The UK’s Government has launched an LGBT action plan, in which it wants to deal with issues facing the LGBT+ community, including how this government will collect, maintain and protect the data of LGBT people.
“This Government is committed to making the UK a country that works for everyone. We want to strip away the barriers that hold people back so that everyone can go as far as their hard work and talent can take them”.
Big words, so what exactly are they promising?
Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equality has outlined 75 points she wants her office to push in order to achieve better rights, equality, safety and visibility for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people of the UK.
The LGBT action plan offered the following for LGBT+ data protection and collection.
We want to ensure that government services monitor these protected characteristics in a consistent, respectful and proportionate way.
We will enable government services to appropriately monitor sexual orientation and gender identity. The Government Equalities Office, the Office for National Statistics and the Government Statistical Service will work together on a cross-government project to develop monitoring standards for sexual orientation and gender identity across central government. These standards will be freely available to the wider public and private sectors. The Government Equalities Office and Office for National Statistics will provide guidance and support to departments looking to implement monitoring in their services to ensure that it is consistent, proportionate and safe.
We will ensure the Civil Service is an exemplary employer for collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity in a sensitive, respectful and proportionate way. Civil Service HR, the Office for National Statistics and the Government Equalities Office will work to develop standardised questions for inclusion in internal departmental systems such as human resources systems for government employees. Civil Service HR will continue to include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in the annual Civil Service People Survey so that the diverse workplace experiences of civil servants can be better understood.
We will provide guidance on protecting private data concerning the characteristics and history of transgender people. The Government Equalities Office will work with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and other agencies to agree guidance for public and private sector organisations explaining how they can protect these data and ensure the privacy of trans people. The guidance will help organisations to comply with relevant legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation and the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
In line with the Government’s approach to open data8, we will explore how best to make as much of the national LGBT survey data available as possible. We realise that the data we have collected is rich and comprehensive. We will not share or publish any data from which individuals can be identified, but the Government Equalities Office will look to publish more aggregate-level, anonymous data which will be of use to researchers, academics, stakeholders, the media, policymakers and the public at large.
We will undertake further work to improve our understanding of the needs of specific groups within the LGBT population. The Government Equalities Office will look to improve the evidence base relating to the experiences of groups including older people, people in care, people with disabilities and long-term conditions, and black and minority ethnic people.
Here’s what the government plans are in other key areas: