Trust – Inclusive Data Principle 1
Create an environment of trust and trustworthiness which allows and encourages everyone to count and be counted in UK data and evidence.
About Principle 1
The Taskforce described trust as “crucially important for the collection and use of data and for inclusion in statistics”. Their recommendations were designed to improve trust in the provision of personal data for statistics and research by improving the perceived trustworthiness of those collecting and using data. They focused on:
- clear communication with people asked to share their data about why it’s needed and how it will be used and safeguarded
- greater outreach work to include currently under-represented groups; more diversity among those collecting and analysing data to better reflect diversity in UK society
- identifying and addressing practical barriers both to participation in data sharing and to subsequent access to and use of the data and findings.
Achievements so far
Overall, 24 initiatives in the baseline implementation plan focused specifically on areas relevant to creating an environment of trust and trustworthiness. Of these, most (20) were either completed or underway and on schedule just over a year later in March 2023.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) committed to develop a ‘social contract’ with research participants on the information they choose to share, providing clear information on why data are collected, confidentiality and data security arrangements, and how their information will be shared and used. This was envisaged as a single document to be tested and launched in 2022.
- After further exploration of current practices and discussions with external experts in 2022, this programme of work has evolved to recognise that different groups may require specific types of information to inspire trust or information delivered in different ways to be fully inclusive. Initial work exploring the information needs of young people aged 18 to 24 in relation to sharing personal data has been undertaken, and a series of focus groups exploring their views towards data, including administrative data, has also been completed. The findings will be shared with the Task and Finish Group overseeing the work in May 2023 and decisions about next steps will be planned. This work is being conducted collaboratively between the ONS, Scottish and Welsh Governments and external experts.
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Systemic Working – Inclusive Data Principle 2
Take a whole system approach, working in partnership with others to improve the inclusiveness of UK data and evidence.
About Principle 2
The Inclusive Data Taskforce recognised that making UK data more inclusive requires data producers to work together more to share knowledge, methods and promising practices, both in the UK and more widely.
Achievements so far
Overall, 33 initiatives in the baseline implementation plan focused specifically on areas relevant to working in partnership ensuring a whole system approach. Of these, most (31) were either completed or underway and on schedule just over a year later in March 2023.
- A new independent National Statistician’s Inclusive Data Advisory Committee, chaired by Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE, was launched in 2022 to transparently advise on priorities and progress over time. The Committee meets quarterly and receives regular reports on how projects published in the Inclusive Data Taskforce Implementation Plan are progressing. Committee membership covers all four UK nations and is comprised of senior academics, equality data experts and civil society leaders.
- In 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) established a new team in the Centre for Equalities and Inclusion. The team collates updates on progress across the statistical system towards the commitments made in the Implementation Plan. They also co-ordinate governance activities associated with this, including the National Statistician’s Inclusive Data Advisory Committee.
- In May 2023 a new Government Statistical Service (GSS) Sub-committee on Inclusive Data was launched with membership comprised of senior statisticians from the devolved administrations, the ONS and UK government departments. This will add further focus to monitoring and delivery.
- The ONS committed to the facilitation of an annual review and published update of the Inclusive Data Taskforce Implementation Plan, with this review serving that purpose.
- In 2022 the ONS developed an evaluation plan to measure the impact of activities in the Inclusive Data Taskforce Implementation Plan. A cross-government Task and Finish Group including the devolved administrations has been working to design metrics for use as a baseline for evaluation.
- The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub have progressed data-specific actions from the government’s Inclusive Britain report. The publication of consultation findings on reforming the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website and on developing a set of standards for ethnicity data was completed in collaboration with other networks and Government Departments, in particular the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation Team in the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
- The Department for Education proposed a new statistics user engagement strategy in 2022, currently being finalised for ratification in 2023.
- The Centre for Crime and Justice at the ONS updated and published their engagement strategy and launched the Crime and Justice Statistics Forum in February 2022.
- The Office for Students has commissioned enhanced data collection for care-experienced students studying at higher education institutions, with data collection currently underway.
- As part of its Contemporary Fathers in the UK project funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Fatherhood Institute has worked with longitudinal research organisations to increase data collection from fathers and advised on questions about fathers in large-scale longitudinal studies.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are working with academia to implement the latest quantitative methods to understand inclusivity and representativeness in administrative data. Research also involves planning and developing, in collaboration with academia, to build methods that help achieve more inclusive samples for survey data collection.
- As part of its Data First programme, the Ministry of Justice has been progressing work in partnership with academics, funded by Administrative Data Research (ADR) UK, to link disparate data sources to provide an end-to-end picture of the justice system. This includes a fellowship programme through which recipients spend short periods of time within the Ministry of Justice working with these data and engaging across the policy, operations, strategy and analytical communities. Initial projects have looked at racial bias in the criminal justice system and the experiences of children who are in contact with the justice system for a more holistic perspective.
- The Ministry of Justice has also established the Evidence and Partnership Hub within its Data and Analysis Department. The Hub maintains an academic network and operates a separate, more generalist, fellowship programme that embed academics within the Ministry of Justice to undertake projects with cross-cutting themes that address specific areas of research interest. A recent project has included looking at intersectionality in staff recruitment.
- Opportunities for UK data producers and funders to create new joint funding partnerships and extend existing ones to enhance inclusivity of UK data and evidence continue to be explored. For example, discussions began in 2022 about how best to fill data gaps on the lived experience of disabled people in the UK and possible joint funding arrangements are being considered.
- In 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) began exploring the feasibility of a new United Nations City Group for Inclusive Data. If agreed, the idea will be formally proposed in March 2024, and if accepted, the group could be established in 2025.
- In 2022, the ONS Inclusive Data Charter action plan for the Sustainable Development Goals was reviewed and replaced by the Inclusive Data Taskforce Implementation Plan to ensure greater coherence in work towards inclusivity. The ONS continues to engage regularly with the Inclusive Data Charter network internationally to share best practice and learning based on initiatives included in the Inclusive Data Taskforce Implementation Plan.
- The ONS played an active role in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Taskforce on Statistics on Children and Youth, with a focus on children in out-of-home care, disabled children, and violence against children. The Taskforce provided recommendations and guidance to National Statistics Offices in 2022 on how to enable these groups to be better represented in data and evidence.
- The Department for Education worked across UK Government Departments, the devolved administrations, Crown Dependencies and overseas territories to respond to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), providing evidence on the experience of children in areas including education, health, social care, and the justice system. Where possible, the evidence provided was broken down over time and by characteristics. The report was submitted to the United Nations in June 2022 and will be published on the UN website in due course.
