The Women and Equalities Committee is launching an inquiry to look at the results of the recently published Race Disparity Audit (Oct 2017). The audit uses published Government data to examine how people of different ethnicities are treated across public services in areas including health, education, employment and the criminal justice system. Comment from Women and Equalities Committee Chair Maria Miller.
The inquiry will consider: how the audit results should affect future approaches to collecting and analysing data on equalities and outcomes; how the Government should take forward its policy response to the published data; what the data shows about priorities for addressing disparities.
Women and Equalities Committee Chair Maria Miller said: “The Race Disparity Audit was launched by the Prime Minister with the aim of tackling injustices in society; it is no surprise that its results so far show there is still a long way to travel. We want to look at how effective the audit and the data behind it will be as tools to move society further along the road to equality.
We are keen to learn about how better information can lead to better policy, and to hear from service providers, researchers and the public about how useful they will find the data for understanding and reducing disparities in outcomes for different ethnic groups. We also want to hear ideas for what Government should do now to address the findings of the Audit, and what the most urgent priorities for action should be.”
The Committee would welcome initial written submissions from researchers, civil society organisations, individuals and other interested parties by 10.00 am on Monday 27 November on these questions:
a) What the Race Disparity Audit reveals about Government data on equalities and outcomes across ethnic groups
How useful is the data for researchers, policy-makers, service providers and the public?
Where are the most significant gaps in data?
What issues arise in terms of consistency, robustness and the ability to disaggregate and to analyse inequalities caused by more than one characteristic?
What steps are necessary to begin to explain the reasons for particular disparities? Can the effects of current or historic race discrimination and socio-economic disadvantage usefully be distinguished?
Do any of the data sets risk being misleading without additional context?
How should the audit inform future Government data-gathering?
b) How the Government should respond to the audit
What would be the most effective way of identifying priorities and taking steps to reduce disparities across departments and public services, and where should responsibility lie?
The Government has said that its approach will be ‘explain or change’, and that it will work with partners to change significant disparities between ethnic groups that “cannot be explained by wider factors”. How should the Government go about doing this?
Where data shows that progress has been made in reducing disparities, how can lessons be learned and applied to other areas?
c) What the audit tells us about the most pressing policy issues
What is new in the data? Are there particular sectoral or geographical issues, or issues relating to specific communities, that have become visible through or been reinforced by the audit?
Are these areas of particularly stark or persistent inequality, areas where disparities are emerging or increasing, or areas in which further investigation is needed to determine the causes of a disparity? Which of these issues would benefit from further work by the Committee or particular focus by the Government?