Robust Equality Data Collection

16th June 2015

Equality & Diversity Consultant Vernal Scott looks at how Robust equality data collection is intrinsic to effective management.

Data collection and analysis should be integral to any medium to large organisation involving people as current or potential employees, service users and customers your people.

Knowing the profile and satisfaction levels of your people through data analysis will help managers to ascertain where improvements are needed, but also where the successes are too.

How can equality data create an equitable organisation?

In diversity-conscious organisations, equality data is collected to ascertain the success or not of related policies and strategies, and inform decision-making and planning with a view to delivering fairer outcomes for everyone, regardless of their equality characteristics.

It makes good business sense to use the collected data to specifically address areas where its analysis suggests action is needed. The data can be used to justify a case for change. It might reveal that diversity and equality are effective and working well in most areas of your organisation, but may also reveal the need to take action in another.

What is best practice in equality data collection?

Training in best practice in respect of data collection is highly recommended. Everyone should understand why data is collected, how it will be used, and how it will be protected. Publish or share the data across the organisation, and beyond, so that your people know what progress has been made and what has yet to be achieved. As a minimum, data should include feedback from the people who are most directly involved with your business.

As good practice and where possible, equality data should seek to reflect the Equality Characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, e.g. Age, Gender, Race, Disability etc. It is also good practice to learn from the success achieved by your competitors.

Data can be collected via paper or electronic surveys, consultation opportunities, by phone and by anonymised post boxes. Evaluation of given activities are another standard way of ascertaining the experience of your people. The processes or methods used need to have integrity and stand up to robust scrutiny. In essence, data is evidence of actual experiences. Without it, organisations are vulnerable to assumptions and perceptions that may or may not be accurate.

Managers should give consideration to ensure confidentiality and to ensure questions are sensitive and as non-intrusive as possible. Some find asking and answering questions about sexuality particularly challenging.

The answer is to give the entire context for asking the question in the first place, such as: We are keen to make sure that the work place is friendly to all our staff and service users, including people who identify as LGBT. We would therefore appreciate you answering the following questions:

How do you collect equality data in your organisation?

These are just some examples of how you should go about collecting robust equality data in your organisation.

Marshall’s Equality Data course‘ provides an excellent introduction or refresher in understanding the context, range, constituents and uses of equality data.

For a free demonstration of Marshall’s new course or to find out more about our other e-learning courses, please call us on 0845 123 3909 or justcomplete this short form‘ and we’ll be in touch very soon.

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