- The ONS continues to lead the UN City Group on Ageing and Age Disaggregated Statistics, working with other National Statistical Institutes, the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Statistics Division, and other organisations to provide harmonisation and best practice in data and evidence for older population groups.
- The ONS continues to engage across a variety of international initiatives to improve data inclusivity including:
- the UN’s Inter-secretariat Working Group on Household Surveys
- World Health Organisation meetings on disability data
- the Unpaid Household Service Work and the Labour, Human Capital, and Education sub-groups of the Inter-secretariat Working Group for National Accounts
- the Modernisation of Time-use statistics sub-group of the UN Expert Group on Effective Ways to Collect Time-Use Statistics.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) committed to enhance the impact of its research and deepen collaboration with academia and wider research organisations as part of its research strategy. In 2022, the ONS highlighted its approach to research innovation and collaboration, inviting those interested in proposing new research partnerships to get in touch.
- The ONS continued to share learning in relation to methods development to enhance social inclusion. This included methods to improve understanding of the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) on people with different impairment types, and research related to the Crime Survey for England and Wales on the ethics of online data collection relating to sensitive topics. The ONS also shared methods for producing multivariate population statistics using administrative and survey sources.
- The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub has published a number of methods and quality reports and blog posts on ethnicity data over the last year.
- The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub and the Department for Education developed and published a strategy to improve the quality and availability of ethnicity data and evidence for looked-after children and their routes out of care in April 2023. This was part of the Inclusive Britain Update Report.
- The Scottish Government ran workshops in 2022 on race, disability and intersectionality data to showcase good practice and share learning.
- The ONS has shared and published research, frameworks and guidance on best practice to assess quality in administrative data for statistical purposes. They published innovative qualitative inclusivity research that explores inclusivity and representativeness in administrative data. They also published the Administrative Data Qualitative Framework (ADQF) and administrative data error catalogue. These publications provide guidance and advice to Government Departments and international National Statistical Institutions (NSIs) on how to assess administrative data quality and uncertainty. With these publications, engagement took place across government, across international NSIs, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe meeting on data collection in October 2022, and with academia. The next publication will be a toolkit for cross government analysts to use; it contains essential administrative data quality questions to consider during analysis and processing of administrative data for statistical quality purposes and includes questions to ask data suppliers to understand more about administrative data quality.
Coverage – Inclusive Data Principle 3
Ensure that all groups are robustly captured across key areas of life in UK data and review practices regularly.
About Principle 3
The Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF) recognised that good data are available on a range of topics for some population groups. However, for some groups and topics, gaps in the data inhibit the “extent to which statistics reflect the experiences of everyone in society”. In addition, data do not always meet the full range of user needs. It recommended the following ways to address these issues:
- identifying where data are not representative of everyone in society and taking action to address it
- ensuring the best use of administrative data by improving its inclusivity, either by including additional information in the data collection or by working together to ensure that information can be collected once but used again
- finding solutions to address gaps that cannot be filled by existing surveys or improvements to administrative data, including identifying and addressing issues with the coverage of populations not resident in private households
- ensuring that data and evidence are available that reflect the full range of diverse user needs.
Achievements so far
Overall, 33 of the 41 initiatives in the baseline implementation plan that focused on ensuring that all groups are robustly captured, were either completed, or underway and on schedule, at the end of March 2023.
- A key part of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) population and migration statistics transformation work has been to improve the quality of population statistics, to improve the definitions and consider alternative population bases of the statistics they produce to better meet user needs, and to ensure they are more inclusive. Improved inclusivity in population statistics is critical, as they underpin most cross-Government statistics as a denominator (for example, in producing estimates of Gross Domestic Product [GDP] and unemployment rates) and also in weighting survey estimates. Their latest published Admin-based population estimates demonstrate the progress they are making.
- In addition to transforming their population statistics, the ONS’s transformation work also includes increasing the frequency, timeliness and inclusivity of statistics about the characteristics of our society. The ONS has been assessing the representativeness of different administrative data sources using Census 2021 for England and Wales to inform work to ensure the representativeness of statistics going forward. As part of the research underpinning the future design of population statistics production, admin-based ethnicity statistics for 2020 were published in February 2023. These included aggregate-level national comparisons with the Census 2021 estimates, as well as statistics for Wales for the first time.
- Findings from the ONS’s initial research on the quality of ethnicity recording in key health administrative data sources in England were published in January 2023.
- Additionally, the ONS intend to develop a set of longitudinal assets (which will allow insights into outcomes based on peoples’ lived experiences). They have focused a proof of concept on developing the Refugee Integration Outcome study, in collaboration with the Home Office, which aims to provide insights into how refugees have integrated into local communities upon moving to England. This reflects important progress towards providing insights into an under-represented group in society.
- The ONS introduced an Adaptive Survey Design (ASD) for the Transformed Labour Force Survey (TLFS) in November 2022 as a strategy for addressing under-representation. This uses historical TLFS data to determine the characteristics of areas at Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level least likely to respond without intervention, and to identify where knock-to-nudge visits are likely to be most effective in reducing non-response error.
- In addition, in order to increase the quality of the TLFS, the ONS has been closely monitoring the variation in response across geographic areas and other classifications, such as the Index of Multiple Deprivation and Output Area Classifications. A Management Information dashboard enables monitoring of the representativeness of the data on a daily basis so that action can be taken to address it.
- As part of the consultation on the reform of the Ethnicity facts and figures website in July 2022, and in line with the actions identified in the Inclusive Britain report, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub has been reviewing gaps in ethnicity data; this includes gaps in the understanding of the outcomes of migrants as well as wider analytical gaps. The Ethnicity facts and figures consultation response described nine actions for the Equality Hub, including providing more granular data and useful ethnicity analysis.
- As part of its commitment to understanding inclusivity among travel and transport users, in 2022, the Department for Transport reviewed the need for more robust and timely data for analysis of certain demographic groups on its National Travel Survey. It will be introducing an increased sample size from 2023 to meet this need.
- Following publication of Is Britain Fairer? in 2018, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has begun reviewing key datasets and subjects used in their Measurement Framework to identify where there is inadequate coverage of protected characteristics, or poor and inconsistent sample sizes.
- The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) has revised inspection frameworks relating to local area arrangements for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and care leavers’ provision from local authority children’s services. A Local Authority data collection has begun capturing the experiences of service users (children and young people, practitioners, and parents) to ensure they are fully represented.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been conducting research to better understand how data on personal characteristics are collected by data suppliers to highlight areas for improvement and will publish a paper describing what the future population system would offer, in terms of population characteristics alongside the public consultation that will launch in summer 2023. The findings will contribute to the consultation on the National Statistician’s recommendation on transforming statistics about the population.
