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The ADRN was established following the Administrative Data Taskforce (ADT) report published in 2012.  The report argued that administrative data in research needs to be used more effectively across the UK, to support public policy and ultimately empower government departments and researchers to improve society.  Other leading experts suggest the UK is lagging behind fellow European countries and other parts of the developed world.  The ADT report identified that:

“Improving access to and linkage between administrative datasets for research and statistical purposes would have demonstrable effects on economic growth.”

The UK has the opportunity to be a world leader in research using de-identified administrative data, routinely collected by government departments, agencies and other statutory bodies.  Such data, made accessible for research in ways that prevent the identification of individuals will provide a robust UK-wide evidence base to inform research, thereby guiding the development, implementation and evaluation of policy.”  Administrative Data Taskforce report, 2012

The government committed to support its recommendations and agreed to work with the research community to support the use and reuse of de-identified administrative data for research and policy purposes. Their response emphasised the importance of:

  • building on existing activities, infrastructure and systems where feasible to develop a new UK-wide approach
  • developing the infrastructure to maximise the potential benefits to government analysts, the wider research community and citizens
  • ensuring that the full breadth of data sources, with analytical value and held in administrative systems, are accessible for research

The Government welcome the emphasis on operating to the highest international standards. The initiative offers an opportunity for the UK to take the lead.”  Department for Business Innovation and Skills – Improving Access for Research and Policy, June 2013

The ADRN has established secure processes, procedures and policies to ensure the protection of privacy and public benefit are at the heart of everything it does.  There are over one hundred and forty research projects in the pipeline and it has advised on the drafting of the Digital Economy Bill in the UK and shared knowledge and expertise with governments and researchers in Australia, Europe, South Korea and USA, to name a few. 

The Digital Economy Act has passed through parliament, with the aim to enable better use of data for research, in a secure way that protects public privacy.

Page last updated: 06/06/2017