- Dame Julia Cleverdon (Chair)
- Tina Chui (Statistics Canada)
- Dr Evelyn Collins (Equality Commission for Northern Ireland)
- Sam Freedman (Institute for Government)
- Jenny Gibson (University of Cambridge, Nesta)
- Professor Anthony Heath (University of Oxford)
- Professor Uzo Iwobi (Race Council Cymru, joined end of Item 3)
- Lela Kogbara (Black Thrive Global)
- Sir Tom Shakespeare (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
- Dr Milly Zimeta (Open Data Institute)
- Lorenz Noe, on behalf of Shaida Badiee (Open Data Watch)
- Sir Ian Diamond (introduction only)
- Liz McKeown
- Debra Prestwood
- Dawn Snape
- Louise Vesely-Shore
- Tina Fahimipour
- Louise Fryer
- Paola Serafino
- John Shale (until item 4)
- Nick Woodhill (item 4 only)
- Ama Sankoh (item 5 only)
- Lizzie Shelmerdine (item 5 only)
- Sarah Moore (item 6 only)
- Lucy Bryant (item 6 only)
- Professor Shannon Vallor (University of Edinburgh)
1. Welcome and Introductory Address
- The Chair welcomed the members to the inaugural meeting of the NSIDAC, thanking them for volunteering their time and expertise. She emphasised the importance of the Committee, to provide independent advice and scrutiny on improving the inclusivity of UK evidence and data.
- Dame Julia then handed over to the National Statistician Sir Ian Diamond, who discussed the importance of addressing this multi-faceted and multi-variate issue with passion. He emphasised how critical inclusivity is as data and evidence exists only with the permission of people to use their data, with the aim of improving their lives. Therefore, if we do not address a marginalised group, or how a policy or system is impacting everyone, we let the entire nation down. Sir Ian highlighted there is cross-system support for improving the inclusivity of our data.
- He then outlined that he wants the Committee to be an independent group of respected people to offer advice on how to do things differently, better, and what else we can try. Sir Ian encouraged the Committee to be completely honest with us about how we are doing.
- Sir Ian finished by thanking everyone and stating he looks forward to coming and hearing their deliberations in future.
2. What would you like the Committee to achieve/what does success look like
- Dame Julia led a discussion with the Committee members on what their ambitions were, and how we would know if the work being undertaken to implement the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF) recommendations has been successful.
- The members expressed positive support for the ambitious programme and what has already been done since the publication of the IDTF recommendations. They discussed ambitions focused on:
- Improving policy by improving data, ensuring policy makers understand the importance of inclusive data and make effective use of it.
- Ensuring under-represented population groups can express their views, so that we hear more from the highly marginalised groups in society.
- Mobilising knowledge so that it can be effectively used by everyone.
- Ensuring a communal approach to the development and interpretation of data, with sufficient granularity to support intersectional analysis.
- Sharing good practice and setting the gold standard for inclusive data internationally.
- Being mindful to ensure the efforts are redressing inequalities, using data to empower and advance issues of equality.
Action: Members expressed an interest in hearing from young people, and ONS will explore how to achieve this.
3. Terms of Reference
- Debra Prestwood invited members to comment on and agree the draft Terms of Reference (ToR).
- Members were supportive, indicating it was clear that the Committee will be independent, to scrutinise, challenge and advise ONS.
- The Committee provisionally approved the ToR.
Action: ONS to check with members not present, before formally agreeing the Terms of Reference.
4. IDTF Vision, Implementation Plan, Priorities and Progress
- Debra Prestwood explained the role ONS is taking in convening work to plan, monitor and report on progress across the UK statistical system, as well as carrying out activities in the published IDTF Implementation Plan. We are seeking to identify how we improve and embed inclusivity so that in five years’ time we do not need another IDTF. This is ambitious, promoting change across the UK statistical system, and not just within ONS.
- The presentation included contextual background on the vision of the IDTF and how we are taking forward their recommendations, as well as outlining proposals on how to monitor the work being completed. Key workstreams have been identified and mapped visually (the ‘Roadmap’), showing the proposed timescales for delivery and the current status of each (using a Red/Amber/Green system). It is proposed that this will be updated quarterly and shared with the Committee. It was noted that future funding is yet to be agreed to take forward all of the elements of the Roadmap, which in part will depend upon the outcomes of the various feasibility studies in train within ONS, the devolved administrations and other UK government departments.
- Debra also provided examples of some of the positive progress made to date. These range from qualitative studies ONS is undertaking to hear the lived experiences of currently under-represented population groups in data to feed into policy decisions, to providing data on the Cost of Living crisis and to inform the humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine.
- Members indicated they were impressed by the progress so far and the extensiveness of the Roadmap. Members discussed the importance and challenges associated with harmonisation of standards across the UK, which is reflected internationally, particularly focusing on challenges in education data, and understanding disadvantage/deprivation. It was agreed that further information regarding the work on harmonisation would be provided at the next meeting.
