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Race Disparity Audit: Government must act now

11 June 2018

The Women and Equalities Committee publishes report on the Race Disparity Audit. The Audit, launched in 2016 by the Prime Minister, examined racial disparities in public services and across Government – with the intention of influencing policy to solve the problems found. The initial findings can be seen on the ground-breaking Ethnicity Facts and Figures website.

Inequalities should be tackled by Government

If the inequalities revealed in the Race Disparity Audit are to be tackled, Government departments must have clear and measurable plans for improving the consistency and robustness of the data and turning it into a set of cross-government priorities for action.

The Committee finds that the ability of the Audit to lead to tangible change is put at risk by a lack of consistency in how data is collected across Government.

Some datasets are detailed but the categories used to collect information vary widely.

This makes it difficult to analyse and reach conclusions on what action needs to be taken.

Without consistent information too many government departments will remain ignorant of the uncomfortable truths they are responsible for tackling.

Urgent action is needed to improve the collection of ethnicity data.

The Cabinet Office must build on its good work on the Audit by becoming the central driver in ensuring that each Department delivers on its responsibilities.

Only by doing this will the Prime Minister’s commitment to tackling injustice be realised.

Data collection in Government and public services is inconsistent

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, said: 

“We strongly commend the principle and sound intentions of the Race Disparity Audit.

As the Prime Minister has said herself, it has helped expose many uncomfortable truths.

However, the picture at present is that data collection across different areas of government and public services is inconsistent, not properly joined up and in some cases just isn’t happening. That isn’t good enough. 
 
We look forward to seeing the results of the ‘explain or change’ analysis that is being conducted by individual departments. But we need co-ordinated action, and it needs to come from the top.

Ministers must review and build upon what they have started if their laudable aim of tackling injustice is to be realised.”

Further information

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