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Routes to access: what affects the decisions that ONS makes about research data access Paul J Jackson, Office for National Statistics.

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Presentation on theme: "Routes to access: what affects the decisions that ONS makes about research data access Paul J Jackson, Office for National Statistics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Routes to access: what affects the decisions that ONS makes about research data access Paul J Jackson, Office for National Statistics

2 Decisions in context We dont have a free hand or a clean slate Some long term, substantial, and effectively fixed Legal frameworks Government policies National strategies Others are shorter term, and more flexible Department organisation and resource allocations Approved Researcher, project approvals Partnerships, relationships and trust

3 Involvement in decision making Whether you get access to data for your research is a result of all of these elements. Some you can control directly Some you can influence Some you get consulted about Some you have no control over at all But knowing about them allows you to make the most of the leverage you have.

4 New legal framework Statistics and Registration Service Act Parliamentary acknowledgement for research use of confidential data Strong confidentiality protection Legal authority to give any individual access to any data from any ONS source at any level of detail for specific research purposes, given certain safeguards Very flexible and very powerful With power comes responsibility !

5 Legal Framework Positive for future research data access? Yes. Great improvement on previous legal framework(s) If we do feel a pinch? Might come from Judicial Review of our use of the law, so… Constant scrutiny But otherwise, we have an excellent, future-proof law for research data access

6 Legal Framework How will this affect decisions? 30+ years of good, responsible research with confidential data has allowed Parliament to legislate in this generous way Respect for this new law, and its safeguards, will ensure it remains available for decades of stable use. Research community needs to build into its practices the necessary structures to allow us to operate this law properly These practices must conform with the expectations of the public

7 Government policies Data sharing to deliver better public services : Walport/Thomas Review MISC 31 (Cabinet Committee for Data Sharing) Ministerial Group for migration Data Security : Data Handling Review Cabinet Sub-Committee for Personal Data Security

8 Social Exclusion UnitPAT18 Better Access to Information PM Strategy UnitWiring It Up: Whitehalls Management of Cross-cutting Policies and Services PM Strategy UnitAdding It Up: Analysis and Modelling in Central Government PM Strategy UnitPrivacy and Data Sharing: The Way Forward for Public Services Department for Every Child Matters Education and Skills Gus ODonnellFinancing Britains Future, A Review of the Revenue Departments Christopher AllsoppReview of Statistics for Economic Policymaking Philip HamptonReducing Administrative Burdens: Effective Inspection and Enforcement MOD/DfT'The Grand Challenge' -- Data Management and Data Assets ONSReport of the GSS Working Party on Data Transfer Cabinet OfficeTransformational Government Council for ScienceBetter Use of Personal Information And Technology Government policy reports about sharing data and better analysis, 1999 - 2005

9 Government policies Positive for future research data access? Govt has a positive attitude to sharing data. Ministers are determined to improve services by sharing data and to improve the evidence base for their decisions. Data Handling Review will introduce burdens If we feel a pinch? More data losses could ruin things for all of us Already it is harder to support off-site non-remote access where data is held on researchers machines Census data loss catastrophic

10 Government policies How will this affect decisions? Keep lobbying – it pays in the end ESRC response to the Walport Review was excellent and certainly influenced its positive outcome. Be patient with us as we implement new data handling requirements Support access arrangements that are more compliant with these requirements Public pressure is all about privacy and security, and will only increase

11 National Strategies National Data Strategy : Clear direction of travel for both research infrastructures and priority social research topics Archives, remote access, laboratories Aging population, child development, migration, and globalisation. ONS Statistical Priorities : Migration, societal welfare, public sector efficiency, service sector output, regional statistics. Ongoing support for UKDA/CCSR, SDS, VML

12 National Strategies Positive effect on future research data access? Yes. Significant positive effect Clearly ONS and ESRC have the same topic priorities. We also have similar visions for research infrastructures If we feel the pinch? If we have to, we will prioritise research which most supports these shared topic priorities. And which is conducted within the NDS preferred infrastructure.

13 National Strategies How will this affect decisions? More explicit links between statistical research and national strategic priorities Keep the NDS alive More use of the innovative infrastructures brought about by the NDS Especially laboratory or remote access facilities

14 Organisation and investment Doing more with less ONS has a challenging financial settlement and lots to do Our priority is the evidence base for policy making Resources for anything else are tight, yet data handling is getting more expensive Infrastructures with low to zero costs to ONS are favoured - obviously UKDA, CCSR, and the Secure Data Service, are therefore increasingly attractive

15 Organisation and investment Positive effect on research data access? Real and present pinch is the cost of risk management Efficiency gain (doing more with less) is a big driver for change in ONS data access. So now we feel the pinch - One source, many users minimises costs Rationalisation of access sources and designs Cost recovery but… Last to go should be the principle of free at point of delivery.

16 Organisation and investment How will this affect decisions? ONS needs the help, more than ever, of ESDS et al Design of safe data by ONS is expensive for us Distributing confidential data is even more expensive = ESDS, SDS, VML + Approved Researcher ?

17 Approved Researcher, MRP MRP - Single point of authorisation To check, before access, full compliance with : Law Safe person, place, and project Forensic audit, ICE AR – A legal gateway for access (only) Approx 200 already. 30 per month is possible. Success of VML dominates this total But available for SDS, off-site, and all sources Under close scrutiny

18 Approved Researcher, MRP Positive for the future of research data access? Some pinch, but a good governance structure MRP still coping AR bedding in Decisions must withstand scrutiny If we feel the pinch? We spend 90% of our time on 10% of our customers Improve the information about applying for access Prioritise requests for access made well in advance…

19 Partners, Relationships and Trust The Board [is] to consider whether the individual is a fit and proper person… No coincidence that this is what the Act says UK has deliberately gone the safe person route to maintain confidentiality A credit to the research community Fill the forms, but dont forget personal contact


21 Partners, Relationships and Trust Positive for research data access? Yes ESDS/ESRC – excellent relationship, getting still better National Statistician is personally dedicated to research DG for statistics is a social researcher ONS shares innovations (like Special Licence) If we feel the pinch? How can we get to know you better? AR conference? Cut out the data shares that stretch our trust

22 Relationships, trust Future? Lets say : Basic licence data - n0000 relationships SDS remote access- n000 VML- n00 Bespoke, own site- n0 (Central and Local Government users not included) Can we maintain meaningful relationships, and trust, at those volumes?

23 A key relationship… Parliamentary scrutiny of ONS as NMD We need your help to show Parliament : The value of S39 (confidentiality / AR) The value of economic and social research The delivery of govt. policy for security The delivery of our strategic aims The improvement to societal well-being that arises from the relationship ONS and the research community.

24 Conclusion There has never been a better time to innovate in research data access

25 Questions? Paul J Jackson Room CB23 ONS Titchfield PO15 5RR 01329 444010

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