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How we anonymise your personal data
How we anonymise your personal data

How we are supporting you to report on board diversity safely and securely

Ellie Cheshire avatar
Written by Ellie Cheshire
Updated over a week ago

The DfE encourages maintained schools and academy trust boards to collect and publish diversity data about their boards and those of any local committees. Information should be widely accessible to members of the school community but schools and trusts must make sure that individuals can't be identified through the publication of the data, particularly when board member levels are low.

At GovernorHub we have widened the range of data we collect within the user profile area and provided an anonymous Board Diversity Data download so that boards can collect and report on board diversity safely and securely.

Below, we outline the measures we’re taking to appropriately protect our users’ privacy whilst we collect and report on what we are calling your 'Personal information'. This consists of your date of birth, sex and gender identity, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, long term conditions and education levels.

Data protection

Whilst the GovernorHub system already has robust data protection processes and systems, we apply additional protection to this particular data set:

  • Personal information data is held separately from any other GovernorHub data so we can't accidentally access it when carrying out other processing functions

  • Access to a user's personal information data is restricted solely to that user

    • Group admins cannot see or update a user's personal information data

    • GovernorHub team members cannot see or update a user's personal information data

  • Additional safeguards have been put into place in any part of our system that has direct database access (ensuring the data is not inappropriately accessed).

Anonymisation

Before we process any personal information our system has been designed to automatically anonymise the data:

  • Our system takes each personal information data field and removes any link to the user or to other data fields (i.e. your date of birth will be stored anonymously alongside other people's dates of birth rather than alongside your name, religion or sex etc.). The only thing known about each field value is which group (board) it belonged to. This anonymises any individual value except where the group only has one member

  • Our reporting will only provide data for groups of more than three members (see point above)

  • Performing global re-coding on any fields with a continuous or overly-numerous set of discrete possibilities means we can aggregate values by bucketing them and counting the entries in each bucket (e.g. in a board of 3 people; instead of saying 1 person is 76, 1 person is 42 and 1 person is 49, we can say 2 people are between 20 and 49 years old and 1 is 50+)

  • Reporting will never reveal counts of the number of people answering questions and will only provide percentages instead of explicit counts (in the example above this be reported as 'of those answering this question 66% are 20-50 and 33% are 50+')

Reporting

As this report aims to fulfil requirements for public dissemination (e.g. adding to school websites) we have not restricted downloading to board admins. We have however added extra precautions to remind boards to treat the data carefully:

  • The report will only contain data for board members who are allocated to the board's constitution (a live term of office). This removes the need for those downloading to filter out data that isn't required.

  • Reports will only generate if the minimum threshold of 3 members have filled in their personal information.

  • The report will generate individual question areas (i.e date of birth, ethnicity) will only generate within a report if the minimum threshold of 3 or more members have filled in the information.

  • We have also been careful to remind users of their responsibilities when downloading board diversity data reports.

More information

You can read more about why we're doing this here
You can find out more about the individual questions we are asking here

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