Chair’s foreword

Picture of Dame Moira Gibb

I am pleased to present the report of the Inclusive Data Taskforce and the recommendations we have developed to help achieve a more inclusive data system.

The taskforce was established in October 2020, with the goal of ensuring that data and evidence across the UK is reflective and inclusive of all, so that everyone in society counts and is counted and no one is left behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has provided the context for all of our work, has highlighted just how important good and timely data is for public policy and society. Inclusive data helps us understand how events impact differentially on individuals, groups and communities. In turn this must enable those responsible in government, local authorities and wider society, and all of us as individuals and communities, to address the disparities and inequalities which exist in the UK in 2021.

The taskforce has brought together a range of expertise, including senior academics and civil society leaders; on subjects such as social and economic inequalities, ethnicity and identity; qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and research ethics. I am grateful to them for their hard work and their willingness to meet the tight deadlines to which we had to work. Like me, they deeply appreciate the support and hard work of the ONS team who have supported us so ably throughout. We have looked at how inclusivity can be improved across the research process from study design, data mapping, data collection, data analysis through to the presentation of findings.

As part of our process, we conducted extensive consultation and engagement. We gathered a range of insights to examine the current comprehensiveness of UK data and evidence. We sought to understand what works well and what could be improved, the gaps and barriers to achieving more inclusive data, the impacts of data not being fully inclusive, and how inclusivity can be improved.

I am grateful to everyone who took part and contributed their time, views, experiences and ideas for solutions and ways forward. The taskforce has been struck by the willingness of people to engage with the consultation activities, to organise events themselves and to send their work to us. The contributions of so many different individuals and groups have been integral to our deliberations and recommendations. They have helped us better understand how data inclusivity might be achieved in practice.

Consultation of the depth and breadth carried out was only possible given our timescale because of the team at the ONS Centre for Equalities and Inclusion, who worked tirelessly on our behalf on engagement, consultation and research, gathering and building the evidence base for this report.

I believe our recommendations will land on fertile ground, given the contributions we have received from so many quarters, which is reassuring as there is much to be done.

We hope that the recommendations outlined in this report, which are extensive and comprehensive, will help chart a way forward in improving the representativeness of UK data and evidence, so that the voices and experiences of all are better reflected in the future.

Dame Moira Gibb, Chair of the Inclusive Data Taskforce
July 2021

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