- The Office for Students has worked with the Higher Education Statistics Agency to specify the collection of personal characteristics information from higher education students and data are now being collected by individual higher education providers.
- The Scottish Government used the findings from its Equality Data Audit in 2022 to develop equality data improvement plans. These formed the basis of Scotland’s Equality Evidence Strategy 2023 to 2025. The feedback from a public consultation on these plans has been published for all stakeholders to read.
- The Home Office issued a voluntary Annual Data Requirement (ADR) for police forces on cross-cutting demographic data (ADR 153). This requires all existing policing data collections that capture demographic data (including sex and ethnicity) to do so in a consistent way by aligning it to Census 2021. It also includes the voluntary collection of other data on the protected characteristics of victims to aid monitoring of the public sector equality duty.
- HM Revenue and Customs has been reviewing options for collecting additional demographic information. Further evaluation of these options is continuing, with initial recommendations expected to be agreed by mid-2023.
- The UK Research and Innovation Prevention Research Partnership (UKRI PRP) funded Violence, Health and Society Consortium (VISION) (City, University of London) members held a workshop with Imkaan in October 2022. The researchers critically assessed ethnicity coding across data provided by Crime Survey, medical records, mental health survey, police data and specialised services data. This is informing the design of a measurement framework for protected characteristics.
- The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub’s plans for a Disability Data Improvement Programme have been delayed pending decisions on funding.
- Building on the new Survey Strategy agreed in 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has commenced refining its approach to social surveys to ensure that the Inclusive Data Taskforce recommendations are considered and that opportunities to improve inclusion of under-represented populations are actively sought.
- As part of the transformation of statistics about the population, the ONS has continued to explore the role of household surveys to gather data on protected characteristics and other important topics where there is no or limited potential in administrative data and this will be considered as part of the user consultation planned for summer 2023.
- The Home Office and Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has been working with the Ukraine Humanitarian Response Insights survey team in the ONS on how best to extend their Refugee Integration Outcomes (RIO) cohort study to include information not captured through administrative data linkage, for example barriers to work and private rental, use of public services, health and well-being.
- Scoping by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to assess the feasibility and affordability of collecting protected characteristics data through large scale surveys has been paused. At present, HMRC are investigating other potential data collection solutions to gain insight about customer equalities concerns and considerations. However, the prospect of large-scale surveys of customer groups has not been ruled out.
- The proposed survey of disabled people across the UK by the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub has been delayed pending decisions on funding. Consideration is being given to alternative ways of funding a new survey, including opportunities for joint funding.
- During 2022 to 2023, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) began a review of existing data sources on communal establishments across UK countries. An initial high-level review of data source availability for different communal establishments and transient population groups, such as people experiencing homelessness, is underway.
- The ONS research into the value of, and how best to collect survey data from populations not resident in private households, including those living in Communal Establishments, has been paused pending the outcome of the review into existing data sources on these populations (see above). This research will be carried out in 2023 subject to funding, and will feed into the transformation of statistics about the population and the recommendation being made by the National Statistician on the future of the England and Wales Census.
- The ONS has been making good progress on work to investigate the coverage of populations living in communal establishments across England and Wales in existing administrative data. Early results from matching Census 2021 to administrative data are being analysed to assess how well represented people in communal establishments are in the existing data.
- Following scoping work in relation to estimating populations not resident in private households, the ONS published an evidence review of existing data on hidden’ homelessness across the UK in March 2023, highlighting the challenges, complexities and main data gaps in relation to this population. Research is also underway to develop an approach for capturing the scale of women experiencing hidden’ homelessness across the UK.
- The Welsh Government has been progressing work to explore the introduction of individual-level homelessness data collection to enable a greater understanding of the situations of those who experience statutory homelessness. A pilot project for sharing samples of existing data is being carried out with local authorities, aiming for agreement to share initial data by mid-2023.
- The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) has begun regulating the Supported Accommodation sector serving children and young people, including data collection to understand the size of this sector and to link administrative data collected in the process of this regulatory role with child-level data collected by Department for Education.
- Considerable progress has been made on implementation of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Survey Strategy in 2022 to 2023, of which, one pillar is Inclusive by Design, and in particular on how the ONS takes strategic oversight of the survey portfolio:
- New governance arrangements have been implemented to work alongside existing forums
- A new survey demand management process has been launched and is successfully helping bring clarity to how the ONS can prioritise user requests alongside existing demands
- A best practice ‘playbook’ has been launched to help ensure consistency across the survey portfolio in approaches to designing, collecting and processing survey data
- New survey research and development principles including how to improve inclusivity have been developed which will ensure respondents are central and integral to survey design
- Work to develop two domain specific strategies – for Business and Social surveys – was initiated in 2022 to 2023, with expected launch dates in the first quarter of 2023 to 2024.
- The ONS has undertaken extensive user engagement with members of the public, as well as public and third sector organisations as part of the work to develop the National Statistician’s recommendation on transforming statistics about the population.
- Resourcing constraints have delayed the development of the User Engagement Strategy by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs until 2023 to 2024.
- The development of new social inclusion strategies for the Northern Ireland Executive by the Department for Communities is underway and will continue into the next Assembly mandate.
- During 2022, the Scottish Government undertook a public consultation on inclusive data to understand user needs for equality evidence and any barriers that currently exist. Responses were used to inform its Action Plan which is central to Scotland’s Equality Evidence Strategy 2023 to 2025.
Disaggregation – Inclusive Data Principle 4
Improve the UK data infrastructure to enable robust and reliable disaggregation and intersectional analysis across the full range of relevant groups and populations, and at differing levels of geography.
About Principle 4
The Inclusive Data Taskforce recognised that existing data and evidence in some cases is not sufficiently detailed to allow us to understand the experiences of everyone in UK society. For some populations, the need to aggregate groups together for analysis has the potential to “misrepresent the issues and needs of smaller and more marginalised communities”. In addition, a lack of granularity inhibits our ability to understand how the intersection of different characteristics combine to affect people’s experiences.
- improving the granularity of existing data, including by oversampling of specific groups in data collection activities
- avoiding the use of meta-categories and taking an intersectional approach to both analysis and its interpretation, including in existing online tools
- ensuring that inclusivity is at the heart of the design of the future social statistics system.
Achievements so far
Overall, 25 initiatives in the baseline implementation plan focused specifically on areas relevant to enabling disaggregation and intersectional analysis. All were either completed or underway and on schedule just over a year later in March 2023.
