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
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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, a safepod 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 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 Titchfield (Hampshire) and Newport (Gwent, South Wales). We have additional safe rooms 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 read Where and how to access Saferooms and Safepods (274.9 kB pdf).

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3. SafePods Network

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

SafePods are primarily based at universities and research institutions across the UK, and are available for 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 SafePod Network, please visit the SafePod website or read Where and how to access Saferooms and Safepods (274.9 kB pdf).

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4. Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC)

Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC)

Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC) is an agreement between your organisation and the ONS to directly allow access to the Secure Research Service from your organisation or your home office space

All AOC agreements must be approved by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and a successful application will satisfy the requested evidence concerning how your organisation meets the required physical and system security standard.

The benefits of AOC

AOC has numerous benefits for organisational researchers:

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

How to apply

Email srs.connectivity@ons.gov.uk to find out if your organisation already has AOC, to request an application pack or for general queries

There are two foundation 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 (eg Vice Principal or Board Director).

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

Engaging with your leadership, IT and technical teams is essential to gather the specialist input during this process. For questions, advice or guidance, please contact the connectivity team.

Remote access

Remote (home) access is available as an addition to the foundation forms, provided the following elements are satisfied.

  1. Assured Remote Access Connectivity Compliance Client - an additional and optional AOC accreditation that centres specifically around homeworking.

  2. A personal homeworking application specific to your project.

Contact srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk to find out more.

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.

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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.

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