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.

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Sharing data safely and securely 

Sharon Witherspoon MBE, Head of Policy of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Campaign for Social Science talks about how the Administrative Data Network can help Government Departments to share their data safely and securely.


We’ve continued to see passage of the Digital Economy bill which very much takes the model of the ADRN for thinking about how you link and match data, and how you protect public with security safeguards but also privacy concerns, so that’s all very promising.

I do think it’s important to remember that all UK governments of recent time have been worried about providing data for research access. Part of that, of course, is concerns about privacy, and we’ve now done a lot of work to clear up concerns with the Information Commissioner and so on; but part of it is, I think, a cultural reluctance on the part of government departments to let go of data.

And it’s a fear I suppose that it might be misused or people might not understand it, and also that it increases scrutiny and accountability. And of course those are the very things the ADRN should help provide. 

So I have to say, I think there is no reason to say it’s got particular concerns, but we’ve got a long way to go to tackle those cultural governmental concerns.

Page last updated: 24/07/2018