- As part of the research underpinning the National Statistician’s recommendation on transforming statistics about the population, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has explored making greater use of administrative data to produce more frequent and timely statistics for population characteristics, including at granular geographic level and for protected characteristics. Previous research has demonstrated the ONS’s ability to produce counts of characteristics including ethnic group, income, housing, labour market status and veterans, using administrative data first. These topics have been prioritised for research due to a combination of high user need and their availability in administrative data sources. Research published in February 2023 includes estimates of ethnic group, income and housing, and multivariate estimates to help understand the outcomes of different population groups, covering housing and income by ethnicity.
- The ONS led and developed a cross-GSS subnational data strategy, which explicitly references the inclusive data principles to deliver more timely, granular, and harmonised statistics at lower levels of geography than was previously able. In May 2022, they published the ONS subnational workplan to set out a public commitment to how they would deliver on the subnational data strategy.
- With support from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the ONS has established a programme of work to develop more granular statistics and analysis that exploit newly available data sources and data visualisation and dissemination tools that make these insights more accessible and user friendly. Much of this work requires development of new methods to handle challenges such as apportioning business activity across sites that are located in different places and maintaining statistics that do not disclose information about individual businesses.
- During 2022 to 2023 the ONS, again with DLUHC support, has created a new local analytical advisory service with the ambition of covering all four nations of the UK, known as ONS Local. The aim is to ensure local leaders and subnational organisations can access and utilise data, statistics, and analysis to support their decision making. This service is being co-designed with local analysts across England and the Chief Statistician in each of the devolved administrations.
- The Department for Education has begun mandatory collection of Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan data at the level of the child/young person instead of aggregate Local Authority level data. The first publication of these data will be in late spring 2023.
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has commissioned a research report to explore the suitability of using a model-based method to obtain Local Authority level metrics for the Community Life Survey. This will be published in spring 2023.
- As part of the consultation on reforming the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub has completed an assessment of the granularity of datasets, with a particular focus on the use of binary white/other than white classifications. Analysis of the results of the consultation is currently underway. Action 7 of the consultation response commits the Equality Hub to work with departments to improve the granularity of ethnicity data.
- The Welsh Government has created three new units, the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units to improve the availability, quality, granularity and accessibility of evidence about individuals with protected and associated characteristics. Since Autumn 2022:
- the units have been scoping initial evidence priorities, as well as starting a Wales Equality Data Audit
- the Equality Data Unit has also developed a proposal for an evaluability assessment to ensure adequate monitoring information is in place to understand the impact of the LGBTQ+ action plan on LGBTQ+ communities
- the Disability Disparity Evidence Unit is researching barriers to employment and analysing pay-gaps
- the Race Disparity Evidence Unit has been developing an initial assessment and framework for measuring the impact of the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan, as well as developing a data collection tool to research the protected characteristics of Public Sector Equalities Boards
- The Welsh Government has also awarded the contract to deliver the National Survey for Wales for 2024 to 2025, enabling the aggregation of any combination of quarters to produce large, multi-year datasets and the production of two-year combined datasets as standard. This will enable more detailed sub-group analysis. The Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units have also been looking at opportunities for sample boosts and data linkage, to improve the granularity of data. The project started in late 2022 and is currently in the scoping and development stage.
- Following a partial boost to the sample of the Family Resources Survey by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) from October 2021 to March 2022, a full boost was introduced in April 2022, with the intention of achieving a sample size of 45,000 households for the year 2022 to 2023. As a result of challenges in securing a sufficient level of household response, a final achieved sample is expected to be in the region of 25,000 households, however this is still an improvement in the sample size compared with a typical year.
- Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Service and Skills (Ofsted) is committed to ongoing review of its statistical production to improve the granularity of statistics for users. For example, in 2022 they revised production of fostering official statistics to dissociate family and friends foster carers from mainstream fostering provision to report more informative trends in the sector.
- Following the introduction of its Adaptive Survey Design (ASD) for the Transformed Labour Force Survey (TLFS) in November 2022 (see Inclusive Data Principle 3), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will be evaluating its impact to inform any future changes in regard to oversampling or further targeting of data collection.
- His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have conducted initial analysis on the available protected characteristic data for the Individuals, Small Business and Agents (ISBA) survey, combining multiple years of data. It was found that sample sizes were too small in most ethnic minority groups to provide robust conclusions, therefore HMRC plan to conduct a full feasibility study to assess the potential to increase the representation of ethnic minority groups within the survey.
- The Department for Education’s Parent, Pupil and Learner Panel Survey has published survey results that include targeted oversampling of groups with historically lower response rates, including those who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) eligible, those with Special Educational Needs and Disability status, and those with Children in Need status, to fill existing gaps in understanding of these groups.
- The Department for Education has implemented targeted oversampling of disadvantaged groups in its Children of the 2020s and Five to Twelve, and Growing Up in the 2020s cohort studies, to better understand the relationship between development, attainment, disadvantage and a range of personal and household characteristics. The results from wave one of Children of the 2020s will be published during 2024.
- The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub has partnered with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to deliver its Equality Data Programme. The initial phase of this work used existing data to explore how people’s outcomes vary by different dimensions of equality (including geography and socio-economic background). The analysis was published in January 2023.
- As part of the second phase of the Equality Data Programme to develop a linked dataset to enable more in-depth intersectional analysis (the Equality Data Asset), the ONS has developed a prototype linking the Companies House’s People with Significant Control register (PSC) data to 2011 Census data. The quality of this prototype is currently being assessed by Cabinet Office staff in the Secure Research Service.
- In 2022, the ONS published a series of analyses using linked datasets to enable more granular and intersectional analysis. These covered education, social mobility and outcomes for students receiving free school meals in England:
- Education, social mobility and outcomes for students receiving free school meals in England
- The education and social care background of young people who interact with the criminal justice system
- Why recipients of free school meals earn less than their peers
- Who are the children entering care in England?
- The education background of looked-after children who interact with the criminal justice system
- The Office for Students has developed and published a set of intersectional measures to improve the understanding of the outcomes different groups are likely to experience across the student lifecycle, including access to, and continuation in, higher education.
- The ONS has begun to undertake intersectional analysis using the 2021 Census for England and Wales. To date, analysis has been published on general health and disability by age and sex, with analysis for other outcomes and characteristics planned during 2023 to 2024.
- Recognising the importance of understanding how outcomes can vary by characteristics such as ethnic group, the ONS’s research underpinning the National Statistician’s recommendation on transforming statistics about the population includes demonstrating the feasibility of using administrative data to produce estimates showing two or more characteristics together at the subnational level including income by ethnicity and housing by ethnicity.
