Race Disparity Audit Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

The Ethnicity Facts and Figures website

1.The Ethnicity Facts and Figures website is a welcome development in transparency and accessibility of data on inequalities facing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in the UK. The website has been positively received for its presentation, clarity and level of usability. (Paragraph 11)

2.Significant effort has gone into collecting and publishing the data on the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website. We welcome the commitment from the Cabinet Office to continuing to expand the published data sets. The Cabinet Office should publish a schedule for the addition of new data sets to the website and planned updates to the data already held on the site. We recommend that particular efforts are put into ensuring that data sets are robust enough to be comparable, including over time, and that regional variations can be seen. In future, the Government should consider including non-governmental sources of data in this resource. (Paragraph 17)

Data collection and data standards

3.The Government, led by the Cabinet Office, should adopt the same categories as are used in the Census as the minimum standard for data collection on ethnicity across Government departments, and work with individual departments to ensure that this happens in all official data sets and administrative data in the public services for which they are responsible. At present this means using the ‘18+1’ categories, but should the categories change for the 2021 Census, the Cabinet Office should take advice on how best to ensure comparability of data sets over time. (Paragraph 25)

4.The Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Office for National Statistics should work together to provide updated guidance for public bodies, service providers and employers on how to collect consistent ethnicity data and how public sector bodies should use that data to assess their compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty. (Paragraph 26)

5.The commitment of the Prime Minister to ending racial disparities in outcomes and public services, and the central role taken in this exercise by the Cabinet Office, together provide an opportunity for co-ordinated action to improve data collection and data standards on ethnicity and outcomes. (Paragraph 32)

6.We recommend that the Government publish an action plan to improve the consistency and robustness of the data it collects on the basis of ethnicity, to be implemented within 12 months. In the longer term, the Government should ensure that key data can be disaggregated to allow factors such as gender, age, region, socio-economic status and religion and belief to be taken into account alongside race and ethnicity. (Paragraph 33)

The policy response to the Audit

7.An individual departmental approach risks creating policy in isolation rather than taking multiple factors for disparities into account. Such policies are likely to be less effective. Although action by individual Government departments will be essential to achieving an effective response to the Race Disparity Audit, many of the most significant disparities will need to be tackled through cross-departmental action. (Paragraph 37)

8.Each Government department should publish its own ‘explain or change’ analysis of the Race Disparity Audit, setting out a timetabled plan for action and including cross-departmental analysis and action where necessary. However, we see the Cabinet Office’s role as much more than simply to “remind” departmental ministers of their responsibilities. A coherent cross-government approach is needed to demonstrate the best use of Government money in tackling the most important disparities. (Paragraph 41)

9.It will take time to identify, understand and design policy responses to the disparities revealed by the Audit. If the Government is serious about achieving real change, it will need to set priorities for action, and remain accountable for the results. A cross-departmental strategy would enable us to measure progress in the battle to defeat ethnic injustice. Central coordination was successfully exercised by the Cabinet Office in producing the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website. Such coordination also will be necessary in the future to ensure accountability and transparency as work progresses to tackle the disparities revealed. (Paragraph 42)

10.In order to enable us to hold Government to account in defeating ethnic injustice, we recommend that a cross-government race equality strategy be developed. This strategy should formalise the role of the Cabinet Office and the inter-ministerial group in enforcement, co-ordination and oversight of Government departmental plans to close the disparities revealed in the Audit. The strategy should:

11.The inter-ministerial group has the potential to provide the kind of high-level oversight that is needed, but its work needs to be informed by subject-specialist input on data collection and analysis and on race equality. We recommend that the Office for National Statistics be invited to attend the inter-ministerial group as observers to provide advice to the group. (Paragraph 44)

12.Evidence submitted to us, and the data in the Audit itself, highlight several areas of disparities that need to be addressed by the Government as priorities. The work that has begun as a response to the Lammy Review in the area of criminal justice is welcome and should be continued. In addition, race disparities in educational attainment, employment outcomes and housing status need to be prioritised. We expect the relevant departments to develop effective action plans for dealing with these priority areas. (Paragraph 50)

Civil society engagement

13.Engagement by the Race Disparity Unit with stakeholders and users of data, including those representing black and minority ethnic groups, has been exemplary. As the response to the Race Disparity Audit develops and new policy priorities emerge, equally high levels of engagement with civil society are required. (Paragraph 56)

14.The Race Disparity Unit should continue its existing positive engagement with stakeholders, and provide the inter-ministerial group with regular summaries of the views of those stakeholders, with a particular focus on the views of black and minority ethnic groups. (Paragraph 57)

15.Each department, while conducting its explain or change analysis and later when implementing its actions to address disparities, should be working closely with an existing or dedicated stakeholder group that includes individuals from race equality organisations and grassroots groups. (Paragraph 58)

Published: 11 June 2018