Annex C: Inclusive Data Taskforce recommendations

The Inclusive Data Taskforce, which was established by the National Statistician in October 2020, has set out eight principles to help make data in the UK more inclusive. Here we have set out the recommendations we consider are particularly pertinent to the findings of our review.

Inclusive Data Taskforce Recommendation 1

1. Create an environment of trust and trustworthiness which allows and encourages everyone to count and be counted in UK data and evidence.

1.1 Trust is crucially important for the collection and use of data and for inclusion in statistics. People are happy to provide their personal information when they believe that (1) their data matters and will be used to improve people’s lives and are convinced of the (2) reliability, (3) responsiveness, (4) openness and inclusiveness, (5) integrity and (6) fairness of the data producer. To enhance trust and trustworthiness in the provision and use of data, data producers should develop a social contract with those who provide their data (the respondents). This should include:

1.1.1 a clear explanation of why the data are being collected and how they will be used

1.1.2 the confidentiality and anonymity of respondents, if and why their information will be shared with third parties and under what circumstances, if any, de-anonymisation might occur

1.1.3 the provision of timely, free and accessible feedback to respondents

1.1.4 engaging with relevant groups and populations across the whole data process, seeking their advice and support with conceptualisation and planning, data collection, analysis and distribution

1.1.5 the public interest should prevail over organisational, political or personal interests at all stages in the production, management and dissemination of official statistics

This will help to address the most important issues for participants of data collection, to ensure that there are demonstrable benefits, and that the risks and costs to participants have been minimised.

1.2 Data producers should work together to undertake long-term engagement activities with relevant groups and populations in order to maintain open dialogue and build trustworthiness. This could be achieved through outreach, local-level knowledge building and recognition, reporting costs and benefits of engaging with data collection activities, and learning from previous data collection activities to address the costs and barriers to participation, such as the 2021/22 Censuses (see also recommendation 1.4)

1.3 Data producers should facilitate trust among potential participants and demonstrate their own trustworthiness by increasing diversity among their staff, including those directly collecting data from the public, and by ensuring that participants are all treated with equal respect.

1.4 Data producers should undertake appropriate research to identify the practical barriers to participation and implement best practice in data collection, including ethical considerations, to enhance the inclusiveness of the approaches taken. This might entail providing internet access to address the barriers for digitally excluded groups, and translators for those not fluent in English.

1.5 Data producers should ensure that data collection instruments are accessible to all, recognising differences in language, literacy, and the relative accessibility of different modes and formats. For example, using multi-mode surveys as standard practice and implementing additional adjustments to enable the participation of adults and children with a range of disabilities, and those who experience other forms of exclusion, including digital exclusion.

1.6 Data producers should avoid the use of proxy responses and ensure that the default approach is for self-reporting of personal characteristics, including, where appropriate, collecting information directly from children.

1.7 Practical barriers to the access and use of ensuing data should be investigated, as well as ways of promoting confidence in these data.

And further relevant recommendations from the Inclusive Data Taskforce:

3.7 Data producers should evaluate the coverage of non-private household population groups in UK data and take the necessary action to address those missing from the current data. In particular, ensuring longer-stay residents in care homes, hospitals, and prisons, and the turnover of people between private households and other (or no) residences is reflected.

5.1.1 As a priority, ONS should transition its measures of disability to approaches more firmly based upon the WHO ICF and ICF-CY biopsychosocial model conceptual frameworks.

7.4 Data producers should use harmonised standards when collecting data, or more granular systems which are compatible with the harmonised standards, to improve comparability and better use existing data.

8.4 Data producers should consider language, literacy, format and comprehension when presenting analysis and evidence, in line with the 2018 Accessibility Regulations, and produce accessible websites and outputs for diverse audiences, including the digitally excluded.

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