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Introducing a new perspective: the ADRN Approvals Panel lay members

Many projects that go through the ADRN have to be approved by the ADRN Approvals Panel. That panel consists of a number of experts in different fields, such as academia, government and data security. There are also two ‘lay members’; these are members of the general public who give a non-specialised view on the project proposals.

In April, Denise Kazmierczak is joining the team as a new lay member to replace Jen Persson, whose term of two years on the Panel is coming to an end. William Mehaffy joined the Panel in September 2016 to replace Stephen Parker.

Denise and William were invited to the Administrative Data Service at the University of Essex to get some background in the workings and purpose of the ADRN in the beginning of April.

Melanie Wright, Director of the Administrative Data Service, welcomed them to Essex. She was very excited to meet the two new lay members. “It is so important that the voice of non-specialists is represented on our Approvals Panel,” she said. “It keeps us accountable for the work we do and brings a sometimes much needed fresh view to the table. We are very happy Denise and William are taking on such a key role.”

William MehaffyWhen asked why he was interested in the role, William explained that he had recently retired and was looking for something to do where he could give back to society. “A lot of volunteer positions are about fundraising and such, but this caught my attention because it was so very different. Thinking about academic research and seeing from close by how it is applied to benefit society is very interesting. To be part of that process is highly rewarding.”

Denise KazmierczakDenise was equally enthusiastic about the possibilities. “I work in public health so I know what kind of impact research can have on people’s lives. It is great that such opportunities now exist for social research, which creates a huge potential to improve people’s lives in more than just health.”

Denise and William spent the day with several members of the Administrative Data Service team, who explained how and why the ADRN was established, how it works and what the role of the Approvals Panel is.

In the afternoon, they were guided around the UK Data Archive Secure Lab, to get a better understanding of how secure environments work. The setting is very similar to the secure environments at the four Administrative Data Research Centres.

“It was very interesting to learn a bit more about the process and the reasons why the ADRN was set up the way it was. I’m very much looking forward to my first Approvals Panel meeting at the end of April,” Denise concluded.

“And it was an added perk that I could visit the University of Essex again, I studied here thirty years ago. It has changed a lot but it was lovely to be back,” William added.


Written by ADS staff and published on the ADRN blog under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Images used with permission.

Published on 20 April 2017


Page last updated: 22/06/2017