In 2018, the UK Government Statistical Service and the Office for National Statistics initiated a project that aims to provide guidance across government to measure gender identity and increase the capacity to collect data and statistical literacy about gender identity.
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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and other government departments have identified a need to collect data on gender identity. Currently, no government departments routinely collect information on gender identity.
This project arose to address what respondents had been asking for and what organisations need to monitor gender identity to ensure equality. ONS’ 2021 Census topic consultation identified a need for data on gender identity for policy development and service planning; especially in relation to the provision of health services for transgender people. The introduction of the Equality Act 2010 further strengthens the user requirement for those with the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. The Act introduces a public sector Equality Duty, which requires that public bodies consider all individuals when shaping policy, delivering services and interacting with their own employees. They must also have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities.
More specifically, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) recently produced the LGBT Action Plan, which names the development of monitoring standards for gender identity as a joint aim of the GEO, Government Statistical Service (GSS) and ONS.
These standards will be freely available to the wider public and private sectors. GEO and ONS will provide guidance and support to departments looking to implement monitoring in their services to ensure that it is consistent, proportionate and safe.
GSS, as a provider of advice to government researchers and statisticians, aims to provide guidance across government to measure gender identity, increasing the capacity to collect data. The process will involve engaging with cross-government stakeholders, to collect and define data needs.
ONS, as the national statistical institute, will share experience in defining concepts and testing questions, thereby increasing statistical literacy about gender identity. ONS will test whether and how a gender identity question could be included in the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
The testing experience and results will be shared, and a standard will be developed. The existence of a standard will provide government departments with a way to measure gender identity across all their surveys.
The standardisation of data collection across government surveys will also allow for an easier comparison of data.
Email: Gender (dot) identity (at) ons (dot) gov (dot) uk
Email:gsshelp (at) statistics (dot) gov (dot) uk