous data collections included pupil records and social work case management information.
36. The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012.
37. Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.
38. An equality monitoring form is a self-contained set of equality questions that can be used in relation to a number of different processes or services.
39. Any subgroup analysis (by stratum, say, or by type of data collection) would be based on such small numbers as to be likely to lead to the identification of an organisation and / or data collection.
40. It should be noted that the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland have previously published guidance notes on the use of equality questions. However, these were seldom mentioned by research participants.
41. Note that the Chief Statistician wrote to stakeholders on 10 December 2020 seeking views on his draft guidance about how to collect, disaggregate and report data on sex and gender. The deadline for submitting views was 12 February 2021.
42. For example, the Athena Swan programme, or Volunteer Award programmes.
43. See Footnote 40 above.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback