Administrative Data Research Centres 2018
  Administrative data (that is, information collected primarily for administrative purposes) has long contributed to central government and other statistics. However in the last 15-20 years, technological advancement has seen something of a revolution with the formation of very large administrative databases held by central and local government, and by specialist agencies across the UK. The existence of such databases raises the possibility that administrative data could become, in an annoymised form, a core resource for social science academic research. Many northern European countries (notably Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) are further ahead in this regard, as they have placed much greater emphasis on developing national 'register data' from the 1980s onwards, to replace national censuses and major surveys.

In response to this possibility and supported by the ESRC the Administrative Data Research Centre - Scotland (ADRC-S), with the NHS Scotland and the Scottish government, has developed a service for carrying out anonymised administrative based data research in Scotland. This has allowed important insights to be gained on a very diverse set of issues including: the impact of homelessness on the health, the type of care given to children been look after by the state, the impact of poverty on child development, what care is being given at the end of life in Scotland and how moving helps or hinders Social mobility.

The existing service has principally been based on gaining permission and assembling, project by project process, datasets to be used by a single research group. Whilst a sensible approach during the initiation of the collaboration, it is now apparent that in order to work more efficiently, safely, fairly and to save taxpayers money, research ready data holdings are needed, based on unified process of governance and permissions.

This proposal for a next phase funding aims to achieve this. Working in partnership with the Scottish National Statistical Agency, the ADRC-S will, in particular, provide evidence of value within this new approach. It will do this through a series of strategically important pieces of work. These will particularly focus on key issues within Scotland's National Performance Framework which gives 'an overall vision of the country we want to be'.

The focus will be on these board themes:
- 'Poverty and Fair Work' - which will explore patterns of employment, including insecurity and progression; on the material benefits of employment, and the extent to which it reduces poverty
risks; and on the relationship between employment and health.
- 'Inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe communities' - will address a set of questions around shifting patterns of crime, justice and emergency service demand that are underpinned by
vulnerability and mental health within the population.

- 'Realising our potential' - aims to better understand the progress of young people looked after by the state. What is the impact of different care profiles (e.g. look after at home or in care) and
frequency of changes of states on children's outcomes, and particularly their educational outcomes
- 'Healthy and active' will explore the interactions between health and social care and the implications of informal care for service delivery for older people. In regards younger it will investigate
emerging priorities around: mental health and well-being, poverty and inequality and physical activity and in particular how these develop across the lifecourse.

The adrc-s team will work closely with its NHS partner to provide other teams access to the emerging research datasets.

  • Start Date:

    1 November 2018

  • End Date:

    31 March 2022

  • Activity Type:

    Externally Funded Research

  • Funder:

    Economic and Social Research Council

  • Value:


Project Team