IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


More inclusive data to inform UK’s responses to social and economic issues

29 September 2021

Professor Ann Phoenix (UCL Social Research Institute) has contributed to a report by the Inclusive Data Taskforce making recommendations about how to achieve a more inclusive data system.

People in London Fields

The recommendations of the Taskforce, of which Professor Phoenix is a member, has informed a series of initiatives announced by the National Statistician to ensure the inclusivity of UK data so that issues facing the most vulnerable and disadvantaged are fully covered in statistics and evidence.

The National Statistician, who is the UK Statistics Authority’s and the Government’s principal adviser on official statistics, commissioned the Taskforce in October 2020 with the aim of transforming the inclusivity of UK data and evidence. The Taskforce report identifies eight areas for improvement and includes detailed recommendations.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Increasing trust and trustworthiness, which emerged strongly as barriers to participation.
  • Improving the UK data infrastructure to enable robust and reliable disaggregation and intersectional analysis across the full range of relevant groups and populations.
  • Broadening the range of methods that are routinely used and creating new approaches to understanding experiences across the population of the UK.
  • Ensuring that all groups are robustly captured across key areas of life in UK data and review practices regularly.

Professor Ann Phoenix said: “The new vision enshrined in the UK Statistics Authority’s ‘Statistics for the Public Good’ is both compelling and central to building back a better post-COVID-19, and creating a more equal world. It aims to ensure ‘that our statistics reflect the experiences of everyone in our society so that everyone counts – and that no one is forgotten’. This vision informed the work of the Inclusive Data Task Force and is one to which we’re all deeply committed. It was one of the most enjoyable committees that I have worked on because of that commitment and the range of expertise it brought together.

"Achieving inclusion by building trust and trustworthiness in people being asked to give their time and perspectives in data collection will help to ensure the quality of data and analyses. I am particularly pleased that qualitative data are now also recognised to be central to understanding society and to helping researchers, statisticians, government bodies and civil society keep abreast of social change.”

The National Statistician Professor Sir Ian Diamond said: "I warmly welcome the findings of the Inclusive Data Taskforce which will help to improve the quality of data and evidence across the UK.

"During the Covid-19 pandemic and in the recent census in England and Wales, we have demonstrated the immense value of engaging more widely across all sections of society and finding new ways to ensure everyone counts and is counted. This includes linking different data sets to provide deeper insights and working closely with diverse groups to enable them to engage more fully with UK research and evidence.

"The UK has good, dependable statistics. But the more complete our coverage of all sections of society is, and the more precisely we can use data to analyse different aspects of people’s lives, the more valuable our insights will be."



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