Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) plays a crucial role in acquiring, 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 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 ONS's Approved Researcher Scheme 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.
ADR UK welcomes new National Statistician
ADR UK has welcomed today’s (6 August 2019) appointment of the UK’s new National Statistician, Professor Sir Ian Diamond. Sir Ian will take up his role full time on 22 October 2019, succeeding John Pullinger, who retired at the end of June.
Research initiative harnesses linked government data to improve children’s services
ADR UK has announced that it is working with the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Education to link and anonymise data from the 2011 Census with education data about England for research purposes.
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.