Collecting data on protected characteristics

The following information has been provided by Citizens Advice England & Wales…

Collecting diversity information about our workforce and clients is a core activity for local and national Citizens Advice. This data, on age, ethnicity, gender and disability, has proved invaluable in practically every area of our work. It underpins our ability to speak with authority for those who need and want us to advocate on their behalf.

Being able to call on this data demonstrates that we are an inclusive service that embraces diversity, champions equality and challenges discrimination, values which underpin our local and the national equality and diversity strategy, Stand Up for Equality (and our local CAB Gwynedd Equality Policy).

However, there are gaps in what we are collecting which we need to address to ensure that we have more comprehensive picture of our workforce and clients. As part of this initiative we are asking centres, on a voluntary basis to collect information from their workforce on sexual orientation and religion or belief.

Why has this change been introduced?

Having collected data across the service for many years on ethnicity, disability, age and gender we have been able to:

  • Review and plan our services
  • Maintain our funding and reputation
  • Increase our influence on research and campaigns, and
  • Measure our progress in equality and diversity
  • Identify any trends in our staff and volunteer base

It is important for us, as a matter of good practice, to maintain our present monitoring by updating our records of sexual orientation and religious or other beliefs of staff, volunteers and trustees as well as clients.

The success of this initiative will depend upon staff, volunteers and trustees understanding the importance of providing their own equality data and of collecting it from clients, as well as its role in achieving the service’s equality objectives.

There is more detailed guidance available on BMIS which can also be used to help advisors ask clients for this information. Also Stonewall has produced a helpful summary guide (fersiwn Cymraeg ar gael yma).

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