Promising Practice

Data and Research Strategy 2018-2020

The Department of Justice and Equality of Ireland has developed a Data and Research Strategy 2018-2020 to facilitate better collaboration and information sharing with respect to equality data between the Department, its agencies and stakeholders, including the public.
Institutional and structural guidelines
Map existing sources
Foster inter-institutional cooperation
Build up data hub
Build institutional capacity
Facilitate effective use
Operational guidelines
Ensure comprehensiveness
Mainstream equality data
Ensure regular and timely data collection
Enhance validity and reliability
Ensure representativeness
Improve comparability
Gender identity or expression
Racial or ethnic origin
Religion or belief
Sexual orientation
All grounds / Cross-cutting
Includes multiple / intersectional discrimination


In this page:

Why was the practice needed?

The Data and Research Strategy 2018-2020 is linked to the Department's Strategic Plan 2017-2019. The objective of this practice is to develop a more evidence-based approach to policy making by ensuring better management, integration and use of knowledge, data and research. The strategy seeks to facilitate better collaboration and information sharing between the Department of Justice and Equality, as the lead Department with responsibility for equality in Ireland, its Agencies and stakeholders, including the public.

How was it implemented?

The strategy covers all relevant activities of the Department of Justice and Equality, and outlines strategic actions and outcomes. Under each Strategic Action there are sub-actions and allocated responsibilities.

The Strategic Actions are:

  1. Put in place an appropriate structure within the Department to manage and develop solutions for the current and emerging business requirements in the areas of data and research.
  2. Develop a Justice and Equality Data Hub to enable the efficient and secure exchange of appropriate and accurate data, and information within the Justice and Equality Sector.
  3. Establish appropriate governance of data collection, management and analysis in the Department, its Agencies and offices, including the regular publication of appropriate datasets.
  4. Analyse, and evaluate existing and planned policy consequences (commissioned project on international practice in relation to equality data).
  5. Establish appropriate and effective operational links across the Department, its Agencies and offices, to improve data collection and analysis, as well as its contribution to operational effectiveness.
  6. Develop and build the research capacity, culture and output within the Department, across the Sector, and in partnership with external bodies.

Crucial steps in the governance of the strategy will be:

  • to establish a Data Evaluation Research and Analytics Unit working in the Corporate area with partnerships around the Justice and Equality Sector, the Central Statistics Office and other stakeholders, e.g. Open Data, National Data Infrastructure (NDI);
  • to develop Data Governance structures, with a Data Needs and Interoperability Group acting as oversight/governance for the strategy.

The three-year strategy is reviewed by the Department on an ongoing basis. The Chief Information Officer of the Department of Justice and Equality has responsibility for delivery.

The strategy will cover all discrimination grounds as defined in Irish equality legislation: gender, marital status, family status, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, religious belief and membership of the Traveller community. Most data collected will allow for disaggregation by age and gender, in some cases also by ethnicity.

The key strand of work on equality issues will be implemented by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), an independent research institute working towards a vision of ‘Informed policy for a better Ireland’.


  • Data and Research Strategy 2018-2020

Key success factors

  • Emphasising that this is a system endeavour that is integral to all parts of the justice and equality sector.
  • Lessons learnt include the importance of demonstrating the reason for taking this strategic approach, that is the value of having more informed policy and practice, which will deliver efficiency and effectiveness.

Technical information

  • Data sources covered: Census; Administrative data; Household or individual surveys; Victimisation surveys; Attitudinal surveys; Complaints data; Discrimination testing; Diversity monitoring; Qualitative research..
  • Areas of life covered: Employment; Education; Health; Social Protection; Housing and living conditions; Access to good and services; Hate crime; Others: Justice, Equality (cross-Governmental leadership).
  • Target audience: Department agencies of government
  • Duration: 2018-2020
  • Geographical scope: National
  • Leading institution: Department of Justice and Equality
  • Other organisations involved/consulted: The Central Statistics Office, Economic and Social Research Institute, Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service, and the agencies and offices of the Department of Justice and Equality.
  • Financial & human resources: Budget: No information provided; Source of the budget: Department of Justice and Equality; Staff: 11/12 Full Time Equivalent (FTE)


Department of Justice and Equality

Email: research (at) justice (dot) ie