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Teaching and Learning Conference 2021

Athena Swan FAQs: Data

The answers to some frequently asked questions about working with data in your Athena Swan charter application.

How recent does the data presented have to be for November and April submission rounds?

The data requirement is for a minimum of three consecutive years of data and the panel expects to see applicants use the most recent data they have access to, with the understanding that self-assessment teams need sufficient time to collate, analyse and develop actions in response to issues identified from their data. Therefore, panels expect to see the most recent available academic year of data for submissions (e.g. an April 2020 submission would be generally expected to include 2018-19 data). November submissions are not expected to provide data from the previous academic year as they are likely to be prepared during that academic year (i.e. 2019-20 data would understandably not be included in a November 2020 submission, as this would only become available very shortly before the submission deadline).

Under the new GDPR guidelines, can we collect, store and monitor personal information, including around recruitment activities?

The collection and retention of personal data for equality and diversity purposes is permitted under GDPR, as long as consent is obtained (e.g. from job applicants), and data are collected and stored appropriately. Please see Compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) for applicants to the Charters for more information on GDPR and charters applications and consult with legal contacts or data protection officers in your own institution for further guidance.

Where can our institution or department collect data to inform our work supporting trans people?

When collecting demographic data, Advance HE advises institutions to provide staff with an option in addition to male and female or man and woman to ensure people who are non-binary have an appropriate category to select. In consultation with staff and students, institutions may decide to add non binary as a category and/or use an open text box under the option of ‘other’. 

People who are trans will often identify as male or female so asking a question on sex or gender identity alone will not enable institutions to monitor the experiences of their trans staff and students and may opt to add a question on trans identity. An institution may opt for qualitative rather than quantitative methods where it cannot guarantee confidentiality. Advance HE's 2016 guidance ‘Improving the experiences of trans staff and students’ has a detailed terminology section and outlines questions that institutions may wish to ask when collecting equality monitoring data, including the question ‘do you identify as trans or have a trans history’.