Skip to main content

Decision required

  1. To agree the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units’ Strategy and emerging priorities
  2. To agree that the Strategy and priorities are published on 26 September via the Welsh Government website
  3. To agree that Ministers are provided with a quarterly update on the work of the Units


1. In the Programme for Government 2021 the Welsh Government committed to ‘create a Race Disparity Unit alongside an Equality Data Unit to ensure an inclusive evidence base to inform decision making in government.’ 3 distinct Evidence Units have been established who work together as the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units to equip ministers, officials and outside organisations with evidence and analysis of inequalities to help decision making.

2. By December 2022, a diverse, multi-disciplinary team of people with the necessary experience and interest in equalities evidence will be in place. 10 staff members will have been recruited to the Units who have lived experience relevant to race, disability, gender and LGBTQ+ as well as the necessary analytical skills.

3. Cabinet is asked to agree the units’ strategy and emerging priorities which are at Doc 1 and Doc 2. These have been, and will continue to be, developed closely with a range of stakeholders. The intention is for these to be published on the Welsh Government website on 26 September 2022. These will be live documents and are likely to develop as a result of further discussions with the Units’ stakeholders and colleagues.

4. It is suggested that a quarterly update is provided to all ministers on the emerging priorities and key outputs from, and implications of, the work of the units.

Objective of the paper

5. The Welsh Government committed to setting up the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units in its Programme for Government 2021, in response to the need for strengthened evidence to address inequality in Wales as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper outlines the progress made on establishing the Units and provides information on the Units Strategy and evidence priorities.

6. In January 2022, the Welsh Government established 3 distinct Units, each with their own evidence programme and lead.

  • Equality Evidence Unit
  • Race Disparity Evidence Unit
  • Disability Disparity Evidence Unit

The structure emerged from scoping work, interviews, focus groups and workshops with internal and external stakeholders. The Units work together as the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units, with their work shaped by an overarching Equality Evidence Strategy to ensure synergy, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and, in particular, intersectionality.

7. Since January, time and effort has been spent in recruiting a diverse, multi-discipline team with the necessary experience and interest in equalities evidence. By December 2022, 10 staff will have been recruited who will have relevant lived experience as well as the necessary analytical skills and knowledge. This has been achieved in a number of ways, such as through undertaking outreach activities, running webinars, commissioning targeted advertising and providing individual sessions on Civil Service applications with candidates before they drafted their application. It has helped the Units reach and engage with diverse communities and networks and improve the quality of applications submitted. Recruiting a diverse team has not been without its challenges. Much has been learnt from the process which is being shared across the organisation.

8. The Equality Evidence Strategy, which has been developed with the Units’ stakeholders, describes the scope, remit and ways of working and the aim is to publish this on 26 September 2022. The Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units’ priorities have been developed and the intention is to publish these alongside the Equality Evidence Strategy. The strategy sets out who the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units are and how they will work. The priorities document sets out what the Units will do to achieve their aims in the short, medium and longer term. Both are intended to be live documents. The priorities are not intended to be a fixed list of commitments for the Units and this is made clear in the document. They are likely to change as stakeholder and accountability groups develop their thinking and provide further direction.

9. The intention is to publish the Units’ priorities so that stakeholders are aware and able to contribute to them as they evolve and so the Units are open and transparent about their plans.

10. The emerging priorities include tasks required to establish the units and key research and statistical priorities. They have been developed with stakeholders based on initial scoping work for the Units, commitments already made and emerging requirements from the Strategic Equality Plan and An Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan, the Locked out: liberating disabled people’s lives and rights in Wales beyond COVID-19 report, the Advancing Gender Equality in Wales Plan  and the draft LGBTQ+ Action Plan. Other actions plans and strategies have also been considered in addition to these main equality plans and the entire set is described in the Equality Evidence Strategy document at Doc 1.

11. The document at Doc 2 lists the emerging priorities, which are either cross cutting across the 3 units or relate to one unit. Even priorities relating principally to one unit will have learning to share across the others and the Units will work closely together to maximise learning and efficiency.

12. The commitments and requirements for each Unit are at different stages of development and this is reflected in the list of priorities. Some requirements are a high-level statement other are fully scoped and work has started.

