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 approved 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.
ONS is funded directly by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) to support ADR UK with a dedicated portion of the total £44 million investment in the partnership, for an initial three-year period from July 2018 to July 2021. To find out more about how ADR UK is funded, see About Us.
Data First: Harnessing the potential of linked administrative data for the justice system
6 March 2020
Data First is an ambitious data-linking programme led by MoJ that aims to harness the potential of the wealth of data by linking administrative datasets from across the justice system and beyond.
Wage and employment dynamics in Great Britain
27 January 2020
This data linkage project is bringing together data about employee earnings, UK businesses, and 2011 Census data to provide important new insights into the dynamics of earnings and employment in the UK.
The All Years Dataset: Linking children’s health and education data for England
27 January 2020
This data linkage project aims to create a research-ready dataset that links longitudinal education records for all children in England with their NHS hospitalisation records from 2001 onwards.
ADR UK data access: Covid-19 update
28 May 2020
An update about how ADR UK's data services are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to provide updates here as and when circumstances change further.
Data research aims to understand wage inequality
18 May 2020
An ADR UK and University of the West of England-led partnership, announced today, will examine how and why our pay increases (or doesn’t). The Wage & Employment Dynamics project will help us understand changes in the British labour market over time.
Understanding Wage & Employment Dynamics with linked data: a new project with a new approach
18 May 2020
Researchers Alex Bryson (UCL) and Arusha McKenzie (University of the West of England) discuss the challenges and opportunities the Wage & Employment Dynamics project provides.
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.