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

Secure access

To protect the privacy of data and ensure the utmost security, it was compulsory for researchers using the ADRN to analyse their data sets in a secure environment that adheres to the strictest security standards.

The Network had secure research environments at four centres across the UK. Staff at the centres performed statistical disclosure control on the results of the analysis before they were released.


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.

Page last updated: 27/07/2018