How do we work with the public?

People lie at the heart of our work and we are committed to working closely with members of the public from all walks of life. We are dedicated to ensuring that our work is carried out in an ethical and responsible way that people are comfortable with and that research is focused on the issues that matter most to the public. Additionally, public engagement is an important way of maintaining transparency in all that we do. As a result, it is crucial to ADR UK that our engagement with the public is a genuine dialogue.

ADR UK partners are already working and engaging with members of the public across the UK. You can find out about our main streams of public engagement, and some of the activities carried out, below.

Public panels

Public panels are an ongoing and growing element of ADR UK’s public engagement work, providing a platform for members of the public to offer valuable feedback about our work. ADR Scotland and ADR Wales both maintain public panels to advise, scrutinise and steer their work in line with public interests. 

ADR Wales’ Consumer Panel for Data Linkage Research was established in 2011, and acts as a public voice in the partnership's work, inputting on governance systems, public engagement plans and research practices.

In Scotland, the Administrative Data Research Public Panel for Scotland exists to ensure that members of the public are consulted on and involved in the administrative data research taking place. The public panel allows ADR Scotland to both test assumptions about public perceptions regarding administrative data research and to involve members of the public in determining what ‘public good’ means in this context. 

Events and exhibitions

ADR UK participates in a number of external public events and exhibitions throughout the year to raise awareness about our work and engage with interested communities around the UK. In addition, we run a number of our own public talks and seminars to allow individuals and communities to learn more about what we do, and why. 

ADR Wales, for example, works closely with the Swansea University Data Science Building to deliver workshops in schools for both staff and pupils. These aim to inspire, as well as to motivate people to engage in administrative data research.

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Working with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations

Engaging with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations as both consumers and drivers of administrative data research allows ADR UK to understand the research needs of marginalised groups and empowers these groups by offering the opportunity to influence the direction and outcome of research.

For example, ADR Northern Ireland’s Data Workshop series, developed and delivered in 2017 in partnership with Detail Data, was designed to connect NGOs with academic data research to make research more community-relevant and develop awareness among communities of the potential power of data. Each workshop was organised around a theme of interest to both researchers and local NGOs, including: carers and caring; mental health; and reproductive rights.

The reproductive rights workshop in particular had a lasting impact, resulting in an embedded relationship with several NGOs under the umbrella of the Childcare for All Coalition, a group which has been campaigning for affordable and accessible childcare provision in Northern Ireland, lobbying politicians and policy makers within government.

Connecting researchers to the public

Supporting the public engagement activities of researchers using ADR UK data for their projects is another key aspect of our work. For example, with the support and guidance of a dedicated ADR Wales public engagement officer, researchers using data from the SAIL databank can access bespoke training and advice on grant applications, advice on how to devise a public engagement strategy, planning for innovative engagement activities and access to a consumer panel, as well as establishing and building a public engagement network.

The public’s contribution to the work of ADR UK is hugely important for a number of reasons:

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Public engagement allows ADR UK to foster a constructive, mutually beneficial conversation with the public. We believe that one of the best ways to understand the public’s concerns and issues is to simply ask and listen.

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We are dedicated to empowering the public to have a say in what their data is used for, to help drive research that fits firmly within the public interest.

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In order to get the most from our engagement with the public, raising awareness for the work that we do is paramount. People have a right to know what public sector data is being used for, and this represents a key part of our engagement work.

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The best engagement involves all voices. That’s why ADR UK is committed to diversity, to making sure that individuals from all walks of life have a say in influencing our work.

ADR UK has plans for more public engagement activities in the pipeline. Check our events page for upcoming opportunities to hear from and speak to us at public talks and seminars; to discuss our work in focus groups and public panels; and to explore other ways of getting involved.

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