- As part of the publication of the human capital indicator framework, the ONS planned to undertake intersectional analysis in 2022 on the drivers of knowledge and skills acquisition across the lifespan. This has been delayed with the indicator framework and its data collection is still under development. Data collection and analysis are now expected in 2023 to 2024.
- In addition to a range of datasets and analysis articles from Census 2021 in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published their ‘Create a Custom Dataset‘. This flexible table builder tool enables users to explore the Census 2021 data beyond the ONS analysis, and allows users to produce multivariate statistics for themselves. The ONS has also published a Build a custom area profile tool that allows users to draw their own areas on a map, or to use or amend pre-set geographies, and explore census data for that area.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been continuing to monitor the implementation of relevant Inclusive Data Taskforce recommendations, to ensure they are reflected appropriately within the National Statistician’s recommendation on transforming statistics about the population.
- Through extensive user engagement and the Consultation that will launch in Summer 2023 and will inform the National Statistician’s recommendation on transforming statistics about the population, the ONS seek to gain an even greater understanding of user needs, of which inclusivity will be a key focus, and these will inform their future research plans as well as the National Statistician’s recommendation.
Concepts – Inclusive Data Principle 5
Ensure appropriateness and clarity over the concepts being measured across all data collected.
About Principle 5
The Inclusive Data Taskforce highlighted the importance of ensuring researchers are clear about what they are seeking to measure in relation to personal characteristics and circumstances to help improve inclusivity, accuracy and consistency of data and evidence. The Taskforce focused on several areas where they felt improvements should be made, including:
- ensuring data standards, definitions and measurement approaches keep pace with societal and legislative change and are seen as appropriate and accurate by prospective research participants and relevant groups
- ensuring a clear conceptual understanding underpins data collection, while also enhancing accessibility and perceived appropriateness of measures and approaches used among prospective participants
- ensuring clarity in language used during data collection, analysis and reporting of findings
- ensuring transparency about how data have been collected in the sharing and reporting of data so others can assess its merits and inclusivity for themselves.
Achievements so far
Overall, 28 initiatives in the baseline implementation plan focused specifically on areas relevant to ensuring appropriateness and clarity of concepts. Of these, most (26) were either completed or underway and on schedule just over a year later in March 2023.
- The Welsh Government committed to investigate ways of developing evidence in line with the social model of disability from 2022. Their initial investigations into how to co-produce research and work alongside disabled people has included a literature review and advice from members of the Disability Rights Taskforce. Based on this, a co-production approach has been designed with additional work planned to develop a theory of change during 2023.
- The Cabinet Office worked with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2022 to understand drivers of low response rates to questions about socio-economic background among the Civil Service workforce. Current response rates are not sufficient to publish as part of Civil Service Statistics. Work is ongoing in departments to improve response rates so that data on socio-economic background can be published in future. As well as helping us to deliver the commitments set out in the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, this data can be used to develop a data-driven, evidence-led approach to drive greater inclusion.
- Following consultation with the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub and the devolved administrations, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation Plan in February 2022, setting out plans for reviewing and updating current GSS harmonised standards and guidance. A subsequent update was published in December 2022 with further information on progress achieved in relation to standards and guidance including national identity, Welsh language, ethnicity, socio-economic classification, previous service in the armed forces, and qualifications. See also Inclusive Data Principle 7.
- The ONS has introduced a respondent-centric approach to the end-to-end design of its surveys, with the aim of making the survey experience relatable, understandable, and appropriate for respondents. Over the past year, this approach has been used specifically in the development of the Transformed Labour Force Survey with the aim of rolling out to all other social surveys.
- In 2022, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub worked with the ONS, other stakeholders and experts on the lived experiences of disabled people on the initial design of a survey of disabled people across the UK. Testing and pilot work is required before any further implementation. Implementation is dependent on further funding, options for which are currently being explored across Government and with potential external partnering organisations, including opportunities for joint funding.
- The Scottish Government published guidance in March 2022 on data collection and question wording to be used for collecting equality data. This new guidance has subsequently been rolled out across the public sector in Scotland.
- The design of the Department for Education’s six-weekly panel survey of school and college teachers and leaders, the School and College Panel (SCP), will continue to focus on topics for which there is a clear rationale of the departmental need and thorough scrutiny. Where possible the survey will use existing standardised questions with new questions based on design best practice and cognitive testing to ensure a final product that is easy to understand and relevant for the sector. Previous waves of the panel have been published. Research waves will be conducted throughout academic year 2022 to 2023 and discussions are ongoing with regards to future years of the panel.
- The Department for Transport re-let the contract for the National Travel Survey (NTS) in 2022 and used the recommendations of the Inclusive Data Taskforce as inspiration for scoping the NTS methods research programme.
- Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has worked closely with the local authority Central and Local Information Partnership (CLIP) groups, reviewing new data requirements. In December 2022, changes to nationality breakdowns for the homelessness statistics (H-CLIC) data collection were approved and from April 2023 will include breakdowns for those returning or arriving from Syria, Afghanistan, Hong Kong or Ukraine.
- In consultation with the Inter Administration Committee, as previously mentioned, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation Plan to review and make improvements in clarity of language. The ONS has undertaken a significant amount of engagement work across Government and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to promote and embed the adoption of harmonised standards. This is through a range of initiatives including a network of departmental harmonisation champions, bespoke support for high profile government data collections and training sessions across departments. Further information on the GSS Harmonisation Plan can be found under Inclusive Data Principle 7.
- The Executive Office in Northern Ireland drafted guidance on monitoring ethnic populations to provide a standardised framework to help public bodies collect information in a consistent but flexible manner, improving service delivery and equality for different ethnic and migrant populations living in Northern Ireland. The draft guidance was produced and considered during 2022, with implementation subject to agreement by all relevant bodies.
- For the England and Wales Census 2021, the ONS invited views on content design and release of Census 2021 outputs. The consultation covered language and labelling for topics such as ethnicity, national identity, language, and religion. For example, they consulted on their proposal to present the ethnic group classification alphabetically as well as the language used in the classification tables. Feedback from the consultation has been published in the Census 2021: outputs: content design and release phase proposals. In addition, the ONS engaged through working groups, such as the ONS’s Ethnic group and Religion Assurance panel to seek feedback on language and labelling used for census outputs. This included getting a diverse range of feedback from other government departments, academics as well as speaking to community group representatives.
