Roundtable discussions were held with the devolved administrations, local government, university-based social research groups, economic research institutes, research funding organisations and learned societies. Alongside these, in-depth interviews were held with central government departments and learned society participants. These enabled deeper exploration of participants’ individual views and facilitated better accommodating their availability.

Full details of the research participants are provided in Table 1. Participants reflected a range of research and policy areas and were selected based on the equalities work undertaken in their area. For the roundtable discussions, we aimed to achieve a sample of 5 to 6 participants per roundtable, to maximise the opportunity for participating stakeholders to contribute to discussions. However, this number was not met in some cases due to a lack of participant availability, or exceeded in others due to higher interest in participation in certain areas.

Table 1: Participating organisations and sample

Organisation nameOrganisation typeNumber of participants
Welsh GovernmentDevolved administrations6 (Roundtable)
Scottish GovernmentDevolved administrations8 (Roundtable)
Northern Ireland Executive Office Human Rights CommissionDevolved administrations5 (Roundtable)
Government Equalities OfficeCentral government1 (In depth interview)
Equality and Human Rights CommissionCentral government1 (In depth interview)
Race Disparity UnitCentral government1 (In depth interview)
Policy LabCentral government1 (In depth interview)
Cross-Government Disability UnitCentral government2 (In depth interview)
Department for Work and PensionsCentral government1 (In depth interview)
London BoroughsLocal government9 (Roundtable)
Combined Authorities 1Local government4 (Roundtable)
Combined Authorities 2Local government5 (Roundtable)
Non-metropolitan Local AuthoritiesLocal government7 (Roundtable)
Social Research GroupAcademic and learned society organisations5 (Roundtable)
Economic Research InstitutesAcademic and learned society organisations4 (Roundtable)
Research Funding OrganisationsAcademic and learned society organisations4 (Roundtable)
Learned Society 1Academic and learned society organisations1 (In depth interview)
Learned Society 2Academic and learned society organisations2 (In depth interview)
Learned Society 3Academic and learned society organisations3 (Roundtable)

Research design

Roundtables lasted approximately 90 minutes and in-depth interviews lasted approximately 45 minutes, each following a semi-structured topic guide. The topic guides remained fairly consistent throughout, however, they were adapted as data collection progressed to further explore particular areas and to better integrate a department’s specific area of focus into the discussion. For example, local government topic guides were tailored to address specific issues in local area service provision, while central government topic guides were tailored towards policy decision-making. An example topic guide is shown in Annex A.

Key areas for discussion included:

Data sources
Which sources are most and least useful for addressing equality issues, and are there any inclusivity issues and concerns with these sources?
Data gaps
What are the key gaps in equalities data, what are the implications of these gaps for public policy decision-making and how can they be addressed?
Research and survey design
What are some of the key inclusivity issues relating to research and survey design, particularly regarding under-represented groups?
Harmonisation and coherence
What impact can the consistency of data and definitions have on the inclusiveness of data, particularly for under-represented groups; and how might harmonisation and statistical coherence be improved?
What are the barriers to engaging with under-represented groups, and how can we address these to ensure everyone in society feels represented in data, analysis and outputs?
How can data accessibility be improved for everyone in society, including the digitally excluded and under-represented groups?

Approach to analysis

Six lenses for viewing inclusivity were used as an analytical framework to code the verbatim transcriptions of interviews and focus groups. The coding framework was checked by a second analyst and summarised under each of the lenses for reporting. The six lenses are:

  • Engagement with groups to ensure that everyone in society feels represented in data collection, analysis and outputs. Ways to improve the trustworthiness of, and confidence in, these processes and the people involved.
  • Concepts and the extent to which the definitions that are used in data collection, analysis and outputs are harmonised, comparable, and aligned with current social ideas and identities.
  • Methods of data collection and analysis, such as sample inclusivity and representativeness, and efforts to reach people who are routinely excluded from data collection.
  • Data availability, including quality, gaps, timeliness, granularity, and the extent to which the available data facilitate intersectional analyses and meet user needs.
  • Insights that may be generated through data and consultation, including how the findings are presented and shared, interpreted, and reflect lived experiences and needs.
  • Best practice examples of inclusivity and factors which enable and encourage best practices to develop and be more widely adopted.

Detailed findings from the roundtable discussions and in-depth interviews are presented in the following section under the six lenses for viewing inclusivity, including the key issues and potential solutions that were outlined by participants. Data were collected and analysed in adherence to Government Social Research Professional Guidance, following the principles for ethical best practice.

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