Celebrating public engagement: Highlights from ADR Wales

Categories: Blogs, Public engagement, ADR Wales

Written by Lynsey Cross 14 December 2022

September 2022 saw the first anniversary of the publication of ADR UK Public Engagement Strategy. This felt like the perfect time to reflect on the public involvement and engagement work carried out by the ADR Wales over the past 12 months, and wow, what a year it has been!

The public voice is key

The use of administrative data by academics to support evidence-based policymaking is still a new, evolving, and exciting working concept, which is proving itself to be invaluable. Navigating this new working structure has been a learning curve, but one thing the ADR Wales team and its governmental partners know, is the importance of involving members of the public in the process.

Embedding the public voice in our work across the ADR UK programme is essential for demonstrating trustworthiness and maximising the public benefit of administrative data research. For ADR Wales, this means working closely with members of the public when making key decisions around the use of our data.

In the last year we have taken lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic and applied them to developing new approaches to public involvement and engagement. Through a survey conducted with the ADR Wales staff, new implementation of involvement methods was identified as a potential training need. In response, the ADR Wales public involvement team along with a public working group have started developing a training programme to support our researchers with their public involvement and engagement activities. This is just one example of how ADR Wales works with the public. Public participation plays a central role within ADR Wales, from seeking feedback before access to data is approved to working with accredited researchers to maximise the public benefit of their work.

Public participation in data access

ADR UK administrative data is held in dedicated trusted research environments which exist across the UK. Researchers who wish to gain access to this data must be accredited and their projects must be able to demonstrate that they will generate insights that will serve the public good. At ADR Wales, access to the SAIL Databank, our trusted research environment, is governed by two panels: the Information Governance Review Panel (IGRP) and UKRA Research Accreditation panel.

Both panels are independent with an objective of providing nonpartisan guidance and advice on information governance policies, procedures and processes for our trusted research environments. Research proposals submitted for access to data held within the SAIL Databank are reviewed by the panels, which include representatives from various organisations and members of the public. By including members of the public in this way, we can help ensure transparency of the governance process and the approval of projects that are in the public interest. .

The SAIL Databank Consumer Panel

The SAIL Databank has a bespoke Consumer Panel, which includes 20 members of the public and meets every three months. The Consumer Panel serves many purposes, including offering researchers time to discuss their proposed research project in order to  gauge its social acceptability. The Consumer Panel also plays a crucial role in other aspects of our work, including:;

  • discussing proposals for research and the implications of findings
  • providing feedback on data protection issues
  • reviewing information designed for a lay audience
  • offering guidance on how to recruit people for steering groups
  • advising on how best to engage with the wider public, and
  • acting as advocates for data linkage research.

What next?

The direction, excitement and spark which the publication of the ADR UK Public Engagement Strategy has provided has been incredible for the work being carried out in Wales. Over the next 12 months, we will continue to build on the work already being delivered, while looking for ways to improve our practice, and all done in collaboration with our public stakeholders.

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