Equality and Ethnic Data Seminar

On Monday November 4th, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, with NUIM’s Department of Applied Social Sciences hosted a Data Collection seminar in Dublin. With over 100 people in attendance, speakers Claire Fernandez from the European Network Against Racism, Professor Raj Bhopal of the University of Edinburgh and Brigid Quirke from Pavee Point and UCD spoke on the need for ethnic data collection, as well as discussing good practice and methodology. 

Professor Raj Bhopal, Claire Fernandez and Ronnie Fay of Pavee Point

On the day, speaker Claire Fernandez spoke about the lack of debate on the issue of ethnic data collection in Europe and highlighted the misconceptions that have emerged due to a lack of information on the topic. She also pointed out that ethnic data collection does occur not not on any official basis, meaning that it is external to international standards and therefore of extremely limited use.

Professor Raj Bhopal spoke about the collection of ethnic data in Scotland, used for informing health services. Professor Bhopal was able to demonstrate the real usefulness of ethnic data collection in Scotland and highlighted a strong system for anonymising data. He stressed the need for top level management being part of any ethnic data collection process and gave examples of the campaign that reassured people about data collection by trained staff.

Professor Raj Bhopal speaking about ethnic data collection in Scotland

Finally, Brigid Quirke of Pavee Point and University College Dublin, who played a major role in the creation of the All Ireland Traveller Health Study, spoke about the need for equality proofing and the strengths of ethnic data collection.

Following the speakers, round table discussions were facilitated to enable wider debate and information exchange. Recommendations and ideas were put forward for the future of data collection for minority ethnic groups.

Brigid Quirke speaking during the Ethnic Data Collection Seminar

Collecting Ethnic Data would improve service provision and facilitate the best possible need analysis. It would identify discrimination and provide factual accuracy around ethnic groups. Ethnic Data collection would also allow for greater equality and inclusion. State participation was recognised as a requirement for any system of ethnic data collection to work. Good training and strong communication would also be needed to overcome challenges in any ethnic data collection system. Any such system should include the voice of minority ethnic groups. During the seminar, it was suggested that the European Union could provide oversight and outline expectations. All groups agreed that fear in communities could be an issue and that clear communication and trust had to be built up.

Professor Raj Bhopal with Pavee Point staff

Following the conference, Professor Bhopal paid a visit to Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, where he met members of the Primary Health Care Team and took a tour of the building to learn more about the organisation and the work of the programmes.

Below you can view and download PDF version of the Powerpoint presentations delivered during the seminar.

Seminar attendees making recommendations. All photos by Derek Speirs.