1. Accessing the Secure Research Service (SRS)

Once researchers and their research projects are accredited or approved, projects using the Secure Research Service (SRS) will have a project space created. Datasets requested for projects will be mapped to the project space. Researchers may also send data to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Statistical Support Team to be added to the project space. For more information on this process please send an email to srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk.

Researchers named on projects will then get their account details and instructions on how to access the SRS. Access to the SRS is through a safe setting. Safe settings may be in safe rooms on ONS sites, or in safe rooms on other certified sites. They may also be through an organisation that has an Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC) Agreement with the ONS, and that maintains a current certification.

Below are the three options currently available to access the Secure Research Service (SRS):

  • Safe Rooms – based in the ONS offices, a room with bookable terminals
  • SafePods Network – a small, self-contained secure room with a single workstation
  • Assured Organisational Connectivity – the ability to access the SRS from your office
Back to table of contents

2. Safe Rooms

Data owners may determine how Secure Research Service (SRS) access is permitted. Where access to the SRS is restricted to safe rooms only, the researcher will need to book a terminal at one of our safe rooms or a safe setting provided by another approved organisation. Bookings for Office for National Statistics (ONS) safe rooms can be made by accredited researchers through the Research Accreditation Service (RAS). If you are interested in booking secure rooms at other approved organisations, please contact customer support by email at srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk and instructions can be given where appropriate.

Before a researcher may access one of our safe rooms, they will need to complete a security declaration.

Our safe rooms are located within our offices in London (Drummond Gate), Titchfield (Hampshire) and Newport (Gwent, South Wales). We have additional safe rooms within the Scottish Government in Glasgow and at the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency in Belfast. Safe rooms are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Any changes to these hours are advertised in advance.

For more information on where and how to access Safe Rooms, please download the document included on this page.

Back to table of contents

3. SafePods Network

SafePods are an alternative way of accessing a standardised safe setting with the necessary security and controls to enable researchers to access and use secure datasets from more locations across the UK than before.

SafePods will primarily be based at universities across the UK, which will be available to approved researchers to book and use. You can book SafePods online, as well as view their locations.

For more information on where and how to access the SafePods Network, please download the document included on this page.

Back to table of contents

4. Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC)

Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC)

Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC) is an agreement for your organisation to use your office space to access the Secure Research Service (SRS). This connectivity option was originally created during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to make access to the SRS easier for researchers.

All AOC agreements must be approved by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) before access can be given. A successful application for AOC will evidence how your organisation meets the required security standards.

The benefits of AOC

AOC has numerous benefits for a wide array of organisations:

  • no travel is required to Safe Rooms
  • you get a guaranteed seat; Safe Rooms and SafePods have capacity limits
  • AOC allows 24/7 access to the SRS, so you can get access when it suits you
  • AOC is free at the point of use, providing security standards are observed and followed

How to apply

Email srs.connectivity@ons.gov.uk to request an application pack. You can also find out if your organisation already has AOC or ask any questions.

There are two forms that need to be completed, which are outlined as follows.

  1. Assured Organisational Connectivity Organisational Agreement (AOCOA) – this is an overarching agreement signed by someone with organisational authority.

  2. Assured Organisational Connectivity Compliance Client (AOCCC) – this form demonstrates the relevant security and governance measures your organisation has in place

You will want to engage with your leadership and IT or technical teams to gather their specialist input during this process. The connectivity team are happy to help if you require clarity or guidance during this process.

Remote access

Remote access is currently available and has two requirements, which are outlined as follows.

  1. Assured Remote Access Connectivity Compliance Client –an additional form in the AOC pack that centres specifically around homeworking.

  2. A homeworking application specific to your project, separate to AOC.

Contact srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk to find out how to submit this.

Access requirements for researchers

There are certain requirements that need to be met before access is granted, which are outlined below.

  • Accreditation – you will need to be an accredited researcher.
  • Approved Project – you must have an approved research project.
  • Accredited Researcher Assurance Registration Form – you must have a signed this form.

Please be advised that you can begin your AOC application straight away; you do not need to wait for the above.

Please be advised that remote monitoring is in use to ensure correct access by all users.

If you would like more information, further guidance or have questions on Assured Organisational Connectivity then please email srs.connectivity@ons.gov.uk.

Back to table of contents

5. Contact details

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

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.

Back to table of contents