Expert team appointed to test potential of MoJ-DfE linked dataset

The MoJ-DfE linked dataset was created as the result of a data sharing agreement signed in September 2019, with both departments recognising the importance of building an evidence base on the factors that influence and prevent youth offending.

The dataset includes information on young people’s circumstances drawn from the National Pupil Database (NPD), as well as data on offences and convictions from MoJ.

The feasibility study, funded by ADR UK (Administrative Data Research UK) and supported by the Home Office, will test whether the dataset can be used to reliably assess which interventions works to prevent violent crime.

Dr Rosie Cornish, a Research Fellow at Bristol Medical School, is the principal investigator for the project. Rosie is an experienced statistician with expertise in analysing large datasets in applied research. She will work alongside Dr Alison Teyhan, Professor Iain Brennan, Professor Kate Tilling and Andy Boyd. Find out more about the research team in their biographies below.

The research team will take a two-stage approach, first analysing the reliability and quality of the linked data. They will then test if the dataset can be used to match individuals with similar characteristics, creating control groups that can show whether differences in young people’s outcomes are a result of particular interventions or not.

If successful, the findings of the study will be used to create an evaluation framework for early intervention initiatives, including those provided by the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF), the Early Intervention Youth Fund, and Violence Reduction Units.

Dr Rosie Cornish said: “One of my key interests is how we can make better use of administrative and routine health data to generate high quality evidence to inform policy and practice, so it is great to be given the opportunity to explore whether these rich data can be used to carry out robust evaluations of interventions to reduce youth crime.”


Research team biographies:

Andy Boyd (University of Bristol)

Andy is a senior Data Manager for the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), where he leads on linking to routine health and administrative records, as well as ethics, governance and information security. Andy has been involved in the processing and management of the ALSPAC resource for 21 years, and establishing linkages for 15 years.

He is a recognised expert in record linkage within longitudinal studies and has roles at Twins UK (where he is co-applicant on their strategic award), the CLOSER consortium (where he leads on record linkages), and the UNICORN cohort consortium (where he leads on primary care linkages). Andy also advises the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL) and the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transition and Crime on their linkage strategies.

Professor Iain Brennan (University of Hull)

Iain has been undertaking and publishing research on perpetrators and victims of crime and on criminal justice interventions for 15 years. This work has focused predominantly on community violence, but has also included domestic abuse, general offending by young people, systematic reviews and evaluations of crime and criminal justice-related interventions. His research into the causes of weapon-carrying and serious violence takes in a range of predictive factors, which include school performance, exclusion and school-level effects, and his research into the effectiveness of diversion programmes has explored the criminogenic impact of engagement with the criminal justice system.

Iain is a member of Youth Endowment Fund Expert Panel, and has advised the Home Office and the College of Policing on violence prevention strategies.

Dr Rosie Cornish (University of Bristol)

Rosie is a statistician and epidemiologist with substantial experience of working with large, complex datasets. She has managed and analysed data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), and linked to Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and other external datasets. Between 2011 and 2019, as part of the ALSPAC data linkage team, Rosie carried out research using ALSPAC’s linked National Pupil Database (NPD), HES and primary care data. She is currently leading a research project using large linked datasets from several countries; this includes data from CPRD, the SAIL databank, Australian, Norwegian and Danish linked data, and US vital statistics data.

Dr Alison Teyhan (University of Bristol)

Alison is a social epidemiologist with extensive experience of working with longitudinal cohort data linked to administrative datasets, as well as national data – including death record data for England, Wales, and Portugal, and immunisation data for Scotland. Her general research interests are around the upstream determinants of social inequalities, and her previous work has had a particular focus on health and education. More recently, she has been leading on developing the linkage between ALSPAC and local police data.

Professor Kate Tilling (University of Bristol)

Kate is a medical statistician with a track record of developing and applying methods for improving causal analysis. Methods include instrumental variables methods (e.g. regression discontinuity, Mendelian randomization), multivariable regression, and the use of synthetic controls in assessing the effects of policy interventions on a national scale (with applications in alcohol licencing and its effects on crime and health). She has a strong interest in methods for incomplete data, particularly multiple imputation and inverse probability weighting, as well as the use of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) to identify when each method may be appropriate.

Kate is a co-investigator on the world-leading ALSPAC study and a programme lead in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Integrative Epidemiology Unit at Bristol University.

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