Once researchers had been trained, and their project was approved, they could access the administrative data in a secure environment. This is a facility – physical or virtual – hosted at:
- the data custodian (the organisation holding the data), or
- one of the Administrative Data Research Centres
The Network's secure environments were located at:
- For England:
- University of Southampton
- University College London
- Office for National Statistics in Titchfield and London
- For Northern Ireland:
- Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) in Belfast
- Office for National Statistics, Invest NI and NISRA, Belfast
- For Scotland:
- University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen
- University of Dundee, Dundee
- Bioquarter, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
- University of Glasgow, Glasgow
- University of St Andrews, St Andrews
- Office for National Statistics, Scottish Government, Glasgow
- For Wales:
- Swansea University
- Cardiff University
- Office for National Statistics, Newport
It was also possible to use an existing secure environment at your institution – as long as it was approved by the Network and the data custodian.
These facilities simply allowed researchers to use statistical software to analyse the data. They could not take anything in or out of the room (including mobile phones, memory sticks or even pen and paper), and they were not able to copy, download or disseminate the data in any way.
Once they finished the analysis of the data, Network staff clearrf the findings as safe before releasing the results to the researcher.
There are many similar secure facilities around the UK where researchers can access secure data safely. Each one strictly protects the privacy of any personal and/or sensitive data used for research.