The ADR Scotland veterans study, led by Dr Iain Atherton, seeks to provide an overview of the social circumstances and health of those in Scotland who have served in the UK military by linking the Ministry of Defence’s Service Leavers Database and the 2011 Census. The process of developing the study has already had impact through the engagement of the research team with government and organisations with responsibilities towards the veteran community.
There are currently few figures relating to veterans that can inform policy development. This data linkage presents the opportunity to gain crucial insight into the veteran community, particularly around the themes outlined in the UK Government’s ‘Strategy for our Veterans’ such as health and employment.
By providing greater clarity on numbers and outcomes of veterans, this study anticipates to provide better evidence that government, health boards, local authorities and third sector organisations can utilise to better understand the veteran population and inform planning and support for veterans and their families, ultimately improving the livelihoods of the veteran community.
“Our collaboration with Scottish Government and organisations that support veterans is demonstrating just what can be done with data linkage to inform understanding of our Veteran community and guide future policy.” Iain Atherton, Research Lead
The study has already raised the profile of administrative data and how it can provide rich insights for government and organisations who support veterans. ADR Scotland have engaged with and built a key stakeholder group to ensure this research responds to critical policy areas and needs. This group includes representatives from Scottish Government’s Defence Policy Unit, the Veterans’ Commissioner for Scotland and third sector organisations including the Royal Air Forces Association and Poppy Scotland. They have contributed to the development and design of the study, as well as becoming advocates for the enhanced collection, use and analysis of data in this area to inform policy and practice.