Better Use of Data for Research


Chapter 5 of Part 5 of the Digital Economy Act facilitates the linking and sharing of de-identified data by public authorities for accredited research purposes to support valuable new research insights about UK society and the economy. The UK Statistics Authority is the statutory accrediting body responsible for the accreditation of processors, researchers and their projects.

Before data can be shared for research purposes, it must be processed by an accredited processor so that the data is ‘de-identified’. When the data has been de-identified it can be made available to an accredited researcher in a secure environment, and the processor will ensure that any data (or any analysis based on the data) retained by the researcher, or are published, are ‘disclosure controlled’ to minimise the risk of data subjects being re-identified or other misuses of the data.

The Research framework in the Digital Economy Act is underpinned by the Research Code of Practice and accreditation criteria, which was approved by the UK Parliament in July 2018. As the statutory accrediting body, the UK Statistics Authority has established a Research Accreditation Panel to oversee the independent accreditation of processors, researchers and research projects. Further information for processors and researchers is available using the links below. The Research Accreditation Panel meets regularly and a list of future meetings is available.