1. Research project accreditation

To request access to data in the Secure Research Service (SRS), researchers must submit a research project application for accreditation in the Research Accreditation Service (RAS). Researchers must be accredited before access to data is granted and should have an Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC) agreement in place if remote connection to the SRS is required. These can be applied for in parallel with their project application.

Researchers are advised to use the Project application example guidance (DOCX, 80.2KB) and an Exemplar of a research project application (PDF, 343KB) to understand the information that is required for a research project application to be considered. Guidance is also provided to complete the Ethics Self-Assessment Tool, if required.

When submitting a research project application, researchers must adhere to the conditions of project accreditation, including:

  • compliance with UK law, including data protection legislation
  • meeting the ethical standards appropriate to the nature and intended use of personal information
  • demonstration of a primary purpose to serve the public interest, with results made transparent in an open and accessible way
  • acknowledgement of the source of the data (the public authority)
  • engagement with core stakeholders

For the full conditions, please read Part 2, Section C of the Research Code of Practice and Accreditation Criteria.

All Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA) and Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 (SRSA) Approved Researcher research project applications will be considered for accreditation by the UK Statistics Authority and its independent Research Accreditation Panel (RAP).

The different stages of the approval process from submission to accreditation of the project application are as follows.

  1. Checks to ensure the application has been completed to a suitable standard and the research is feasible.
  2. Approval from the data owners that the project proposes appropriate use of their data.
  3. Review and accreditation from the UK Statistics Authority.

Applicants may receive queries from the reviewers of their application at any stage of the project accreditation process.

The research project application review and accreditation process usually take four to eight weeks, but in case of more complex project plans it can take longer.

If, having received your application, we consider that neither the DEA nor SRSA legal gateway process is appropriate, we will contact you to discuss your options.

A complete record of accredited researchers and their projects will be published on the UK Statistics Authority website to ensure transparency of access to data for research.

Back to table of contents

2. Completed projects

Researchers should ensure that their project areas are subject to regular housekeeping and all files that allow for replication of research (such as code files) are cleared and exported from the environment at the end of the project. If you have an active project you are no longer working on, please discuss with your project lead and request that they contact srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk with the project number to request to close the project. Please also advise the Customer Support team if your project lead has changed.

We will contact the lead researcher when a research project is approaching its expected completion date. The researcher may have the option to extend the project if more time is required.

If the research project is complete, we ask researchers to provide us with any final publications associated with the work. In some cases, we may seek to produce a case study where we see examples of innovative methodology, strong public benefit, or outstanding collaboration.

Back to table of contents

3. Contact details

You can contact the SRS Customer Support team for more information. They will forward any relevant requests to the Project Applications team.

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