- Members acknowledged the positive work which has been undertaken with some underrepresented groups but were also keen to encourage further work on other populations, such as those in prison and the armed forces. Discussion included the need to ensure effective collaboration and information sharing across government departments. ONS proposed a ‘deep dive’ on people living outside private households at the next meeting.
- Members expressed they were keen to understand the professional working relationship ONS has with other government departments, and how they can best support driving progress.
Action: ONS to provide more information to Professor Anthony Heath on the issues that have delayed progress with the development of the ‘social contract’ for research participants.
Action: ONS to include an item at the next meeting to describe how we go about improving harmonisation of standards and definitions for data collection.
Action: ONS to include an item on people living outside private households and how best to improve measurement, at the next meeting.
5. Inclusive Data Taskforce Evaluation Plans
- Paola Serafino presented plans to evaluate the impact of work to implement the IDTF recommendations, supported by Ama Sankoh and Lizzie Shelmerdine from the ONS Central Evaluation Team. Paola provided an overview of the detailed Evaluation Plan which has been developed, which will assess progress against four identified impacts. The plan includes a balance of quantitative and qualitative measures, and ability to capture a baseline from 2021.
- Members indicated they were impressed with the proposals, although expressed caution about fully defining the metrics at this stage in the programme. The metrics relating to measuring trust were discussed, with members highlighting challenges around the multi-faceted and ambiguous nature of trust (also discussed in more detail during the next item). The importance of utilising the right methodologies was emphasised, along with ensuring all populations (for example, young people) are included.
Action: ONS will review the feedback provided by members and provide an update on evaluation plans at a suitable future meeting.
6. Creating an environment of trust and trustworthiness to Enable Greater Inclusion
- Dawn Snape presented this item, supported by Sarah Moore, ONS Communications and Digital Publishing, and Lucy Bryant, ONS Surveys. Dawn gave an overview of the recommendation made by the IDTF relating to creating an environment of improved trust and trustworthiness to encourage more people to supply their data. Dawn emphasised that trust and trustworthiness overarches everything we are trying to achieve, and discussed the four main initiatives currently underway:
- Developing a ‘social contract’ or ‘data charter’ for research participants
- How to improve and measure change in trust
- Extending engagement with the public and civil society
- Identifying and addressing barriers to people participating in research, including a programme of qualitative research to hear the views of currently under-represented groups in data
- Members welcomed the opportunity to discuss the issue, emphasising the importance of being open, honest and clear with people why data are being collected, how they are going to be used, and what the benefits will be, both directly for them now and potentially in the future. Members raised the need to consider how the purpose of data collection is communicated and how to ensure that all populations are included, whilst being mindful that repeated engagement may lead to some groups withdrawing, or experiencing response fatigue, reducing their inclusion.
- Members encouraged consideration of how existing institutions or relationships could be used to engage and collect data.
- Members highlighted that there needs to be true consent and choice to opt in/out, and consultations need to be meaningful and used to inform changes. Members discussed the importance of ensuring the methods used to collect data are accessible and tailored to the language and modes people are comfortable using. It was highlighted that there can be very practical ways of increasing accessibility which have the potential to increase trust.
- The importance of people having confidence that their data will be treated appropriately and protected was discussed, as well as recognising that people will trust different organisations/institutions differently and with different aspects of data.
- The benefits of including members from the group or population of interest in the review of data was highlighted, to ensure understanding and accurate interpretation of the data, as well as building statistical capacity amongst communities so that they can make direct use of the information which has been shared. Members queried how the ONS is approaching the issue of working with groups who perceive they have been previously wronged (for example, communities who may have been profiled or negatively treated on the basis of a particular characteristic).
- They expressed it was important to listen to understand rather than to defend.
- Members highlighted that people’s level of trust may not be related to objective measures, and whilst acknowledging the existing body of knowledge on trust, encouraged further research into what influences trust and perceptions of trustworthiness. Members indicated it would be beneficial to understand what contributed to an organisation being deemed trustworthy.
- Members highlighted that building trust can be a long process which requires investment, and it is important to acknowledge that conditions of trust are not static, they are dynamic and relational. They are not ‘one size fits all’ and are not going to be true for that community for all time and all use cases. Members also highlighted the benefit of being pragmatic, building on what is already there, and not looking for absolute trust, rather having the right levels of trust to get things done. Members encouraged a creative approach to building and assessing trust and discussed the potential for better understanding place-based trust.
Action: ONS will discuss internally how we engage with existing networks and institutions on collecting and disseminating data. ONS will review existing research and if there is further work in this space required to understand what contributes to improving trust and trustworthiness.
7. Committee Agenda Forward Look and Date of Next Meeting
- The Chair outlined plans for the next meeting, which is being organised for late November/early December. Items for discussion will include Harmonisation, Disability and Communal Establishments.
8. Any other business
- The Chair canvassed opinions on recording future meetings, which was supported by those present.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org