DEI Data Group Standard V1
In August 2020, the DEI Data Group commissioned a framework to monitor equity considerations in grantmaking, with a view to including the data in published grants information. This work was funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund.
It sought to involve organisations that the data is about in the development of the framework and included input, engagement and consultation with a wide range of specialist infrastructure organisations, organisations working on social justice issues, and the wider sector to try to reflect, as far as is possible in a unifying framework, how organisations identify themselves.
This framework is not a judgement of organisations, it simply spells out the different categories that enable funders to collect data in a systematic manner to understand whether the reach of the funding and their funding practices are equitable. It will be used to inform funding strategies and specific funding strands/programmes, not individual funding decisions - except where it is explicitly a part of the fund criteria. The primary use will be for funders to monitor their grant programmes, but it is also anticipated that there will be wider use of a shared framework for sector analysis.
It is acknowledged that any framework that seeks to classify groups and communities is inherently problematic and can never capture the nuance of people’s individual identities. However, if we don’t have a standardised way to report and monitor information, we would not have the data needed to identify and address structural inequality. Hence, we acknowledge this challenge and seek to overcome it by focusing on self-identification, and by including free text option for “other identity or experience” not included in the taxonomy.
Adoption of the framework by grantmakers is voluntary and it is understood that it will take time to implement. This is not a solution in itself. Having the data is the first step to taking further actions. This work is only one area in a range of initiatives across the grantmaking sector to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in funding practices.
No framework can encompass every possible nuance, but we hope this provides a starting point for moving this forward.
This shared framework (classification, language and approach) aims to categorise organisations either led by, or targeting and supporting groups experiencing structural inequity.
There are three elements to the framework.
The first is the taxonomy which is the classification system i.e. what are the groupings of charitable organisations that we might use when asking questions or reporting on results. The taxonomy is generic and can be applied to different contexts.
The second is the approach to applying those groupings to organisations and projects - ie do the categories relate to the project, the organisation, or the leadership of the organisations - and the definitions of those areas. This is the context for use of the taxonomy.
3. The final area of the framework is guidance to support the consistency of application by funders. This will make it easier for applicants to grant programmes to be asked the questions in a similar way, and for funders to benchmark and compare their programmes.