13. Many of the emerging priorities are focused on supporting specific Programme for Government Commitments.

14. The emerging priorities have, and will continue to be, developed in close discussion with colleagues in Knowledge and Analytical Services to ensure any duplication is avoided and ensure effective collaboration on projects, where required. They have also been cross-referenced with other programmes of evidence, such as the Wales Centre for Public Policy’s work programme, again to avoid duplication and ensure synergy.

15. The units will ensure they have regular contact with policy colleagues across ministerial portfolio areas, and with relevant special advisers, where emerging priorities or findings are focused on particular ministerial portfolio areas. The units will provide the Minister for Social Justice with regular updates on their emerging priorities and outputs. Given the cross-cutting nature of the work of the units it is also suggested that a quarterly update is provided to all ministers on both the units’ emerging priorities and on key outputs from and implications of their work.

16. As outlined in the strategy, the units are committed to working as co-productively as possible at both a programme and project level. They have started a pilot project which is aimed at testing questions relevant to the social model of disability using co-productive approaches. They will evaluate this pilot and share the learning around co-production and research both within Welsh Government and with colleagues across the public sector.


Welsh Government’s Programme for Government

17. The units’ strategy and priorities will allow us to fulfil the Programme for Government commitment to:

“Create a Race Disparity Unit alongside an Equality Data Unit to ensure an inclusive evidence base to inform decision making in government.”

18. The Evidence Units’ work programme will also support the Programme for Government commitment to ‘Celebrate diversity and move to eliminate inequality in all of its forms’.

19. The emerging priorities support the evidence and data requirements of specific Programme for Government priorities such as the implementation of the Anti Racist Wales Action Plan.

Well-being of Future Generations Act

20. The units’ mission is to improve the availability, quality, granularity and accessibility of evidence about individuals with protected and associated characteristics so that the Welsh Government fully understand the level and types of inequalities across Wales. This will enable decision makers to develop better informed policies which can be monitored and evaluated for their impact. This in turn will drive us towards better outcomes for people with protected and associated characteristics and contribute to the national well-being goal of ‘a more equal Wales’.

National milestones

21. The Welsh Government is committed to the pursuit of economic and social justice and tackling pay inequality is an essential component of that. Addressing pay inequality is also a key element in our vision of a Wales of fair work and the recognition that Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at work is integral to our broader commitment to fair work for all workers in Wales. Many of Unit’s priorities relate to supporting Programme for Government commitments related to fair work. This includes data to support the National Milestone to eliminate the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap by 2050.

Equality and Human Rights

22. Equality and Human Rights is embedded in the activities undertaken by the Equality policy team. The Equality team has actions, projects and policies which directly support and positively impact upon the Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights and the Public Sector Equality Duty (Equality Act, 2010) to positively contribute to a fairer society through paying due regard to eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations.

Having reliable and useable evidence is essential to understand the systemic inequalities citizens in Wales face and addressing the often-deep-rooted issues which adversely impact those with protected and related characteristics. Statistical data often hides distinct and unique differences between minority identities and where there is intersectionality between 2 or more characteristics. The units understand there is a need to ensure evidence truly reflects the lived experiences of the groups it is aiming to capture, and this is part of their remit.

Communications and publication

23. The intention is to publish the Equality Evidence Strategy and Priorities 2022-2027 on the Welsh Government website on 26 September 2022. The purpose of this is to be open and transparent about the Units’ plans so they are clear to all stakeholders, and they have an opportunity to provide continuous input. There is unlikely to be significant public interest in this publication.

24. Press office suggest issuing a press notice to highlight the cross departmental approach to deliver equality for all in Wales. It will also provide an opportunity to highlight the ongoing work with the public and give a call to action to help shape the strategy. If possible, case studies will also be used to highlight the importance of the Units to various communities across Wales.

25. It is recommended that this paper is published 6 weeks after the Cabinet meeting.


  1. It is recommended Cabinet agrees the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units’ Strategy and emerging priorities set out in Doc 1 and Doc 2.
  2. It is recommended that Cabinet agrees that the Strategy and priorities are published on 26 September on the Welsh Government website.
  3. It is recommended that ministers are provided with a quarterly update on the work of the units.

Jane Hutt, MS
Minister for Social Justice
September 2022