1. Our priorities

Our analytical work spans a wide range of cross-cutting topic areas including:

  • The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on our economy and society
  • gender and ethnic pay gaps
  • intergenerational fairness
  • social and financial exclusion
  • social mobility
  • inclusive growth
  • health and place-based inequalities

We aim to build on the measurement framework developed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, exploring how protected characteristic groups are affected by current social and policy issues and how multiple characteristics come together to shape people's experiences. Our aim is to develop multidisciplinary project teams to take this forward. If you have an idea for collaboration or would like to receive regular updates from us, please get in touch.

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2. Latest ONS releases on equalities

Past experiences of housing difficulties in the UK, 2018: this October 2020 release uses data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey in the UK in 2018, which included an ad-hoc module on past experiences of housing difficulties. This analysis looks at past experiences of housing difficulties to understand the extent, causes, methods of exit, current situations, and associated factors. This is the first time we have used retrospective data to examine housing difficulties.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on young and older people in Great Britain: these two publications explore indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on young and older people in Great Britain. This release used five waves of survey results covering the period from 3 April 2020 to 10 May 2020.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain, July 2020: this article provides an update to the May 2020 article and allows for a comparison of how the social impacts on disabled people have changed when compared with earlier in the pandemic. The analysis is based on indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. Insights from qualitative research commissioned by the Cabinet Office Disability Unit and conducted by Policy Lab help illustrate how these indicators can be experienced by disabled people in day-to-day life.

Exploring religion in England and Wales: these articles explore the data available on people of different religious identities across a number of areas of life. Indications of possible differences between groups are provided and the quality of the data is considered along with plans to build on its strengths and address its limitations.

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3. Equalities data development

Our aim is to work with others to make better use of existing data sources and to develop new ones where necessary, taking advantage of the opportunities arising from the Digital Economy Act 2017 to ensure that the right data are available to address the main social and policy questions about fairness and equity in UK society. The Centre continues to take stock of existing data on the full range of protected characteristic groups in the Equality Act 2010 and works collaboratively with others to make resources for equalities analysis more accessible to a wide range of researchers.

The Centre is also responsible for the Equalities data audit, which looks at the availability of data across the protected characteristics in the Equality Act (2010). The Centre is committed to developing and maintaining the audit as a resource, alongside exploring ways of providing an explorable tool to enable the information in the audit to be presented in a more user-friendly format. This audit is also the basis for a disability evidence inventory, which is part of a collaboration between the Centre and the Disability Unit of the Cabinet Office to support the National Strategy for Disabled People.

Further collaborative work from the Centre has resulted in Published research outputs of the feasibility study that links the All Education Dataset for England (AEDE) to the 2011 Census. This Proof of Concept (PoC) dataset brings together information relating to personal characteristics of children and their family members with their educational attainment; this enables insights to better understand the effect of factors such as personal and familial characteristics and geography on educational outcomes. These data were produced in partnership with Admin Data Research UK (ADR UK) and the office of the Children's Commissioner for England (CCO) as part of the Data for Children Partnership. These research outputs are not official statistics, however future iterations of these data currently under development have the potential to give us far better insight into some of the factors affecting educational attainment.

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4. Best practice methods

An important initiative of the Centre is to identify and share best practice methods in equalities data collection and analysis. As part of this, we are working closely with the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Harmonisation Team to consider how more consistent methods of measurement can be developed, applied and disseminated. An example of this is the July 2020 Gender identity harmonised principle for data collection.

We are also considering how best to include those who may be under-represented in our statistics, such as those not living in private households. We have been working with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to investigate existing and alternative ways in which "non-household" populations can be counted in measures of living standards, including poverty and destitution, and personal well-being. This is to complement existing statistics, which rely overwhelmingly on household surveys. We have published a summary of the findings from initial scoping work, carried out by Heriot-Watt University in association with Kantar Public. The full report is available on the Heriot-Watt University website.

The Centre chairs the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) taskforce on measuring social exclusion, representing the UK on the statistics for children, adolescents and youth.

The Centre was also a member of the Subgroup on Equality Data Collection associated with the European Union (EU) High Level Group on Non-discrimination. The Centre, whilst a member of this group, contributed to the development of new EU Guidelines on improving the collection and use of equality data, published in March 2019. The group also co-produced a Compendium of Practices on Equality Data which included several projects from the UK.

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6. Contact us

  • Dawn Snape
  • Email: equalities@ons.gov.uk
  • Phone: +44 (0)1633 455674
  • Twitter: @DawnSnape
  • We have a newsletter which brings together the work of the Centre as well as wider teams across ONS in the equalities sphere. Please email equalities@ons.gov.uk to subscribe. Alternatively, from ONS email alerts ‘Subscription Topics’ expand the ‘PPA’ option and select/tick ‘Equalities’.
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