Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) plays a crucial role in sourcing, linking and curating public sector data for ADR UK, ensuring that all data is accessed by researchers in a safe and secure form with minimal risk to data holders or the public.
ONS’s strong existing relationships with government departments and successful established service is important in helping to establish ADR UK as a trusted partner for administrative data research.
To support the ADR UK partnership, ONS has committed to expanding and improving its established Secure Research Service (SRS) – the organisation’s facility for providing secure access to de-identified public sector data for research – and significantly increasing the range of administrative data available. ONS will focus on increased data reuse to deliver efficiencies to government departments (who only need to provide data once), and maximise the use of this data by identifying shared priorities and objectives with government departments.
Within ONS there are designated teams working together to meet the needs of government and researchers: the Strategic Data Curation team; the Data Acquisition team; and the Data Integration team. The role of Strategic Data Curation is to identify potential research and administrative data sources by exploring gaps in existing research and working to establish the needs of both government and researchers. The Data Acquisition team liaise with data owners to allow datasets from multiple departments and bodies to be linked together. Finally, the Data Integration team are the experts in linkage and management of data, producing linked datasets or outputs of administrative datasets which are then de-identified and made available to researchers through the SRS.
It is via the SRS – which is an accredited processor under the Digital Economy Act (DEA) – that ONS provides access for accredited researchers working on defined and accredited research projects which serve the public good. The SRS provides a safe setting as part of the Five Safes framework used to protect data confidentiality. ONS procedures mean that analysis results don’t disclose sensitive information, and the SRS operates within a legal framework with penalties for breaking these rules. More information about becoming an accredited researcher can be found on the ONS website.
Most datasets are available to access through remote access to the SRS. In some instances, the data can only be accessed from an approved Safe Setting. Safe Settings are located at ONS offices in London, Newport (Gwent) and Titchfield, as well as at locations in Belfast and Glasgow. The Data Catalogue lists all available datasets and any associated access restrictions.
ONS is funded directly by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) with a dedicated portion of the total investment in ADR UK, initially from July 2018 to March 2022. To find out more about how ADR UK is funded, see About Us.
Understanding the Impact of Educational Interventions Beyond Test Scores
16 March 2021
This project, being conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team and funded by ADR UK, will use linked data to establish whether programmes intended to boost children’s educational attainment also have a positive impact on other related outcomes.
Local Data Spaces: Helping Local Authorities tackle the Covid-19 pandemic
26 February 2021
ADR UK is funding an initiative to help local authorities across England harness crucial data in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The personal cost of health conditions in childhood
17 February 2021
ADR UK is funding the creation of an information governance framework for the linking of disease-specific health datasets to administrative school and university data for England and Wales.
Criminal Courts and Prisons Linking Dataset becomes latest research-ready output of Data First
10 May 2021
A new linking de-identified dataset is now available in the Office for National Statistics Secure Research Service for accredited researchers to apply to use.
ADR UK three years in: Marking the end of a successful pilot, and looking to the future
27 April 2021
On 22 April 2021, ADR UK held a virtual event to showcase progress in harnessing the power of administrative data for policy-relevant research.
Funding opportunity: a unique chance to shape data science at the heart of UK government
8 April 2021
[NOW CLOSED] The Economic and Social Research Council and ADR UK are now accepting applications for up to four new data science fellows to spend a year collaborating with 10 Downing Street’s data science team and the Office for National Statistics.
Find out more
You can find out more about the datasets available via the SRS on the ONS website. If you are interested in working with ADR UK on a research project using this data to produce policy impact, please get in touch.