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ONS data – improving access Richard Laux National Statistics and International Division, ONS.

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Presentation on theme: "ONS data – improving access Richard Laux National Statistics and International Division, ONS."— Presentation transcript:

1 ONS data – improving access Richard Laux National Statistics and International Division, ONS

2 Summary Concepts and terms The policy framework The past; the present; the future

3 ONS Data and Statistics ONS data – unpublished statistical information, obtained and controlled by ONS ONS statistics - transformations of data into summaries for publication. standardised transformations – predictable, pre- announced, pre-defined, and available for free from the website Other ONS statistics are non-standard summaries. (e.g. Census commissioned outputs)

4 Improving Access Limitations on access - 3 rd party use of ONS data for statistical purposes - are imposed –by law –by the need to protect confidentiality –by the availability of resources –but not by policy. …improving access is improving data availability and data utility by addressing these limitations.

5 Policy framework Users needs … met by ONS National Statistics? If not … met by bespoke ONS Statistics? If not … … implied need for access to ONS data Our policy is to provide access to ONS data for statistical purposes to (best) meet the needs of users - consistent with legal requirements and other necessary arrangements which ensure that the confidentiality of the data is protected, within available resources

6 History of data access Tended to be feast or famine. Those in the know and lucky enough to be focussed on a topic with a data supply feasted. Those without that luck starved. ONS was using risk avoidance or risk ignorance Change was needed.

7 Risk management – the Micro-data Release Panel a single source of authorisation for sharing ONS micro-data corporate policy and legal interpretation one standard for assessing disclosure risk one repository of data access documentation Identifies strengths and weaknesses = a forum for developing micro-data access improvement

8 Today 232 new data access decisions in institutions with access to ONS data 49 different micro-datasets in use 14,000 users of social survey data at UKDA Special License initiative in place Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML) Streamlined procedures

9 Improved web portal to go live soon

10 Improving Access – the future Limitations on access are imposed –by law [soon to change] –by the need to protect confidentiality [ongoing improvement assisted by the new law] –by the availability of resources [permanent constraint] –but not by policy. [supporting data access will be an express function of the Statistics Board] A substantial ONS Research Data Access Strategy statement is to be prepared, for consultation …The future of ONS data access looks good.


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