“How can policymaking help explain and change ethnic disparities?”
John Metro Budget Coordinator City of Jersey City
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Annie Maciver Head of Policy, Race Disparity Audit Cabinet Office
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As communities become more diverse, policy makers around the world are working to tackle ethnic disparities in all areas of society, to ensure that opportunities are open to everyone.

The British Prime Minister commissioned the Race Disparity Audit in 2016 to deliver the UK Government’s commitment to “explain or change” ethnic injustices. In October 2017, the Cabinet Office Race Disparity Unit’s pioneering website, Ethnicity Facts and Figures went live. The website details data and disparities across our public services by ethnic group.

The Unit works across health, housing, policing, criminal justice, employment and education to help policy makers:

  1. Collect, publish and understand data across different ethnic groups

Ethnicity Facts and Figures is a permanent and evolving website which continues to be developed through extensive user testing. A world first, the website has government data on the experiences of people of different ethnicities all in one place. The website also improves data transparency and accessibility by highlighting uncomfortable truths, allowing policy makers, public and private sectors and wider society to identify areas where change is needed.

We work across government departments to tackle ethnic disparities to understand how ethnicity can influence a person's life.  We encourage policy makers and wider audiences to use the data on the website, which is categorised by a range of ethnicities (including Asian, Black, Mixed, Other and White up to 18 ethnic categories) to inform policies that can improve outcomes.

  1. Develop interventions to tackle disparities identified

Ethnicity Facts and Figures shows a complex picture, including barriers to education and employment entry, progression and outcomes. A multifaceted approach is often needed to tackle ethnic disparities. For example, in October 2018 we opened a consultation into ethnicity pay reporting with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We invited views from employers on how ethnicity pay data can be published - without placing undue burdens on businesses - to help drive meaningful action to remove barriers for ethnic minorities in the workplace. Additionally, earlier this month the Race Disparity Unit and Department for Education launched a series of measures to tackle ethnic inequalities in higher education. This includes using powers of the Office for Students, and independent regulator for the higher education sector in the UK, to make it incumbent for universities to improve outcomes for their students.

  1. Be more open in how to develop and communicate policy

We must involve public and private sector partners, community groups and individuals from ethnic groups early and openly in policy design. Policy makers are often unsure of how to navigate complex issues or sensitivities and talk about ethnicity. On the website we publish style guides, informed by user testing, on how to talk about ethnicity. Additionally, the Race Disparity Unit benefits from London’s diverse communities, as we are a dynamic team of policy, data and digital experts, from a range of diverse groups.

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