Dame Julia Cleverdon (Chair)
Tina Chui (Statistics Canada)
Dr Evelyn Collins (former Equality Commission for Northern Ireland)
Professor Jenny Gibson (University of Cambridge, Nesta)
Professor Anthony Heath (University of Oxford)
Professor Uzo Iwobi (Race Council Cymru)
Professor Tom Shakespeare (LSHTM)
Celestin Okoroji, on behalf of Lela Kogbara (Black Thrive Global)
Alison Morgan (item 3 only)
Nick Woodhill (item 3 only)
Marie John (item 3 only)
Charlie Hales (item 3 only)
Lily Makurah (Shadowing the Chair)
Richard Laux (Cabinet Office, item 3 only)
Rachel Beardsmore (Cabinet Office, item 3 only)
Kim Swain (Welsh Government)
Adam Garside (Welsh Government)
Jon Hunter (Scottish Government)
Debra Prestwood (ONS)
Sam Freedman (Institute for Government)
Lela Kogbara (Black Thrive Global)
Professor Shannon Vallor (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Milly Zimeta (Former Director of Policy, Open Data Institute)
1. Welcome and Introductions
The Chair welcomed members to the third meeting of the NSIDAC and began by noting a change to the Committee membership, with Shaida Badiee stepping down from her position on the Committee due to resource and capacity constraints. Shaida has offered to support the work of the Committee on request. The Chair advised she would be seeking to invite two new members and welcomed suggestions via correspondence.
The Chair then noted apologies from those absent and thanked Milly Zimeta for sending her comments on the papers in advance. She noted the growing action log from previous meetings and emphasised her gratitude for those progressing actions between meetings. Anthony Heath provided a short update on an exchange between himself and Lela Kogbara on examining the granularity of ethnicity and disability data available from the Labour Force Survey.
2. IDTF Implementation Progress and Annual Review
Louise Vesely-Shore (ONS) presented on Q4 2022 progress towards implementing the recommendations of the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF). The update included work to progress the social contract recommendation (Inclusive Data Principle 1.1), with subsequent discussion by members of the importance of ensuring all four UK nations help to inform this work. They requested further information relating to the Equalities Data Asset project (to be presented to the committee at the April meeting) and asked about the costs associated with this implementation work, suggesting this may be a helpful addition to the Annual Report.
Louise presented details of the new sub-committee of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Analysis and Evaluation Committee, which will focus on inclusive data. This Inclusive Data Sub-committee (IDSC) was due to meet in January 2023, but was postponed due to staff illness. It will now be convened in May. Members welcomed the opportunity to engage with this committee, requesting further details of the membership.
Plans for publication of an annual review of the progress towards the commitments outlined in the IDTF Implementation Plan published in January 2022 were outlined. Members welcomed the proposals, emphasising the importance of defining the audience for the review, and how best to communicate an offer for further translations on request.
Action: Evelyn Collins to share the opportunity to contribute to the work on the social contract (IDP1.1) with colleagues in Northern Ireland.
Action: Louise Vesely-Shore to consider how best to calculate the costs of the work being carried out in relation to the IDTF by ONS and others.
Action: ONS to share information about the Equality Data Asset to committee members prior to the next meeting (where a presentation about it will be given).
Action: ONS to circulate information about the membership of the new Inclusive Data Sub-committee (IDSC) to NSIDAC, once confirmed.
Action: Committee members to share any further reflections about content and format for the annual review with Louise.
3. Progress Towards Improving the Inclusivity of Ethnicity Data
John Shale (ONS) introduced the session, before handing over to other presenters to discuss their work relating to ethnicity data. Sarah Wood (ONS) highlighted insights from the 2021 England and Wales Census and was congratulated by the Committee on the analysis. Discussion focused on the complexity of capturing ethnicity data, and its relation to other ethno-cultural concepts such as language and religion. Tina Chui encouraged the ONS team to think about these concepts alongside ethnicity, offering to share insights from the Canadian experience. Celestin Okoroji encouraged the team to consider accessibility of ethnicity data, how it could be shared more widely, and further analyses that could better serve individual and community interests.
Nick Woodhill and Marie John (ONS) presented work by the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation Team to review the ethnicity harmonised standard. Marie described research by her team to capture cultural understandings of ethnicity, assessing strengths and limitations of the current ethnicity question sets. Findings from the research will be published in March 2023 and be used to inform updates to the standard.
Alison Morgan (ONS) presented on ONS work exploring the feasibility of producing population statistics from administrative data, focusing particularly on ethnic group estimates. Alison described their methods and current limitations of the approach. Members focused on challenges to be overcome such as missing data, and Alison clarified the current approach used to address this.
In response to written queries received from members unable to attend, Alison also clarified aspects of the terminology used in the written description of the methods used and invited suggestions on how to make it more inclusive.
Richard Laux (Equality Hub, Cabinet Office) provided an overview of work undertaken by the Equality Hub to implement the ‘Inclusive Britain’ recommendations. This includes working with the ONS Harmonisation Team on terminology to improve data collection. Richard invited members’ views on the balance of priorities relating to continuity versus change, as data continuity is required to understand change over time and between geographies, while change helps to ensue data is relevant and reflects societal shifts. Members discussed a desire to control for confounding factors in ethnicity data (for example, age and location in unemployment statistics), and encouraged the production of adjusted figures where possible, for greater robustness. Richard confirmed that this is the ambition of the Hub.
Adam Garside presented an overview of the work undertaken by the Welsh Government’s Race Disparity Evidence Unit. Their focus has been on identifying evidence available to implement and monitor the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan, and as part of this, they are auditing the availability of ethnicity data in all sources used and created by Welsh Government. They are also assessing the feasibility of analysing the ethnicity pay gap in Wales and boosting sample sizes ethnic minority groups in the National Survey for Wales.
John Shale noted that colleagues from Northern Ireland were invited to share an update on ethnicity data in Northern Ireland but were unable to do so in the required timescales. John also shared an update provided by Scottish Government on their Equality Data Improvement Programme, and their new Equality Evidence Strategy to be published this Spring. Scottish Government colleagues are currently working on their Census analysis, and work is underway to look at how best to produce coherent UK-wide census analysis.
Discussion focused on how to ensure coordination and coherence among the different workstreams involving ethnicity data. Members also expressed an interest in engaging with ONS on statistics relating to workforce diversity. The Chair requested a meeting with the National Statistician to consider how inclusivity is being promoted in ONS’s own workforce.
Action: Tina Chui offered to share insights from the Canadian experience related to ethnicity data; ONS to facilitate this contact.
4. Committee Agenda Forward Look
Time did not allow for discussion of the forward agenda. Members were invited to send in comments and suggestions by correspondence. The Chair noted the Committee’s previous discussion on agenda items and enthusiasm for further information about children’s data.
Members were also advised that updates on topics previously discussed will be shared in writing.
5. Any other business
Richard Laux (Cabinet Office) extended an invitation to committee members to assist with upcoming workshops exploring potential funding streams for the proposed national survey on disability. Further details to be circulated via email.
It was also agreed the ONS team would circulate presentation slides to members following each meeting.
Action: Richard Laux (Cabinet Office) to send further information about the proposed disability survey funding workshops to committee members.
The papers that informed this board meeting are attached as a PDF document for transparency. If you would like an accessible version of the attached papers, please contact us at email@example.com