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  • Help and support

Evidence collection tools

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Where to start

The best way to find out a person’s age, gender, ethnic background and so on, is to ask the person to classify themselves. You can do this using routine data collection, equality monitoring forms and user surveys. You may need to use a mixture of these approaches.

You can also get someone else to classify a person if they are unable to do it themselves.  This might be due to the age of the person or because they are considered vulnerable (for example, because of a mental impairment).

If any data you collect is linked to an individual (so that someone looking at the data could identify the individual) it becomes personal data. Personal data is subject to the requirements of the Data Protection Act. If you collect data anonymously there is no requirement to comply with the Data Protection Act.

If you collect any personal data you’ll need to explain why you’re asking for it, what it’ll be used for, how it’ll be safely stored and who it will be shared with (this is good practice even if you’re collecting data anonymously ). Providing this explanation upfront will also help increase your response rate.

Find out about data protection

The following pages will tell you about the different tools you can use to collect evidence throughout your project.

Further help

We’ve produced a set of example questions for equality data collection that you can use in your forms or surveys. But you’ll need to adapt them, so they are relevant for your project and its users.

We’ve also identified some further guidance that may help you with gathering your evidence.

Learn how to review your evidence