Ethnicity coding working group

While there are many different aspects to consider within the diversity data field, this working group focuses on challenges and opportunities in the use of data reporting ethnicity. 

The first ethnicity coding working group meeting was held on 13 January 2022. The outputs from this session can be viewed here

On 6 April 2022, we held our second ethnicity coding working group session, chaired by Ashley Akbari and Kamlesh Khunti. The session provided an opportunity to share current work in this space, with relevant talks from Rose Drummond & Cameron Razieh (Office for National Statistics) and Sara Khalid (University of Oxford). About 40 participants attended the meeting, with people from research and custodian communities, along with members of the public. 

We discussed challenges and opportunities around use of ethnicity data for research and explored possible priorities to be taken forward by this group.   

Topics covered:   

  • Data Collection.
  • Training. 
  • Terminology. 
  • Building pubic trust. 

Potential areas to cover in future workshops:  

  • Improve standardisation of ethnicity data – Draft a framework outlining the main recommendations around definitions and terminology. 
  • There are many coding standards. Mapping will help to provide a guide to what codes to use when analysing data. Index of coding is needed to define codes. Resources can be shared via HDR UK Futures. 
  • Survey public groups around reporting ethnicity coding information. Understanding Patient Data have recently carried out some work in this area. Opportunity to collaborate? 
  • Training material – We could create a dedicated space on HDR Futures? Could also link to other resources. 
  • Practitioners – guidance on how to communicate and explain why Ethnicity data is needed, and the importance of capturing it. 

Meeting outputs:

Link to Video Recording below

Workshop report detailing key findings and action points for future workshops
pdf - 259 KB
Importance of standardising ethnicity coding - Presented by Ashley Akbari (Swansea University) and Kamlesh Khunti (University of Leicester)
pdf - 712 KB
Assessing the quality of ethnicity data in health admin sources in England - Presented by Rose Drummond & Cameron Razieh (Office for National Statistics)
pdf - 228 KB

The next ethnicity coding working group session will take place on 18th January 2023 (1-2pm).

The aim of this meeting is to discuss a first draft of a set of recommendations to improve the recording of ethnicity data in the UK, based on community feedback and input received so far.

Once again, we are delighted to have Professor Kamlesh Khunti (University of Leicester) and Ashley Akbari (Swansea University) Chair this event.

Draft recommendations can be viewed HERE

Who should attend?

Alliance member organisations, data custodians, research community and lay representatives interested in improving standards for ethnicity coding.

If you are interested in participating in this group going forward, please email