Office for National Statistics

To support the ADR UK partnership, the ONS has committed to expanding and improving its established Secure Research Service – 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 the 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 Secure Research Service.

It is via the Secure Research Service – 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 Secure Research Service 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 Secure Rsearch Service operates within a legal framework with penalties for breaking these rules.

The ONS is the lead delivery partner for the new Integrated Data Service (IDS). Built on the success of the Secure Research Service, the IDS is a cross-government initiative which has been designed to transform the way de-identified data about our society and economy is made available for vital research and decision making in the UK.

The IDS will provide co-ordinated access to high quality data - critical for driving efficiency and improving public services. The service will soon be open to analysts within government as well as external accredited researchers, allowing them to carry out analysis that addresses major societal challenges.

The service will provide improved forms of data, alongside analytical and visualisation tools, in a secure cloud infrastructure. It is a main enabler of the Government’s National Data Strategy and Modernisation agenda. You can learn more about the Integrated Data Service on the IDS website.

Learn more about becoming an accredited or approved researcher on the ONS website.

The ONS is funded directly by the Economic & Social Research Council with a dedicated portion of the total investment in ADR UK. To find out more about how ADR UK is funded, see About Us

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The ADR UK Partners

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