Jane Hutt MS, Minister for Social Justice
We committed to establishing Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units in our Programme for Government 2021. This was in response to the need for strengthened evidence to address inequality in Wales which was further highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three distinct Evidence Units have now been established and will work together as the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units. The Units’ mission is to improve the availability, quality, granularity and accessibility of evidence about individuals with protected and associated characteristics. This will enable decision makers to develop better informed policies that can be monitored and evaluated for their impact. In turn, this 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.
This week the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units Strategy and priorities have been published.
The Strategy has been developed with stakeholders and describes the Units’ scope, remit and ways of working. 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. They are likely to change as stakeholder and accountability groups develop their thinking and provide further direction.
Key responsibilities of the Equality, Race and Disability Evidence Units are to:
- Assess the current landscape of evidence in relation to protected and associated characteristics.
- Understand and assess the impact of gaps in equalities evidence.
- In response to gaps, assess, prioritise and scope projects to fill key gaps by improving and linking existing data sources and develop new sources of equalities evidence, where required.
- Improve the quality and accessibility of equalities data sources for Welsh Government and wider external use.
- Support key Programme for Government commitments such as those related to fair work. This includes data to support the National Milestone to eliminate the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap by 2050.
- Provide evidence and advice to support and evaluate key Welsh Government equality action plans, such as An Anti-Racist Wales Plan, the work of the Disability Rights Taskforce, the Advancing Gender Equality in Wales plan, the draft LGBTQ+ Action Plan.
- Ongoing engagement and work with equality groups and fora in order to understand and inform priority research areas including the Anti-racist Wales Accountability Group, Disability Rights Taskforce, Gender Equality Subgroup and LGBTQ+ Expert Stakeholder Group.
- Ensure that all types of evidence are considered and develop our understanding of lived experience by establishing a co-production approach.
- Use evidence to highlight good practice and positive change and allow comparative assessment of policies and organisations.
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.