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.  

Our approach

We will engage a broader range of people to understand how to make data and evidence more accessible, while ensuring data security, and take action to improve accessibility.

Government data producers are reviewing their outputs to assess accessibility and ensure adoption of accessibility standards. The development of the Integrated Data Service (IDS) by ONS will play a key role in future accessibility to data and enabling improved intersectional analysis.

ONS is developing the IDS to significantly improve and increase access to, and use of, data from across the UK, by analysts in UK Government Departments, Devolved Administrations, the National Health Service (NHS) and Local Authorities. This service is designed to enable quick and convenient access to researchers, while protecting confidentiality of data subjects at all times, using extensive technical and operational controls, and robust and transparent governance.

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Current and planned work

  • The ONS Centre for Equalities and Inclusion will facilitate consideration of development of a centralised, explorable and accessible UK-wide equalities data and analysis resource in the context of the development of the Integrated Data Service.
  • Home Office will continue to develop its statistical releases to ensure that they are suitable for expert and non-expert users. This will include increasing the number of datasets available in an open-data format for users to conduct their own analyses. In addition, a programme of work is underway to continue to improve the accessibility of all Home Office statistical releases, including reducing the number of PDF documents used and increasing the availability of statistics published in HTML format.
  • Ofqual have been leading a data openness initiative with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and ONS (the GRADE data sharing project) to share data on GCSE and A level students, making 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 in 2020 and in particular on protected groups. Data for the period 2017 to 2020 is now available, with 2021 data to be made available by late Spring 2022. Further data will be shared in the future depending on demand.

  • ONS is developing data landscaping tools to help users navigate published crime and justice statisticsIn 2022, the tool will be published collating published data on crime harm measures.
  • The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub will research user needs for explorative data dashboards which will be driven from their Equality Data Store. Work to build, test and release dashboards will take place during 2022 with further iterations in response to user feedback in 2023.
  • Scottish Government will continue to update and improve the Equality Evidence Finder (EEF), liaising with users to ensure it meets needs.
  • Welsh Government are exploring moving their interactive National Survey results viewer from Excel format to a web-based format. This will improve accessibility while maintaining the simplicity that is important to users.
  • The Department for Education is continuing development of a dissemination platform for official statistics (Explore Education Statistics) which ensures consistent open data standards across all publications and provides ease of access to all published data via an accessible web service. This enables users to create summary tables and undertake secondary analysis via a self-service table builder. Functionality of the service will be improved iteratively through the public beta phase based on user feedback. Alongside this, the Department for Education is also considering the use of complimentary dashboards (via R Shiny or PowerBI) to sit alongside their published Official Statistics to further increase the accessibility of data and analysis.
  • Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be further developing their online Outcome Indicator Framework for the 25 Year Environment Plan dashboard, which enables users to explore plots across a range of environmental themes. The dashboard will be updated in mid-2022.
  • Office for Students will review the technology used to produce data dashboards to enable better access to data for users and reduce accessibility issues. Depending on the outcome of the review, any improvements should be implemented in 2023.

  • ONS is putting resources in place to establish a review of accessible communications and make recommendations for an effective and sustainable approach for ONS.
  • As part of its work to develop the National Statistician’s recommendation on the future of the census and population statistics, ONS will be seeking feedback on its publications and website on an ongoing basis to identify new and innovative ways to engage diverse audiences. This work will be ongoing until the submission of the recommendations in 2023.
  • ONS will continue to promote adoption of government accessibility standards in outputs across the UK statistical system. Current activities include:
    • The Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub digital team will commission an accessibility audit on the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website in 2022 and again in 2025, alongside ongoing accessibility testing for any new products and services. This is to ensure analysis and data are presented in a clear and accessible way, including in relation to the language used.
    • Where the Cabinet Office’s Equality Hub collects or reports data, the outputs will be developed according to the Government Service Standard, which includes principles on (1) understanding users and their needs and (2) how to make services usable and accessible to all. The data publishing process will include understanding the users of the data and any specific needs. This will be undertaken on an ongoing basis as new outputs are developed.
    • During the ongoing development of its Explore Education Statistics platform, the Department for Education has, and will continue to test the accessibility of the service on a regular basis to ensure compliance with regulations.
    • Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will be reviewing the National Statistics compendium of Biodiversity Indicators for accessibility and developing recommendations for further improvements. The report and recommendations will be published in mid-2022. Defra is also undertaking ongoing work to migrate other existing publications to HTML format and expand production of datasets and other enhanced content to fully meet user needs.
    • Office for Students has set up an internal analytical working group to review and update guidance to its analysts on accessibility issues so that future data releases will be accessible. On an ongoing basis, accessibility champions will continue to promote and support the production of accessible data products.
    • Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will continue to review accessibility requirements and implement improvements across outputs to better meet user needs.
    • Kings College London has produced guidance on making data more accessible to engage citizens with data and increase their understanding of it.
    • The ONS Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) team will ensure the UK SDG Data site meets AA accessibility standard [of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1)] by reassessment and certification in Summer 2022.

  • The Department for Education will make public more data from the English School Census in relation to Free School Meals (FSM), including FSM eligibility over the previous 6 years within the main national statistics on pupil characteristics; this is in response to public interest.
  • The Office for Students will publish additional student characteristics, not reported elsewhere, as part of their existing annual publications on equality and diversity among higher education students and their educational outcomes, together with data quality information. These will be published initially in Summer 2022 and then on an ongoing basis annually.
  • Scottish Government will analyse individual, or household based National Performance Framework (NPF) indicators to identify the extent to which equality breakdowns are available and for each indicator set out a plan to either allow analysis of the existing indicator by protected characteristic or to identify an alternative means to provide evidence.

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