Accessing Data via the Research Accreditation Framework

The following legal gateways allow accredited and approved researchers to access data for research and statistical purposes. The Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA) (Part 5, Chapter 5) includes an important statutory framework to support the UK research community, both within government and beyond, that permits public authorities to share de-identified information with accredited researchers for the purposes of public good research.  The Statistics and Registration Service Act (SRSA) 2007 at s.39(4)(i) allows access to unpublished data held by the Office of National Statistics by approved researchers for the purpose of statistical research. Both gateways aim to broaden the capacity of research to deliver direct and indirect public benefits, including the production of valuable new research insights about UK society and the economy. All projects involving access to data for research purposes using the SRSA Approved Researcher gateway and the DEA Research power are consistently accredited using 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.

Submitting a research project application to the Research Accreditation Panel

The Research Accreditation Panel meets regularly. Research project applications are submitted to the Research Accreditation Panel by accredited data processing environments at least one week prior to each Research Accreditation Panel meeting. Researchers are advised to liaise with support teams in their chosen accredited data processing environment to understand the requirements and timelines involved with submitting a research project to the Research Accreditation Panel.

Guidance for researchers completing research project applications to access data via the Digital Economy Act Research strand and the Statistics and Registration Service Act Approved Researcher gateway is available in the ‘Documents for Download’ section. Researchers are advised to use the project application example guidance to understand the information that is required for the Research Accreditation Panel to consider a research project application.

Applying for Accredited Researcher status

The Research Code of Practice and Accreditation Criteria requires researchers undertaking research using data provided under the Research strand of the Digital Economy Act to be accredited. This is also a condition for access to data via the Approved Researcher gateway under the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (SRSA). More information regarding the process for researcher accreditation is available on the Office for National Statistics website.

Documents for Download

For Accredited Research Projects

Research Project Application Form [docx 256KB]

Research Project Application Guidance [pdf 264KB]

Research Project Application Example [pdf 343KB]

UK Statistics Authority Ethics Self-Assessment Guidance

For Accredited Researchers

Accredited Researcher Application Form [docx 165KB]

Accredited Researcher Application Guidance [pdf 215KB]

Accredited Researcher Declaration Form [docx 131KB]

For Provisional Accredited Researchers

Provisional Accredited Researcher Application Form [docx 165KB]

Provisional Accredited Researcher Application Guidance [pdf 237KB]

Provisional Accredited Researcher Declaration Form [docx 217KB]