How to record demographic information in your data collection tools

The way we record demographic information is changing. Find out what this means for your local Healthwatch and how to implement the changes locally.
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What we are doing

We have changed the demographic categories used in the CRM and the National Reports Library about people’s personal characteristics to be more comprehensive and respectful.

So that we have a consistent way of reporting and collecting data, we are asking local Healthwatch to make these changes too.

While the new demographic fields are mandatory, there are free-text options so people can self-define, as well as a ‘don’t know option’.

To help you, we have listed the updated core demographic questions and inclusive response options for you to use when collecting data.

Why we are doing it

Last year the Healthwatch England Research and Insight Team undertook an assessment of the data collected by local Healthwatch about protected groups. We found that much of the feedback shared with us via the CRM lacked any demographic details.

As we are subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty, which requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities, we need to improve the data that we collect on equality issues.

These changes will improve the way you collect your demographic information about the people you engage with. And by collecting this data consistently, you will be able to analyse the experiences of different groups and identify whether there are any key differences in the way people receive health and social care.  It will also make data recording about demographics consistent across the whole Healthwatch network.

What you need to do

Local Healthwatch will need to adopt the new demographic categories and integrate them into your current data collection tools (including CRM systems).

For local Healthwatch who are using their own systems, you will need to incorporate the changes outlined in the What demographic information should I collect? section of this guidance in order to replicate the national changes. If you use the Import Function, you will be expected to fill in these demographic fields.

For local Healthwatch who are using the CRM system provided by Healthwatch England, you do not need to do anything as the changes will be applied to your CRM system. This will be a relatively simple change in which you will need to ensure that the relevant demographic fields are ticked (using the check boxes) in your CRM reports.

For questions or more information contact the CRM helpdesk.


How to record demographic information in your data collection tools guidance