- In 2022, the Home Office reviewed and updated its Workforce Data Standards for protected characteristics to support assessment of whether, as part of the Police Uplift Programme, forces are becoming more representative of the communities they serve. Where possible, data standards have been aligned with the 2021 Census or draw on existing harmonised standards set out by the Government Statistical Service. The recording standards are now in use by policing partners, as well as in police workforce data collections. Further details are available in the police workforce guide.
- During work by the Welsh Government to develop the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan, it was identified that the Welsh terminology currently used in discussing race and ethnicity was not always fit for purpose: either terminology did not exist or was dated. This was a barrier to discussing the subject in Welsh. The Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Strategy, Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers has a clear focus on increasing use of Welsh. A group of language experts and representatives of various minority ethnic communities was established and developed a set of Welsh terms which were then put to the public for consultation. The terms to discuss race and ethnicity in Welsh have been incorporated in the recognised terminology databases of BydTermCymru and Porth Termau Cenedlaethol Cymru.
- HM Revenue and Customs was planning to commission a review of official statistics metadata in 2022 and, where necessary, improve published information about how data have been collected in official statistics publications. This was delayed and will now commence in 2023.
- In 2022, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport reviewed documentation accompanying their survey publications to ensure metadata are provided for users to assess the quality and suitability of data and ensure compliance with accessibility legislation. In 2023, they will also explore the feasibility of different approaches to visualising this data to make it more accessible.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published metadata accompanying univariate data releases from the 2021 Census for England and Wales, including in relation to personal characteristics, providing clarity to users around how the data have been collected and aggregated. A Data Dictionary, providing information on definitions, variables and classifications will also continue to be updated as the ONS move though the next phased release of census outputs over the coming year and beyond.
- The ONS is undertaking an ongoing assessment of the quality of administrative sources used in the transformation of statistics about the population. This will generate metadata to help producers and users understand the strengths and limitations of the administrative sources, including their inclusivity. Reports on the quality of administrative data used for Census 2021 and the quality of administrative data sources used to develop the Statistical Population Dataset for England and Wales have been published. Further quality reports will be published in 2023 as the work continues to progress.
Methods – Inclusive Data Principle 6
Broaden the range of methods that are routinely used and create new approaches to understanding experiences across the population of the UK.
About Principle 6
The Taskforce recognised that a range of different approaches may be helpful in identifying and exploring the experiences of diverse groups. New approaches may be needed to overcome specific barriers to participation in data collection, to enable a sense of greater trust and trustworthiness in participation in research, and to enable those who may currently be under-represented in UK statistics and evidence to be more visible.
Achievements so far
Overall, 19 initiatives in the baseline implementation plan focused specifically on areas relevant to broadening the range of methods used and developing new approaches. Of these, most (15) were either completed or underway and on schedule just over a year later in March 2023.
- In 2022, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Data Science Campus worked closely with the United Nations Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science and other statistical bodies to accelerate responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI), data science and big data to modernise official statistics at regional, national and global levels. They also supported global initiatives to find alternative data sources to fill data gaps associated with the Sustainable Development Goals and indicators of the 2030 agenda.
- The ONS developed and published a protocol for assessing the quality and value that non-official sources of quantitative data can add to measuring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, as part of widening data used and supporting the ethos of “making the invisible visible.” The need for a similar protocol for qualitative data sources will be assessed during 2023.
- The ONS has piloted innovative qualitative research to explore inclusivity and representativeness in administrative data. They are continuing this research and currently exploring new methods (quantitative and qualitative) to understand and measure inclusivity and representativeness in administrative data.
- In 2022, the ONS began a programme of qualitative research with statistically under-represented communities, focusing on those highlighted in the Inclusive Data Taskforce recommendations. A variety of innovative methods have been used including data collection by peer researchers, and a range of specialist techniques to enable and encourage participation of young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Publications during 2022 included:
- The Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub commissioned a systematic review of evidence in relation to the lived experiences of disabled people in the UK, to take stock of relevant qualitative research and identify key gaps in understanding and priorities for further work. A database was developed in 2022 which is an internal resource for identifying relevant material for thematic reports on aspects of disability.
- The ONS contributed to a United National Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) report on the maintenance, updating and retraining of machine learning models. This included a literature review on social bias in pre-trained machine learning models and potential de-biasing methods. This research is ongoing.
- The ONS has continued to investigate improved methods for data linkage, as part of the Joined-up data in Government Review. Linkage completed as part of the Census 2021 achieved high quality and efficient linkage through the use of multiple techniques including innovative approaches like machine learning. Understanding and reducing linkage bias is a focus within this work.
- The ONS is undertaking a programme of work examining strategies for imputation in the context of linked administrative data and evaluating the impact of missingness which accumulates due to linkage errors or lack of coverage and can introduce bias in the findings. Projects underway include research into missingness of administrative data and methods to identify and adjust for it; and development of edit and imputation methods suitable for integrated multiple administrative data sources and approaches to improving linkage methodology. Initial findings have been published on inclusivity in administrative data of populations considered at-risk or hard-to-count such as those experiencing homelessness.
- The Department for Education continued its Longitudinal Study of Young People in England 2 (LSYPE2), following a cohort of young people aged 13 to 14 in 2013 through the final years of compulsory education, and into other forms of education, training, employment and other activities, and collecting information about career paths and a range of personal characteristics. The ninth wave for this data collection will become available by request in 2023 to 2024, alongside all previous waves.
- The Department for Education’s Education and Outcomes Panel Studies (EOPS) programme has designed three new cohort studies. The Children of the 2020s (EOPS-A) will follow children from 9 months to 5 years of age. This study has been piloted and wave one fieldwork conducted, with further waves to be carried out during 2023. Five to Twelve (EOPS-B) will follow children from early in their primary education (years one or two) to the end of primary school (year six). It is currently being piloted and will use Free School Meals eligibility criteria from the National Pupil Database to oversample disadvantaged pupils, and better understand the relationship between attainment, disadvantage and a range of personal and household characteristics. Growing Up in the 2020s (EOPS-C) is an equivalent study at a similar stage focusing on secondary school pupils.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) ensures that non-linked or combined datasets involving analysis of data from Census 2021 for England and Wales are approved by the relevant ethical boards prior to the start of any analytical work. The ONS regularly submits proposals for any data linkage to ethical boards and ensures this activity complies with Statistical Disclosure Control policies, as required.
- This also applies to the ONS’s work associated with the transformation of statistics about the population, where statistical work is reviewed and assured through formal channels (such as the Methodological Assurance Review Panel) and all linkage studies have approval from the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee. The transformation of the ONS’s surveys will likewise be reviewed and assured through appropriate forums. For transparency, minutes and papers from the Methodological Assurance Review Panel meetings; and the National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee are also available online.
