Our public engagement activities
Our public engagement work is largely focused around five main activities, all geared towards achieving our two core public engagement objectives – demonstrating trustworthiness and maximising the public benefit of administrative data research.
These activities are:
- Public panels
- Working with the third sector
- Working with children and young people
- Public dialogue
Individual researchers or research teams may conduct additional public engagement specific to their projects. For example, ‘The personal cost of health conditions in childhood’ project team conduct public and patient workshops to help guide their work. You can find out more about project-specific public engagement on the individual project pages.
Public panels are a growing element of ADR UK’s public engagement work, providing a platform for members of the public to offer valuable feedback about our work.
The SAIL Consumer Panel for Data Linkage Research was established in 2011 and acts as a public voice in ADR Wales' work, providing input on governance systems, public engagement plans and research practices.
ADR Scotland’s Public Panel, set up in 2019 and maintained by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR), ensures members of the public are consulted on and involved in the administrative data research undertaken by ADR Scotland.
Public panels for England and Northern Ireland are currently in scope for consultation and advice on specific areas of ADR England and ADR Northern Ireland research.
Working with the third sector
Engaging with charities, voluntary groups and other third sector organisations allows ADR UK to understand the research needs of specific communities and sub-sectors of society. It also empowers these groups by offering the opportunity to influence the direction and outcome of research.
ADR Northern Ireland holds a Data Workshop Series around themes of interest to both researchers and local organisations. These focus on raising awareness among third sector groups about the power and potential of data in their own work and how complex questions can be answered using data, as well as embedding positive working relationships with the third sector. Furthermore, by bringing key stakeholders onto steering committees for each of its projects, ADR NI maximises engagement with people and organisations with differing expertise and knowledge of the issues researchers are exploring.
ADR Scotland conducts project-specific dialogue involving engagement with third sector organisations able to speak on behalf of the publics and communities relevant to each of ADR Scotland’s projects. Meanwhile, ADR Wales holds stakeholder workshops with devolved and local government and third sector organisations to get feedback on work already done and gain input on future work.
ADR England oversees community representative panels made up of third sector representatives, practitioners and others working directly with or on behalf of particular groups. For example, the Data First User Representation Panel is made up of representatives from organisations that work directly with or on behalf of people with experience of the justice systems, whilst the ADR England Children & Young People Representative Panel is made up of people working directly with or on behalf of children. These panels help shape administrative data research to deliver the greatest possible benefits for the public.
If you’re from a third sector organisation interested in joining one of our panels or working with ADR UK to increase a community’s representation in our work, please get in touch.
Working with children and young people
ADR UK is committed to ensuring that the rights and voices of children and young people are represented appropriately. Projects that use data about children and young people are informed either by direct engagement with children and young people, or by expert representatives, such as members of the ADR England Children & Young People Representative Panel.
Just as every person within society has a right to be informed about how and why their data is being used, children are no exception. In June 2023, ADR UK published its approach to engaging with children and young people. The approach includes a commitment to inclusive ways of working including:
- making our work more accessible
- involving children more frequently in research
- championing children’s rights and voices in the data landscape
- responding to the views and needs of children and young people.
The approach was developed following a pilot study (2022) undertaken by ADR Scotland partner, the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR), on directly engaging with children and young people about their data.
Public dialogue is key to understanding the views of the wider public on the use of administrative data for research more broadly.
In 2022, ADR UK partnered with the Office for Statistics Regulation and commissioned Kohlrabi Consulting to conduct a UK-wide public dialogue to better understand public perceptions of ‘public good’ use of data for research and statistics.
The dialogue produced five core findings:
1. Public Involvement: Members of the public want to be involved in making decisions about whether public good is being served.
2. Real-World Needs: Research and statistics should aim to address real-world needs, including those that may impact future generations and those that only impact a small number of people.
3. Clear Communication: To serve the public good, there should be proactive, clear, and accessible public-facing communication about the use of data and statistics (to better communicate how evidence informs decision-making).
4. Minimise Harm: Public good means data collected for research and statistics should minimise harm.
5. Best Practice Safeguarding: Universal application of best practice safeguarding principles to ensure secure access to data should help people feel confident to disclose data.
In 2022 ADR Scotland partner, the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR), collaborated with Children in Scotland to develop a pilot project to engage directly with children and young people. This project focused on how children and young people understand of administrative data, how it is used and how data research can be communicated. The pilot involved five interactive, online sessions with a group of children and young people from across Scotland held in early 2022. The workshops culminated in a report with key recommendations including finding creative and engaging ways to share results and adding references to show the data is trustworthy.
The report’s findings are helping to shape future practice and embed rights-based approaches across ADR Scotland, as well as leading to new training around children’s data. This pilot is a vital start in engaging with children and young people about data and we will continue to build on ways to bring children’s perspectives into our work.