Feasibility study to explore the use of the MoJ-DfE linked dataset to aid evaluations

Status: Closed

ADR UK is funding a University of Bristol feasibility study, supported by the Home Office, into using the new Ministry of Justice-Department for Education (MoJ-DfE) linked dataset for evaluation of early interventions for violence/crime prevention. More specifically, this work will explore how well the dataset can be used to create robust matched control groups.


Since 2014/15 there has been a sustained increase in serious violence offences in England and Wales. A systematic review of early interventions conducted for the Serious Violence Strategy in 2018 found early interventions to be the most promising approach to violence prevention. However, the review also found that there is not enough robust evidence to establish what works in England and Wales.

The MoJ/DfE linked dataset – the result of a data sharing agreement between the MoJ and DfE signed in September 2019 – has the potential to be a useful tool for measuring both short- and long-term outcomes for early interventions for violence and crime preventions (such as those funded by the Youth Endowment Fund, the Early Intervention Youth Fund or Violence Reduction Units). This feasibility study will help to identify a robust approach to measuring outcomes for early interventions to ensure early intervention funds are  spent most effectively and to fill  gaps in the evidence base.


The Dataset

This study will utilise the newly linked MoJ-DfE dataset - the result of a data sharing agreement between the MoJ and DfE signed in September 2019. The dataset includes data from Prison, Courts, Police National Computer, National Pupil Database, Looked-After-Children (LAC) and Children In Need (CIN) and covers variables such as demographics, offending data, school exclusions and children in care.


The Project

The project consists of two stages:

1. Assessing the reliability of the data included in the linked dataset.

This step will predominantly assess the reliability of variables in the linked dataset and where possible, the quality of the match.

2. Conduct a feasibility study to test if the dataset can be used to create matched control groups

The next stage will be to see if the dataset can be used to robustly match individuals to their most similar peers to create matched control groups (independent of the programme design) to be used in systematically evaluating early interventions.

Project details

This project is funded via the ADR UK Strategic Hub Fund, a dedicated fund for commissioning research using newly linked administrative data, in consultation with the former Research Commissioning Board (RCB).

You can find out more about the team conducting this study in the annoucement of their appointment (May 2020).

*Following the completion of this project, the researchers aim to publish a series of outputs including a report of the findings.

Categories: Research using linked data, ADR England, Children & young people, Crime & justice

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