Demonstrating trustworthiness and maximising public benefit: ADR UK Public Engagement Strategy 2021 - 2026
Today we have published the ADR UK Public Engagement Strategy 2021 – 2026, setting out our aims and objectives across the next five years. Public Engagement Manager, Shayda Kashef, discusses why embedding public engagement across all of our projects is so important.
At ADR UK, our mission is to harness the potential of administrative data for research in the public interest. Administrative data holds a treasure trove of insights into how services are working and can be improved to benefit society. But administrative data is also the public’s data, and as such, in addition to making sure this data is used ethically and responsibly, it is crucial that we engage you, the public, in the work that we do to make sure it represents your interests. With our recent announcement of renewed funding up to 2026, we are delighted to today be publishing our Public Engagement Strategy.
We define public engagement as a purposeful set of activities designed to promote an ongoing dialogue with the public about administrative data research, driven by active listening and responding. The purpose of these activities is twofold: they first help us demonstrate trustworthiness by listening and responding to your views about how administrative data should be used for research. This means that we aim to embed public engagement in every stage of our work, and to meet public expectations over and beyond the standard legal requirements for the secure use and sharing of data for research in the public interest. Secondly, public engagement activities help us maximise the public benefit of administrative data research; understanding your needs and interests means we can achieve benefits in the right places.
Public engagement activities take many forms across the ADR UK partnership. ADR England, for instance, currently has three community representative panels aimed at furthering our understanding of the interests of children, justice system users and of the many actors involved in the workforce in Britain. The ADR England representative panels provide feedback on a range of areas, from ongoing data linkage projects to shortlisting ADR UK Fellowship applicants.
ADR Northern Ireland holds a Data Workshop Series focused on areas of interest relevant to both researchers and local organisations. Partnership working of this kind helps raise awareness of local needs and also of the power of data to furthering the interests of third sector groups. The Data Workshop Series currently runs virtually to remove barriers to attendance.
ADR Scotland had successfully established a public panel during the previous ADRN programme (preceding ADR UK) and established a new membership in 2019 consisting of members of the Scottish public. The ADR Scotland Public Panel very quickly had to adapt to the challenges brought on by the pandemic and moved to holding virtual meetings. It will soon grow in size, with the aim of furthering inclusivity and diversity, and plays a key role in shaping ADR Scotland research, including providing feedback on emerging Covid-19 projects and helping shape future information governance in Scotland.
Public engagement from ADR Wales centres around the SAIL Consumer Panel for Data Linkage Research, which was established in 2011. Since that time, the SAIL Consumer Panel has acted as a public voice in ADR Wales’ work, from providing feedback on governance systems to co-designing public engagement activities. Similar to the ADR Scotland Public Panel, the SAIL Consumer Panel also adapted to a virtual format following the UK coronavirus lockdown.
While our public engagement activities may be different, they are all committed to our five public engagement principles:
- Undertaking meaningful public engagement by using appropriate methods tailored to the purpose of engagement
- Developing a mutually beneficial relationship by taking a dialogue-based approach to listening and responding to your views about our work
- Being accountable by acting upon your feedback
- Being inclusive by engaging with a diverse range of voices from across different backgrounds and identities, and adapting our approaches to reduce barriers to engagement
- Being open and transparent with communications about the findings of our public engagement activities and how you can get involved.
Over the next five years we have many exciting public engagement initiatives in store, including the creation of ADR Northern Ireland and ADR England public panels and a UK-wide public dialogue to better understand how you interpret ‘public good’ of research that uses data and statistics.
In celebration of our Strategy launch we have revamped our Working with the Public page to better outline the ongoing public engagement work happening across the partnership and how you can get involved.