The Administrative Data Research Network was an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 to July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, which was launched at the end of 2018.

Visit the Administrative Data Research Partnership for further information. 

This archival website reflects the state of play at the end of the project in July 2018. All content has been frozen and may not be up to date.

open menu

Statistics and Registration Service Act

The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 only applies to data designated as ‘Official Statistics’ and includes statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), central government, and devolved administrations.

It provides that ‘personal information’ which relates to and identifies an individual or business, and which is held or disclosed by the Statistics Authority, is confidential (SRS Act, section 39(1)). Any unlawful disclosure of personal information by an individual or data holding organisation outside of the legal gateways is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment (SRS Act, section 39(9)). If the identity of that person is specified, can be deduced from the information, or can be deduced from the information taken together with any other published information, then this will constitute an offence.

The Act does permit certain specified disclosures of personal information held by it (SRS Act, subsection 39(1)), which includes to ‘an approved researcher’, i.e. an individual to whom the Statistics Authority has granted access for the purposes of statistical research (SRS Act, section 39(5)). ‘Approved researcher’ is not defined by the SRS Act, but the criteria for access require the Statistics Authority to consider whether the individual is a fit and proper person, and the purpose for which access is requested.


Further reading

Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007 – Act in full (PDF) (245Kb)

Page last updated: 24/07/2018