UKREN blog

Tuesday 23 December 2014

ENAR’s symposium on equality data collection in Europe on 26 November

On November 26th the European Network against Racism (ENAR) held a symposium to discuss the need for secure and reliable equality data across Europe.

The lack of relevant equality data across the EU means that non-discrimination policies and laws are not implemented as efficiently and cost-effectively as they could be if they were better targeted. In the UK equality data is used to both to assess the impact or anticipated impact of policies and practices and to help establish individual discrimination cases.  However, not many EU countries collect as much equality data in the same way.

The symposium was used to launch ENAR’s latest publication, ‘Measure, Plan, Act: How data collection can support racial equality’ which is available at

We were also given a copy of the OSF publication ‘Ethnic Origin and Disability data collection in Europe: measuring Inequality combatting Discrimination’ which had largely been produced by the Migration Policy Group:

These reports conclude that equality data collection is legally possible, economically feasible, and practically indispensable.

We heard a series of speakers – some of them were very interesting – introducing the report, considering the situation on data collection for other characteristics and discussing the common principles for secure and inclusive data collection. 

Both the reports challenged the commonly held view in Europe that the collection of disability and ethnic data is categorically prohibited. They found that a considerable amount of ethnic related data in particular is collected across Europe but mainly by use of proxies, and often without the participation of the people concerned.  They propose that it is important and necessary to involve the affected communities in the process of defining best practices and to respect binding core principles of data collection such as self-identification of the data subject and consent-based, voluntary, and anonymized data collection.  This conclusion was supported by the symposium participants.

Gay Moon, Chair of UKREN


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