Data collection and recording – UK Government assessment
There have been legal or policy changes to improve human rights protections and evidence of some sustained progress in the enjoyment of human rights related to this issue. However on some of these rights, or for some groups, there has not been comparative progress
The UK Government has introduced various measures to improve the collection of equality data, with specific action to improve ethnicity and disability data. There remains a lack of robust data disaggregated by pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment and sexual orientation, although the inclusion of questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2021 Census will improve the evidence base. There has been progress in addressing many data gaps identified by UN treaty bodies, although further work is needed to improve data quality and address gaps in some areas, such as the collection of data on restraint in schools.
- The collection of disaggregated data is important to ensure the full enjoyment of people’s rights, including the rights to equality and non-discrimination. Some positive steps have been taken to improve the collection of equalities data, including through the equalities data audit carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The commitment to improve the inclusivity of data in the UK Statistical Authority’s strategic plan has been progressed by establishing the Inclusive Data Taskforce.
- There has also been action to improve the data collection for certain groups: for example, the publication of the gender identity data harmonised standard is intended to improve the collection of comparable and disaggregated data on gender identity.
- The development of the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website by the Race Disparity Unit has improved the compilation of ethnicity data. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has also motivated further action to improve the quality of ethnicity data and analysis, and the consistency of use of harmonised ethnicity categories across the UK Government.
- Since 2019, the ONS has published a range of datasets, disaggregated by impairment type, to improve the collection of disability data across the UK.
- The 2021 Census aimed to capture data across eight of the nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act, as well as other socio-economic factors and geographical variations. For the first time, the census captured data in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.
- The lack of robust published data disaggregated by pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment and sexual orientation in national data sources across England and Wales represents a distinct barrier to analysing the human rights experiences of these groups.
- While concerns remain in certain areas, the UK Government has made progress in addressing many data gaps identified by UN treaty bodies. For example:
- In 2017, NHS Digital published the first national prevalence survey of children and young people’s mental health in England since 2004.
- The ONS is undertaking a feasibility survey to determine whether a national survey on the scale and nature of child abuse could provide an improved source of data.
- Since April 2017, data on the use of Tasers has been included in police use of force statistics in England and Wales, and has been disaggregated by age.
- The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Home Office collect and publish data on the number of complaints, investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sentences in cases of gender-based violence, including rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse.
- Despite recommendations from UN treaty bodies, there is no data collected and published on psychotropic drugs prescribed to children, and there is currently no standardised data about the use of restraint in schools in England and Wales.
Read more about the UK Government’s actions on data collection and recording.