An Introduction to the Equality Data Improvement Programme

September 30, 2021 by No Comments | Category Public Sector, Working in statistics

I’m Roanna Simpson, an analyst in the Equality Analysis Team within the Scottish Government. Our team leads on a new Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP) and this is the first in a series of blogs aimed at providing an update on the progress of this work.

The new EDIP is a multi-phase programme of work that aims to strengthen Scotland’s equality evidence base which will in turn enable policy makers to develop sound and inclusive policy to improve service delivery and outcomes for people in Scotland with protected equality characteristics.

The first phase of the EDIP, which will conclude in December 2022, has two key aims: to share learning and good practice and data development. Through the sharing of learning and good practice we aim to build knowledge and skills required to analyse, report and use equality data across the Scottish Government and wider public sector. We will work to understand the barriers to data collection, analysis and reporting, as well as to build immediate capacity through the sharing of evidence-based learning and good practice. Through data development we will seek to increase the availability of robust equality datasets. We aim to improve the accessibility, robustness and use of existing equality data. We will also establish new equality datasets to fill gaps, and help undertake domain-specific equality data improvements.

An EDIP Project Board has been established, chaired jointly by the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician and Chief Social Researcher. The Project Board brings together Scottish Government officials with representatives from a range of external partner public sector bodies with a key interest in mainstreaming equalities. Over the next 18 months, the Project Board will provide valuable support and strategic input into the design and delivery of projects, support join-up across the public sector and contribute to the identification of sources of practical expertise and guidance in equality data analysis.

We have also established an internal network of lead analysts from each analytical area in the Scottish Government. The network will undertake a number of actions to deliver on the aims and ambitions of the first phase of the EDIP. The network is currently underway with the first action – an audit of protected characteristic data collected and published in key datasets used to produce official or national statistics, update indicators in our National Performance Framework or inform Ministerial decision making. Early next year, we will use the results of the audit to develop an action plan for equality data improvement in each analytical area.

The team has also been underway with a number of other projects within the EDIP. In July we held the first in a series of analytical gatherings focusing on exploring best practice in, as well as issues related to, data collection for the protected characteristics. This first session focused on race and ethnicity data, with presentations from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, Fair Start Scotland and the Scottish Government Data and Intelligence Network focussing on a range of themes, including data linkage and methods to increase minority ethnic sample sizes by, for example, pooling samples by combining multiple years’ worth of surveys. Over 50 Scottish Government analysts and policy officials were in attendance and we hope that these colleagues learnt techniques that they can apply to their own work to strengthen their equality analysis.

Our equality data platform, the Equality Evidence Finder, has been updated with a range of new equality evidence, including revising school leaver attainment and destinations data across the protected characteristics of disability, ethnicity, and gender, plus socio-economic status. Work continues to ensure that the Equality Evidence Finder is as effective as possible at providing clear and accessible equality data. If you have any feedback on the platform, please get in touch with us at

We hope that this blog was useful, and we look forward to providing another update soon on our intersectionality project. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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