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.

Our approach

We will improve our interaction with different population groups and those currently under-represented in a range of ways. This will include engaging in new ways with relevant populations to understand their perspectives better.

The UK Statistics Authority will play a central role in identifying and promoting initiatives to improve interaction and build trust with survey and research participants, facilitating sharing of guidance and good practice across the UK statistical system.

Current and planned work

  • ONS is developing a ‘Social Contract’’ with research participants on the information they choose to share. This will provide clear information on why data are being collected, confidentiality and security arrangements and details on how their information will be used and shared. We will work with stakeholders to develop this product and test with relevant groups and populations in advance of an expected launch in summer 2022.
  • Since the launch of the recommendations, the UK Statistics Authority’s Centre for Applied Data Ethics has published guidance for analysts on ethical considerations in ensuring inclusivity of data for research and statistics. This emphasises the use of self-reporting of personal characteristics and includes specific guidance in relation to collecting data from children and young people.
  • The new ONS Survey Strategy outlines a future vision for surveys and has the overall intent of maximising the ability for data users to deliver statistics for the public good following the Statistics Authority Code of Practice. The strategy and supporting roadmap will ensure that the recommendations of the IDTF are embedded in all ONS surveys.

  • As part of the User Engagement Strategy for Statistics, ONS will be establishing an Engagement Hub to ensure that we reach the widest possible set of users to reflect the entire population, making recommendations on how we collect, analyse and present analysis and statistics in ONS and across government. The hub is being established in 2022.
  • Building on the 2021 Census community outreach in England and Wales, ONS will continue to engage through 2022 and 2023 with under-represented groups, to ensure their needs are reflected both in the analysis and outputs of the Census and in the research and plans for the National Statistician’s recommendation on the future of the census and population statistics, as well as a much broader set of statistics and analysis.
  • As per the 2021 Census community engagement model, ONS will evaluate the feasibility of engaging with under-represented community groups in the context of voluntary household surveys in 2022.
  • Department for Education will continue to build trust with school and college teachers and leaders via the School and College Panel, including sharing results to enable dialogue on key topics whilst allowing those on the ground to have their say with complete anonymity.
  • Kings College London will continue to use Citizen Science to collect data with communities, working with them to build relationships, and engaging participants in collecting data, establishing a different, more inclusive and engaging form of data collection.

  • The Government Analysis Function will work in partnership with the analytical professions across government to deliver its Diversity and Inclusion strategy, aiming to create a truly diverse and inclusive analysis community that is reflective of the UK society we serve. Priorities for 2022 include launching a mutual mentoring programme, further dissemination of our function’s first inclusion tool kit and continued roll out of development events for underrepresented groups.
  • In line with both the ONS People Strategy and its new Survey Strategy, ONS will aim to ensure that its workforce is fully representative of the people we serve. ONS Surveys Directorate is committed to exploring in 2022 the diversity and representativeness of its workforce, including social survey interviewer recruitment, to develop recommendations to address any potential barriers, so that it can create a more diverse workforce involved in collecting data from the public.
  • ONS will endeavour to include commitment to inclusivity and diversity of staff deployed in collection of data in contracted surveys when contract renewals arise.
  • As part of the recommendations of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, the Home Office has committed to updating its diversity and inclusion strategy and will publish Workforce Diversity Statistics on an annual basis from the end of March 2022.
  • The Office for Students (OfS) has put in place Equality, Diversity and Inclusion targets to create greater diversity within the workforce and lead to a step change in the way the organisation works, resulting in better outcomes for the organisation and those on whose behalf they regulate. The characteristics of OfS staff will be monitored on a quarterly basis with annual publications of progress against targets.

  • ONS is undertaking a review of operational processes involved in collecting data in our current portfolio of social surveys to determine the barriers to taking part, including among those underrepresented in the statistics. This will enable the design of operational processes where barriers are prevented, removed, or mitigated against. Identifying barriers and proposing solutions will be completed in 2022, followed by research to identify the optimal solutions to implement.
  • ONS is transforming its portfolio of household surveys and moving to an online first mode of collection, with other modes (telephone and face-to-face) supporting data collection where appropriate. This work will build on several years research into transforming our social surveys so that they are digital by default. This multi-mode approach will ensure that those respondents who cannot or prefer not to complete the survey online are also given an opportunity to participate, and to address barriers to completion experienced by non-English speakers, those who are not digitally enabled, and other potential barriers to completion. In 2022 we will further test and evaluate our mixed-mode approach to enable decisions to be made on our future survey data collection design. Specific work includes:
    • ONS will explore the feasibility of delivering a multi-mode digital first Covid Infection Study, with telephone interviews to support non-digital participants and home testing kits to support non-mobile participants. This will be delivered in Summer
    • The Crime Survey for England and Wales will also offer a multimodal survey to minimise the barriers to participation, subject to funding approval. While work to develop this alternative design is taking place, ONS continues face-to-face interviewing (as appropriate during the Covid-19 pandemic), to enable the collection of personal experiences only possible with this mode. This will enable analysis of crime statistics by gender identity in 2023 and analysis of hate crime based on a 3-year pooled dataset in 2025. The transformed multi-modal survey is expected to be delivered in 2024.
    • ONS will evaluate response by different characteristics on the Time Use Survey in 2022 to understand practical barriers to participation and if adjustments are needed to address them. Based on this, further user research will be undertaken in 2023, including reviewing the instrument for different population groups and younger populations, to explore the feasibility of collection directly from children.
  • During 2022, the Scottish Government’s Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP) will consider commissioning independent research with people with lived experience of holding different and intersecting protected characteristics to explore response issues and barriers to participation in surveys. The findings of this research will be used to develop best practice guidance to help public sector data collectors improve their response rates.
  • During 2021/22, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will undertake work to understand the impact of incentives on the uptake of the Participation Survey, to identify how best to enhance inclusiveness of their surveys. The Department will continue to issue paper questionnaires to those unable to participate in digital surveys and monitor requests for surveys in languages other than English, to enhance the accessibility of survey tools.
  • The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has published its first formal reporting on diversity data and will publish data annually to understand the impediments in its systems, and biases in its processes, which have led to some communities, particularly some ethnic groups and people with disabilities, being under-represented in research. NIHR will introduce programmes of change, for example as part of its fellowship and research professorship programmes, testing plans with relevant communities to ensure that they are deploying resources to the areas of greatest need.
  • City, University of London has worked alongside third sector organisations in the Violence Against Women and Girls sector to improve data collection instruments. New data collection systems for some third sector providers will be in place in 2022.

  • ONS is exploring ways to incorporate survey design variables into publicly available Wealth and Assets Survey datasets, taking disclosure into account, to allow users to calculate meaningful quality indicators from the public data. Scoping will be carried out in 2022, with implementation to follow dependent on the outcome.
  • City, University of London, Violence and Society Centre will produce an epistemological account of the barriers to access and use of data and potential solutions, based on discussions amongst academic contributors and data providers, which will be published in 2023.

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