NEWS26 April 2024

Public sector data access service launched in Scotland

Healthcare News Public Sector UK

UK – Public sector data body Research Data Scotland (RDS) has created a new digital service to help academics and data users access secure data.

Data access abstract image

The service, called Researcher Access Service, aims to streamline and simplify the data access process so that researchers can access data faster, leading to more timely insights and helping decision-makers to obtain more good quality information, research and data.

Researchers from approved organisations will be able to apply to use nine datasets in areas such as health, including hospital admissions, prescribing, emergency attendances and births.

Further datasets will be added in areas like education, social work and justice through discussions with data controllers.

The Researcher Access Service will be managed with the Electronic Data Research and Innovation Service, which is part of Public Health Scotland and a founding partner of the RDS.

Professor Roger Halliday, chief executive at RDS, said: “To be innovative and meet today’s challenges, the public sector needs evidence from across a multitude of sectors to help inform decision-making.  

“I’m delighted to mark the first release of the Researcher Access Service, which will make it quicker and simpler to provide streamlined, lawful, fair and safe access to data at pace for the public good.”  

Scottish minister for community wealth and public finance Tom Arthur added: “The Researcher Access Service is an important step towards the modernisation and improvement of our data access and linkage capabilities in Scotland by ensuring there is a timely and managed process from when researchers apply for data to when they can access data.  

“This service is pioneering an end-to-end digital process for researchers and data users to access secure data for public good and I would like to congratulate all those whose hard work went into this launch.”