1. Introduction

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service (SRS) is a Trusted Research Environment (TRE). We give accredited or approved researchers secure access to a wealth of de-identified, unpublished data to work on research projects for the public good.

We have been accredited as a Digital Economy Act (DEA) 2017 processor by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) for the preparation and provision of data for research purposes.

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2. The Five Safes Framework

For safe use of secure data, the Secure Research Service (SRS) uses the Five Safes Framework. This is a set of principles adopted by a range of secure labs, of which researchers and their organisations must adhere to. These protocols provide complete assurance for data owners. The Five Safes are:

  • Safe People: trained and accredited researchers trusted to use data appropriately

  • Safe Projects: data that are only used for valuable, ethical research that delivers clear public benefits

  • Safe Settings: settings in which access to data is only possible using our secure technology systems

  • Safe Data: data that have been de-identified

  • Safe Outputs: all research outputs that are checked to ensure they cannot identify data subjects

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3. Other trusted research environments

The Secure Research Service (SRS) is not the only Trusted Research Environment (TRE) accredited under the Digital Economy Act (DEA). Becoming an accredited researcher under the DEA will also enable access to other TRE’s. A complete list can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) accredited researchers will be able to gain access to secure data through the SRS and UK Data Service (UKDS). For access to data within other TREs please check the individual environment requirements.

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4. Accessing our data

Most datasets are available to access through remote access to the Secure Research Service (SRS). In some instances, the data can only be accessed from an approved safe setting. Our online metadata catalogue lists all available datasets and any associated access restrictions.

If you would like to access our data, and are not already an accredited or approved researcher, then please follow the steps outlined in Become an accredited researcher.

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5. The Integrated Data Service (IDS)

The Integrated Data Service (IDS) is a new and upcoming cross-government service that aims to build on the success of the Secure Research Service (SRS). The IDS will create a central hub of high quality, accessible data - critical for driving efficiency and improving public services.

Information about the transition from the SRS to the IDS will be made available at a later date.

For more information about the IDS, please consult our overview.

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6. Contact details

You can contact the Secure Research Service (SRS) Customer Support team for more information.

The team are available Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. You can contact them by telephone on +44 1329 447871 or by email at srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk.

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