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The Administrative Data Research Network gives trained social and economic researchers access to linked, de-identified administrative data in a secure environment.

Economic and social research improves our knowledge and understanding of the society we live in. It provides a sound base for policy makers to decide how to tackle a range of complex social, economic, environmental and health issues. This is what we mean by ‘better knowledge, better society’.

How the process works

The Administrative Data Service helps researchers prepare their proposals before they go to the Approvals Panel. This independent panel determines whether the research project is:

  •  ethical
  •  lawful
  •  feasible
  •  of high scientific merit
  •  of potential benefit to society

We train researchers carefully before they can be accredited to use de-identified data safely, legally and responsibly. The Network, in the meantime, starts negotiating with the data custodians – such as government organisations that hold the data – for permission to use and possibly link the requested data.

More about how data collections are de-identified and linked

The researchers analyse the linked, de-identified data in a secure environment under the guidance of Network staff, who make sure the data cannot leave the secure environment.

Before a researcher can remove their final results from the secure environment, our staff rigorously check that their findings:

  • are relevant to the approved research project
  • do not contain directly identifying personal information that would allow any person (or institution) to be identified

Finally, researchers give the Network a summary of their research in plain English, and make their results available to the public and the relevant data custodians.

Page last updated: 29/01/2018