Inequality & social inclusion

ADR UK has a number of data linkages underway to explore inequality across the country. Much of ADR Wales’ work linking Welsh administrative data, for example, is based upon the Welsh Government’s ‘Prosperity for All’ programme, which aims to increase the standard of living for the entirety of the Welsh population across socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural divides. A number of datasets are therefore being linked with the aim of tackling issues in Wales within this theme.

Understanding inequality in Northern Ireland

Meanwhile, ADR Northern Ireland has multiple initiatives underway to offer new insights into inequalities in Northern Ireland. For example, the partnership is linking data from the 2011 Census with the Dental Reimbursement Database from the Business Services Organisation (BSO) to enable a better understanding of the stark difference in the pattern of publicly funded oral healthcare delivered through general dental practice in Northern Ireland related to social class. This data linkage will help researchers evaluate the efficacy of the NHS’ Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), as well as to examine the migrant and ethnic minority population’s dental and orthodontic treatment uptake.

In addition, ADR Northern Ireland is looking to extend its existing research using data about those in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA; replaced by Personal Independence Payments in 2016) in Northern Ireland, linked to the 2011 Census. This data linkage allows researchers to develop a better understanding of how self-reported health is associated with the receipt of DLA and employment status in the country.

Northern Ireland is one of the most disadvantaged parts of the UK, with high levels of dependence on state benefits (especially disability benefits), and high economic inactivity levels in working-age groups. Figures have shown that one in nine of the working-age population in Northern Ireland was in receipt of DLA in 2016 compared to one in eighteen in Great Britain. Despite these observed differences, there is a lack of information about the health of disability benefit recipients, and how this relates to disability in the wider community. Our work in this area aims to help tackle this issue.

ADR Northern Ireland is also looking to link data that will enable further exploration of the already well-established link between low educational attainment and adverse social circumstances including child poverty. In general, children in poverty leave school with lower levels of educational attainment compared to children from affluent families. The partnership’s work in this area has a particular interest in assessing children on the threshold of Free School Meals entitlement.

Other data linkages being undertaken by ADR Northern Ireland involve enabling exploration of issues surrounding social inclusion, including drug-related deaths; concessionary fares; and speakers of Irish and Ulster Scots.

Creating a fairer Scotland

ADR Scotland is linking administrative data to aid the assessment of specific areas of work, social security and health outcomes in Scotland and inform Scottish policy developments including the Fairer Scotland Fund and the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. The partnership aims to build an ambitious new dataset linking data from various sources, including the 1947 Scottish Mental Survey, NHS Central Register (NHSCR), the 2001 Census and the National Records of Scotland’s 1939 register. This will be used by researchers, for example, to investigate the relationships between social mobility and the impact of selective migration upon health and mortality. The newly linked data will enable research that illuminates the ways in which the places and groups a child grows up in affect their wellbeing in later life.

In addition, by connecting census and Ministry of Justice data, ADR Scotland aims to enable a better understanding of how the social circumstances of the Scottish veteran population contrast to a comparable group drawn from the general populace. This newly-linked data will provide valuable insights into inequalities experienced by the veteran population, and how policy can work better to address them.

More in-depth information about the individual data linkage and research projects being undertaken within this theme can be explored below.

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