Can a diversity dashboard be made for Leeds?

We've all heard of the gender pay gap, and in 2017 the UK government even made it mandatory for all organisations with 250+ employees to publish and report it. We need to better understand the gender pay gap and how we can start to address it. This is not just for equality (which is a big enough reason in itself) but also for a better distribution of other things, such as spending power, ability to access education and skills training, and more. Organisations do now publish more data about their gender pay gap (although a few still struggle to meet the yearly deadline, or publish at all!), which presents an opportunity to proactively address the problem.

Job done right? Not entirely. We are missing diversity data.

In April 2019, as part of the Leeds Digital Festival, we hosted Diversity & Data as an open collaborative event where organisations could come together to think about what they needed diversity data for and the challenges of collecting/using it. We demonstrated what is possible with data with the Diversity Explorer and the Leeds Gender Pay Gap explorer. An organisation that was already a few steps ahead was Yorkshire Water (a sponsor of ODI Leeds), who were working on publishing not just their gender pay gap data but their workforce diversity data too. This could be explored again at the Hack for Impact event in July 2019, where Yorkshire Water's 6 Capitals were the inspiration for a Yorkshire dashboard. The 'Human Capital' was focused on the Yorkshire Water workforce.

Fast-forward to 2020, where there were many plans in place to start discussing and working towards a 'Diversity Dashboard' for Leeds. With the monumental disruption caused by coronavirus, the conversations didn't stop but had to be slowed down a little. As the coronavirus crisis highlighted many issues with data collection and sharing, and even further issues relating to the diversity of people who developed COVID-19, the discussion about diversity data became more pressing.

In September 2020, Yorkshire Water and ODI Leeds hosted an online roundtable for the Leeds Anchor Network - a consortium of some of the biggest employers in the region, including Leeds City Council, University of Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospital, NHS Digital, Yorkshire Water, Leeds College of Building, and more. The outcome of the roundtable was a commitment from some of the new attendees to also start publishing their diversity data, with the long-term view of contributing to a 'diversity dashboard.' In a follow-up meeting with the Open Data Collaboration Group - a regular meeting of ODI Leeds sponsors (and non-sponsors) that share and work through common open data challenges - Yorkshire Water joined us again to open up the discussion of the practicalities of making this diversity dashboard. What data was already available? What was the quality like? If someone was publishing data for the first time, was there a standard to follow?

To answer these questions, we set up a shareable Google Doc so that anyone could add links to their diversity data. The ODI Leeds team could then start to look at it, spot the matching patterns, flag up any potential problems for a future dashboard, etc.

So here we are, at the stage where we need as much diversity data as possible so that we can work towards a diversity dashboard. 'Diversity' is such a broad term, and no single thing - graphic, visualisation, etc - will answer all the questions. But something that can answer some questions - and perhaps force folk to ask some questions - is a strong place to start on such a crucial issue. With mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting in the future, there is a clear trend for more disclosure and better data. Working together on this diversity dashboard is an opportunity to be prepared and get ahead of that trend.

If you want to help with a diversity dashboard, please feel free to add links to data sources via the Google Doc. You can also visit our Diversity & Data project page for other resources or watch the Leeds Anchor Network roundtable session.