The Office for National Statistics (ONS) currently provides access to unpublished data, both microdata (unit record or individual level data) and aggregated tabular data, via:
off-site access via an intermediary, or
ONS provides data to external researchers where the following conditions are met: the disclosure provisions of any governing legislation, the confidentiality pledge made to survey respondents, and the principles of the National Statistics Code of Practice and Protocols.
Subject to this being the case, the following access arrangements may take place:
- microdata and aggregated data provided under Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to government departments and devolved administrations. Any microdata provided requires the prior approval of the Microdata Release Panel (MRP)
- microdata under licensed access to external researchers via the UK Data Archive (UKDA) and the Cathy Marsh Centre for Social Research (CCSR), acting as agents for ONS
- microdata under Data Access Agreements - the format for which follows that set out in the National Statistics Protocol on Data Access and Confidentiality, Annex B - following direct application to ONS and MRP approval
- commissioned tables, for which there is a charge
The level of the data that can be provided to researchers depends upon the disclosure provisions in any governing legislation and confidentiality guarantees made to survey respondents. For this reason, researchers may only be able to access fully anonymised, non-disclosive data.
Each application will be considered individually and researchers will be informed of any disclosure issues pertaining to the data that they have requested.
Off-site access via an intermediary
ONS deposits microdata at the UKDA and CCSR for contemporary research access. These data are at the basic standard level and at a more detailed ‘special licence’ level. Details about how to access these data can be found on the UKDA website.
From 1 April 2008, when the new Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007 comes into force, the arrangements for accessing the more detailed data will change. See 'Downloads' on this page for more information.
The UKDA has introduced a new commissioning service. See ‘Downloads’ for information about this new service.
ONS also provides micro-level data and disclosive aggregated data to the National Online Manpower Information System (Nomis®), hosted by Durham University. The Nomis® team create aggregated data which can be accessed by Nomis® researchers.
ONS provides on-site access to disclosive confidential data to external researchers, including the Government Statistical Service (GSS) and academic researchers, in a secure and safe environment.