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 a SafePod, an approved Safe Setting or a secure connection to one. 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. Further details of the grant awarded to ONS can be seen on UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)’s Gateway to Research platform.
ADR UK Research Fellows: Methodological developments within administrative data research
9 August 2021
ADR UK is funding three research teams as part of the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Methods Development Grants.
ADR UK Research Fellows: The first users of the Data First magistrates’ and Crown Court datasets
30 June 2021
ADR UK is funding four Research Fellows for seven to 12 months to conduct analysis using the Data First magistrates’ or Crown Court linked datasets, or a linking dataset enabling analysis of relationships between the two. Both datasets contain case and defendant level data on criminal court use between 2011 and 2020.
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.
ADR UK secures £90 million funding extension as Government plans better use of data
9 September 2021
The administrative data initiative that transforms researchers’ access to the UK’s wealth of public sector data to help solve social and economic issues will continue for a further five years.
Funding opportunity: ADR UK welcomes applications for GRading and Admissions Data for England (GRADE) Research Fellowships
1 September 2021
We are accepting applications for 12-month Research Fellowships to conduct analysis using newly available GRading and Admissions Data for England (GRADE), to understand the impacts of summer 2020 awarding approaches on students and schools.
Exploring defendant appearance(s) in the magistrates’ and Crown Court over time: specialisation, or (de-)escalation
25 August 2021
ADR UK Research Fellow Becky Pattinson discusses how she will use linked, de-identified data made available via the Data First programme to better understand the scale and pattern of repeat court use.
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.