Equality monitoring forms
These are forms designed specifically to collect information on the equality characteristics of individuals. Often you’ll ask people to fill in an equality monitoring form at the start of your project, although it can also be completed part way through or at the end.
By assigning each individual (and their equality monitoring form) a unique reference number you can keep track of their relationship with your project (and organisation) over time, without needing to collect their equality information more than once. You can also store the equality information you collect more confidentially as it can be held separately from any information that would identify individuals (such as their names). Remember that as the data is linked to an individual it becomes personal data and is subject to the Data Protection Act.
Monitoring forms should ideally be completed in private. However this assumes that the individual is able to read and write, which won’t always be the case, for example, for people with learning difficulties. Another option is to provide some help filling in the form, for example, from a member of your organisation. This leads to a high response rate but you shouldn’t include the most sensitive questions, such as about sexual orientation.