Equality information #180
Also known as: sensitive data, personal data
How and when to ask for protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.
Services that use this pattern:
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Release of equality information pattern
We’ve published a new pattern in the Design System to ask users for equality information. 👥 📝 ✅
This pattern allows users to give personal information that helps organisations avoid discrimination and improve equality. It’s based on data standards set by the Government Statistical Service (GSS).
To meet these standards, this new pattern replaces the pattern to ask users for ethnic groups.
What we set out to do
We set out to:
What we decided
We decided to:
How we built it
We worked closely with GSS to make sure this pattern meets their harmonised standards and guidance.
To make sure this pattern meets user needs, we gathered feedback from colleagues across the cross-government community. We also hosted a workshop with 12 of them so that we could review it together.
Based on the workshop, we improved guidance on:
Thank you to everyone that contributed to this component, including colleagues from:
How you can help our ongoing user research
Share your research or feedback by commenting on this issue or propose a change – read more about how to propose changes in GitHub.
The pattern is based on the approach outlined by the Government Statistical Service (GSS) for harmonised data. Here's the page on sex and gender with more info.
They'd be best placed to answer your question and you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. We've aimed to be consistent with GSS's approach.
That GSS page you linked to concerns collecting demographic information for statistical purposes, including the census. The issue on this page concerns the collecting of equality information on the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010:
The final paragraph of the GSS page mentions the 'Equalities [sic] Act (2010)' in passing, noting that NHSE is currently carrying out an equality monitoring scoping project in relation to the nine protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, but the page overall relates to the census and the ONS, not equality information on the protected characteristics.
In light of last week's defeat of the ONS in the High Court, that page might need to be reviewed, but it's difficult to see what bearing it has on the collection of data about the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.
Your pattern page combines sex with the term 'gender identity'; the latter is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act and is not used or defined in the Act, so it's difficult to understand why that is even mentioned, never mind amalgamated with the protected characteristic of sex. There is a protected characteristic of 'gender assignment' (which is defined in its own unique terms) but for some reason, that's been omitted from the list on your pattern page.
So, the question here is why the approach of the GSS in collecting demographic information for statistical purposes has been adopted as a pattern for the collection of personal information on protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 when they are collecting different data for different purposes? Why have you aimed to be consistent with the GSS's approach?
The guidance says to:
If the questions go after CYA how can there be a section for answers on there? Should there be a second CYA or is this a mistake?
We’ve (Department for Education) published a write-up of how we changed how we ask candidates about disabilities and health conditions in an equality survey, which has led to 3 times more candidates selecting a disability or health condition.
Our updated question looks like this:
I'm looking for some help and advice on adding equality questions to a service. My understanding is that equality questions are not attributed to the individual or their case/ application information. The GDS guidance says that, in line with new WCAG 2.2 requirements, you have to allow users to update any changes in their equality information, but without re-entering the same data again (redundant entry). I'm not sure how this is possible without linking a person's equality info to the individual? WCAG talks about applying 'redundant entry' per session - but the GDS interpretation is that a person can go back on a long-term service, and update equality info as it changes. I'm confused and would really appreciate some advice around this.