Using Data from Third Parties for Research and Statistics: High-Level Ethics Checklist

11 October 2021
Last updated:
11 October 2021


This high-level checklist is designed to guide researchers and analysts through some key points that will need to be considered prior to accessing data that has been collected by, or sourced from, third party organisations. This may include data from other government departments, commercial organisations or other institutions.

  • It is not expected that you will be able to answer these questions alone, but you should work with colleagues specialising in data protection, legal services and data acquisition within your organisation to ensure that you have adequately considered all of these aspects and can demonstrate appropriate ethical considerations in the use of third party data for research and statistics.
  • This checklist should be used in conjunction with the existing UK Statistics Authority ethics self-assessment tool and provides a basis to identify the different subject matter experts that you will need to engage with prior to accessing third party data. It establishes a foundation for discussion with these various colleagues (e.g., data acquisition teams, data protection teams, legal teams, data ethics teams) to ensure that the data that we use and access has been collected, stored and shared in line with the UK Statistics Authority’s ethical principles.

It is recommended that you use this checklist when the potential to use third party data sources, or to use other organisations’ services to collect data on your behalf, is first being considered within research and analysis projects.

It is advised that you do not contact any external organisations before you have considered relevant internal policies and guidelines and discussed your approach with the relevant internal teams within your organisation. For the Office for National Statistics, these teams are listed within the Where can I access further support? section of this guidance.