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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - 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, to be launched later in 2018.

Better data for better policies

New research from the ADRN highlights how administrative data is supporting government departments across the UK to develop evidence-based policies and measure policy impact more effectively.

The UK governments are some of the most digitally advanced in the world. Data they hold are now more complete, usable, better understood, and therefore more valuable to decision-making than ever before.  Safely transforming sensitive information into functionally anonymised datasets for research projects is a difficult task that needs the contribution of many experienced and well-resourced experts working together.  The ADRN provides everything needed by a public authority or government department to enable this.  

Thematic Partnerships

Data owners, researchers, data infrastructure owners, users of evidence and the public have the same core interest in better information for a better society. Each has different concerns that must be addressed to achieve that common aim. The best way to do this is to form a long-term partnership, which is what the ADRN is doing.

Case studies

Browse the case studies that show how administrative data research can support evidence-based policy.

A transformational service

The ADRN connects the capacity and capability of academia’s social and economic research teams with the analytical staff of government departments to share knowledge, methods, and insight for public benefit.

Digital Economy Act 2017

This new legislation will help the UK use data for research effectively, safely and securely. It enables the transformation of information held by government departments into an immensely valuable resource of anonymised datasets for research purposes.

Quality, ethics, capacity and integrity

Scientifically sound and ethically robust research is essential for protecting and improving public services. The Network’s legal expertise provides guidance on data protection law, research governance and ethics.

Value for money

Administrative data collections are a valuable and currently under-used resource. Because they already exist, there are no hidden costs in providing the information. In some cases, these data resources have been collected in the same way over many years, so researchers across government departments and academia can compare the same data over time to uncover trends.

Public acceptance with clear public benefits

The research made possible by the ADRN can help to address social and economic challenges across the UK now and in the future. The Network enables researchers to analyse patterns and behaviours, not individuals. In this way it has the potential to enable government to improve services and care across all government departments, and can even save lives.

Better use of data

The Network negotiates with data providers across government departments to get data for researchers both inside and outside government.  It also advises governments and other organisations across the world on best practice around securely collating, managing, maintaining and using administrative data for research.

Standards and governance

Read more about the legal framework, the ADRN security standards, the eligibility criteria, privacy protection and the ADRN policies and procedures

Page last updated: 20/12/2017