Harmonisation – Inclusive Data Principle 7
Harmonised standards for relevant groups and populations should be reviewed at least every five years and updated and expanded where necessary, in line with changing social norms and respondent and user needs.
About Principle 7
This principle is linked to Inclusive Data Principle 5. It is about ensuring that the definitions, standards and guidance for collecting data on different population groups, whether this is through surveys or use of data collected for administrative purposes, keeps pace with changing society in the UK. Harmonisation of definitions at data collection stage is a key enabler to achieving comparability of data across the four nations of the UK.
Achievements so far
Overall, 12 initiatives in the Implementation Plan focused specifically on areas relevant to ensuring harmonised standards are regularly reviewed and updated. Of these, most (nine) were either completed or underway and on schedule just over a year later in March 2023.
- As part of the user engagement activity supporting the National Statistician’s 2023 recommendation on the future of the census and population statistics, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is playing an active role internationally in the development of harmonised standards. This includes participation in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Taskforce on Population Concepts and Definitions, which began meeting in February 2023. This will ensure that the development of new standards and definitions continues to draw on international collaboration and best practice.
- The ONS-led Titchfield City Group on Ageing-related Statistics and Age-disaggregated Data has continued to work with the international community to develop reference guidance. This includes members from National Statistical Offices, United Nations agencies, multilateral and bilateral agencies, academics, and civil society organisations.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published a Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation Workplan in February 2022 as agreed with the devolved administrations and the Cabinet Office Equality Hub. It shows plans to review and update harmonised standards and guidance for the conceptual measures relating to equality characteristics. An update on progress was published in December 2022. In addition, in Spring 2023, the harmonisation team published findings from their research and engagement into Mental Health, Disability and Ethnicity.
- New governance mechanisms to monitor and deliver the GSS Harmonisation Plan have been established as part of the arrangements established to monitor and drive progress against the IDTF recommendations. The harmonisation plan is governed by the GSS Analysis and Evaluation Committee and receives external scrutiny from the independent National Statistician’s Inclusive Data Advisory Committee (see Inclusive Data Principle 2).
- The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub and the ONS have increased collaboration on harmonisation of data through close working on the review of standards and guidance for collecting data on personal characteristics. This includes a joint project to review the use of language relating to ethnicity.
- In December 2022, the ONS published an updated GSS Coherence Workplan. It sets out plans to improve the coherence of statistics produced across government and the four UK nations. Six projects have been completed during 2022 to 2023 on the topics of public transport availability, quality of jobs, house building data, health (smoking), new datasets for trade in goods and services and a sample boost applied to the international trade in services survey.
- In May 2022, the ONS published the ONS subnational workplan to set out a public commitment to how they would deliver on the subnational data strategy, and with support from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the ONS established a programme of work to develop more granular statistics and analysis. During 2022 to 2023 the ONS, again with DLUHC support, has created a new local analytical advisory service with the ambition to cover all four nations of the UK, known as ONS Local. The aim is to ensure local leaders and subnational organisations can access and utilise data, statistics, and analysis to support their decision making. This service is being co-designed with local analysts across England and the Chief Statistician in each of the devolved administrations.
- In 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub jointly commissioned research as part of the development of a new ethnicity harmonised standard and for the Cabinet Office’s response to actions from the Inclusive Britain report. The research comprised a mixture of group discussions and in-depth interviews with participants identifying as members of different ethnic groups. Focus group participants were also invited to take part in a task to identify inclusive and stigmatising ethnicity language and terminology. As outlined in the Inclusive Britain update report, the research on perceptions of ethnicity has been published, and the Cabinet Office has also published updated standards for ethnicity data. These standards bring together best practice and guidance about ethnicity data. They give public sector data producers and data users information about how to better collect, analyse and report on ethnicity data. This includes the importance of using the Government Statistical Service harmonised standards.
- His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has implemented a new process to ensure research bids consider collecting protected characteristic data for individuals. This will enable evaluation of differences in findings between protected groups and improve the diversity of participants. In addition, HMRC are drafting data collection standards for the collection of protected characteristics data to cover those currently collected and that may be collected in future.
- The UK Research and Innovation Prevention Research Partnership (UKRI PRP) funded Violence, Health and Society Consortium (VISION) (City, University of London) brought together data producers and data users in the relevant fields at the VISION annual conference in September 2022 and the VISION Advisory Board meetings in December 2022 and May 2023, providing a forum for engagement to enable harmonisation of data.
Accessibility – Inclusive Data Principle 8
Ensure UK data and evidence are equally accessible to all, while protecting the identity and confidentiality of those sharing their data.
About Principle 8
The full potential of data and evidence can only be realised if they are available and accessible to everyone. The Taskforce recognised the wealth of valuable data and evidence that are already available in a variety of formats to meet a wide range of needs. However, in their recommendations, they highlighted specific areas where accessibility could be improved, while still ensuring that the identity and confidentiality of the people giving their data are protected. As such they focused on:
- creating a single resource to explore and access all UK equalities data and analysis in one place
- improving access to administrative data, both to the raw data for use by analysts and to accessible published outputs for those who are interested in understanding what they show
- developing new user-friendly online tools that allow anyone with an interest to explore existing datasets
- ensuring outputs are available for diverse audiences, taking into account differences in language, literacy, format and comprehension.
Achievements so far
Of the 23 commitments included in the baseline implementation plan aimed at improving the accessibility of data and evidence, most (21) were either complete or underway and on track by the end of March 2023.
- Through 2022, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Centre for Equalities and Inclusion considered the options for providing a centralised, explorable and accessible UK-wide equalities data and analysis resource in line with IDTF recommendations. This culminated in a decision to explore the feasibility of developing an ‘equalities data portal’ to be hosted by the Integrated Data Service in 2023.
- The Home Office has been working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to develop a linked dataset, the Refugee Integration Outcomes (RIO) cohort study, to better understand outcomes for resettled refugees and those granted asylum (see Inclusive Data Principle 3). The plan is to extend access to this dataset to the wider research community.
- As part of their work leading a data openness initiative with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and the ONS (the GRADE data sharing project), the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation have made relevant administrative micro-data available to accredited researchers through the ONS Secure Research Service (SRS). This enables independent research based on pseudonymised data, including allowing scrutiny into the awarding of grades and in particular on protected groups. Further data will be shared in the future depending on demand.
- In Northern Ireland (NI) the Educational Outcomes Linkage (EOL) has been developed as part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded Administrative Data Research NI initiative to enable accredited researchers to access linked administrative data collected by the Department of Education. The dataset was launched in March 2023 and is regarded as phase one of a wider project to create an NI Longitudinal Educational Outcomes database which will be developed in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department for the Economy and academics in the Queen’s and Ulster Universities.
- The Department for Education have incorporated Free School Meals breakdowns into the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ official statistics release.
- During 2022, the Office for Students published an enhanced dataset as part of their existing annual publications on equality and diversity among higher education students and their educational outcomes. This included additional student characteristics, not reported elsewhere, together with data quality information.
- The Scottish Government has been progressing work to improve the equality breakdowns available from National Performance Framework (NPF) indicators and work is underway to improve transparency where breakdowns are not currently provided.
- In 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) delivered a number of initiatives including:
- an interactive dashboard on crime and justice statistics. This helped users navigate published statistics produced by public bodies in England and Wales relating to offences involving knives or sharp instruments and the impact of crime on individuals and society (crime harm)
- ‘Create a Custom Dataset’ as part of the Census 2021 outputs. This tool allows people to use the England and Wales Census 2021 data to answer questions not covered by the ONS analysis. The ONS has also created interactive maps which have allowed millions of people to find out what people’s lives were like across England and Wales in March 2021
- launching the online personal inflation calculator which allows users to see how increases in the cost of living have affected them in the past year
- a shopping prices comparison tool to enable people to understand how the average price of items changes over time
- reaching citizens through bite-sized content on platforms, including Instagram
- As discussed under Inclusive Data Principle 4, with support from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the ONS has established a programme of work to develop more granular statistics and analysis that exploit newly available data sources, data visualisation and dissemination tools that make these insights more accessible and user friendly. Much of this work requires development of new methods to handle challenges such as apportioning business activity across sites that are located in different places and maintaining statistics that do not disclose information about individual businesses.
- Also with support from DLUHC, the ONS’s creation of the new local analytical advisory service with the ambition of covering all four nations of the UK, known as ONS Local, aims to ensure local leaders and subnational organisations can access and utilise data, statistics, and analysis to support their decision making. This service is being co-designed with local analysts across England and the Chief Statistician in each of the devolved administrations.
- Over the last year, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub has been researching user needs for explorative data dashboards. Development of the dashboards is still ongoing, with the first dashboard, on social mobility data, due to be published in September 2023.
- Following detailed user testing in 2022, the Welsh Government will be developing an interactive web-based viewer to present the results of the National Survey, improving accessibility while still maintaining the simplicity that is important to users.
- During 2022 to 2023, the Department for Education introduced supplementary dashboards alongside a number of their publications to increase the accessibility of data and analysis and this is now a standard offer for appropriate publications. Testing has also begun on a prototype public data Application Programming Interface (API) that will provide a new route to accessing departmental statistics.
- The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has been updating its Outcome Indicator Framework for the 25 Year Environment Plan digital dashboard in parallel to the underpinning scientific evidence. Consideration of data accessibility is central to the ongoing development of the dashboard.
- Defra’s People and Nature Survey team have also developed the People and Nature Survey data explorer to provide access to data online. The data can be broken down by various demographic variables, including gender, ethnicity, and health condition or illness.
- The Department for Work and Pensions has made data from the Family Resources Survey available in their online tool Stat-Xplore, allowing users to create tables specific to their needs.
- In February 2023, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities published its Spotlight dashboard, to improve the accessibility of data recording the public health outcomes of Inclusion health groups. Further development will occur in an iterative manner dependent on government and stakeholder priorities and data availability. Spotlight will be continuously maintained and updated.
- The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Service and Skills (Ofsted) has implemented the results of its recent review of statistical publications, commended by Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), including actions to remove legacy online data products in favour of WCAG (web content accessibility guideline) 2.1-compliant five year datasets whilst they continue to investigate alternative interactive platforms.
- The Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA) has continued to develop new data visualisations including the 2021 Census Area Explorer, a Wellbeing Dashboard and Labour Market Insights Dashboard. More examples can be accessed on the NISRA Website.
- The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) launched the Data and Insights Hub (DIH) in mid-2022, which facilitates access to MoJ corporate data for internal use. Users can obtain the internal corporate data they want or need and a data champions network has been established to work on improving data literacy, enabling confidence and capability when it comes to using data tools, dashboards and apps released through the DIH.
- In April 2022, the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub published a blog discouraging the use of the term ‘BAME’. They have also published a progress update to the Inclusive Britain report, including findings from research with people from different ethnic groups to better understand the language and terminology that they identify with. The Cabinet Office will continue to review how media coverage of race and ethnicity issues impacts the communities being covered and develop recommendations to encourage responsible and accurate reporting on ethnicity issues.
- The Government Analysis Function has produced new e-learning, which explains best practice approaches to creating and publishing basic data visualisations.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has presented its analysis and evidence in new and accessible ways. This includes making the UK Humanitarian Response Follow-up Survey accessible in Ukrainian and creating different report formats and videos to share the findings of qualitative research into children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
- Building on the accessibility work undertaken as part of the delivery of the 2021 Census, the ONS has convened a working group to take forward the development of accessible communications.
- As part of its work to develop the National Statistician’s recommendation on transforming statistics about the population, the ONS has undertaken a large-scale programme of user engagement, seeking feedback on its publications and website.
- The Home Office has introduced specific digital accessibility guidance for analysts producing statistics and research published on GOV.UK, to ensure these are accessible to all. In addition, there is a new group of Digital Accessibility champions within the analytical community working to improve the accessibility of statistical products and research reports for internal and external users.
- The ONS Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) team, Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub, the Department for Education and the Office for Students have embedded regular assessments of accessibility into their publishing processes and platforms.
- The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee are reviewing Biodiversity Indicators and will be implementing the accessibility recommendations during 2023. The report and recommendations will be published in 2023.
- The Home Office, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have all made good progress in making their publications available in HTML format.
- Alongside moving publications to HTML format and improving supporting spreadsheet-based tables, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has also been designing interactive data dashboards on a range of local authority indicators to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards, improving accessibility for colourblind and partially sighted people and the way screen readers interact with their dashboards.
- The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) is developing HTML publications to make their outputs more accessible. Examples include publications for Universal Credit, Cancer Waiting Times, Annual enrolments at grant-aided schools, the monthly Labour Market Report and Attitudes to walking, cycling and public transport. More publications will be developed in HTML format as Reproducible Analytical Pipelines are implemented across all of NISRA.