1. Requesting outputs

If you want to remove any work from the Secure Research Service (SRS), you will need to submit the file(s) for clearance alongside a completed output request form to the Statistical Support team at statistical.support@ons.gov.uk. Before requesting an output, you must apply statistical disclosure control to your file(s). This is to ensure that they: 

  • are not disclosive 

  • do not identify any individual entity 

  • comply with all dataset and project special requirements 

Your request will be independently checked by two SRS Officers to ensure that the output is not disclosive and that necessary requirements are met before release from the SRS. 

There are three types of clearance you can request: 

  • pre-publication clearance 

  • publication clearance 

  • code file clearance 

Researchers should be aware that some datasets have additional output requirements that can extend the period of time it takes for outputs to be released, for example the potential need for data owner approval for final publication outputs. We request that researchers inform themselves of any additional output requirements applied to datasets in use to allow adequate time for requests to be processed, particularly in relation to project deadlines. Additional requirements can be found in your project documents and under the Conditions of Use sections in the ONS Metadata Catalogue

The Researcher Output Guidance (PDF, 832.6 kB) provides detailed guidance for preparing and requesting outputs, as well as an extensive Q&A section. Please read this document carefully before requesting outputs. 

For Notice 

SRS Statistical Support processes all researcher requests as quickly as possible and aims to review, or check, requests within five working days. However, because of very high demand on service, we advise researchers allow at least 15 working days for requests to be reviewed or checked. This does not include the time taken for you to respond to any requests for clarification from the SRS Statistical Support team and does not necessarily mean that your output will be cleared in that period (for more information on clearance times see SRS Output Checking Guidance in related downloads).  

Please plan your work around these timescales, and support us by making sure that submitted outputs are non-disclosive and compliant with all relevant requirements. We appreciate your understanding at this busy and challenging time. You will be notified when we are able to revisit these timescales.

Pre-publication clearance

You can request pre-publication clearance when you want to remove files from the Secure Research Service (SRS) for writing up results, or for further discussion with members of the project team. These clearances can only be shared with the project team and those that have commissioned or sponsored the research as long as they are named on the project. Under no circumstances should they be published.

On completion of the project, pre-publication clearances must be destroyed. Failure to comply may result in your accredited researcher status being revoked.

Publication clearance

A publication clearance is the final intended output of your research that you want to publish or share beyond those who are named on your project (for example, accredited researchers, project sponsors or funders who are named on the project). This can be in the form of a report, website article, presentation or speech for example, and must include everything that will be disseminated, including graphics and words around the data accessed in the Secure Research Service (SRS). These clearances should be provided with any underlying data used to create tables and graphics.

Publication clearances must be submitted in the form and file type in which you wish to publish. For example, if you are using PowerPoint for a presentation, your clearances must be submitted in PowerPoint format. Publication clearances can be kept indefinitely and distributed freely after they are approved by the Statistical Support team. If you make subsequent changes to your publication that relate to the SRS data (for example, adding a new table that was produced using data from the SRS), you must submit it for clearance again.

Both pre-publication and publication clearances must show all underlying, unweighted counts that are used to create your statistical outputs. These counts should adhere generally to a threshold of 10 (in some instances this may be lower or higher depending on the requirement of the data owner). Outputs with counts below the threshold may be considered in exceptional cases, where you can demonstrate the necessity to your research as new knowledge that has a public benefit and, most importantly, that the output is safe and non-disclosive.

We ask researchers to notify us about any outputs that are made available to stakeholders or published online. We also ask researchers to cite our data correctly using our Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), please see our guidance on this.

Code file clearance

You may also request code files for clearance, which can be shared freely once approved for publication. These code files must not contain:

  • data
  • identifiers
  • commands that attempt to identify or search for individual entities

To assist the Statistical Support team with the clearance, the code should be annotated and/or have accompanying commentary to describe the actions and intended outcome of the code.

If you have any code you think might be useful to other SRS researchers (for example, derived variables or histories), please send this to SRS.codesharing@ons.gov.uk. The team will review the code with you to see if it can be added it to new SRS code repository.

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2. Requesting ingests

You can send files to the SRS support teams to be added to your project space.

If the files include data, these must be approved for use in your original project application. If data are requested that have not yet been approved for use in the designated project, an addendum will need to be raised. Information on raising an addendum is available in the ingest form.

Code can be requested for ingest, however, it must not contain any data or include commands that search for a single entity.

Geography look ups are only ingested where absolutely necessary, for example, where these are not already available in the SRS Libraries. Please identify the appropriate files from the ONS Open Geography Portal in your ingest request for the SRS support team to download.

Code files and geography lookups do not normally require any additional permission to be ingested, provided that they do not contain any data.

Any type of file requested for ingest must not contain any identifiable information, including:

  • non-permitted identifiers

  • individuals' or businesses' names and contact details.

Please check your files thoroughly and remove any non-permitted information before sending a request.'

Requests for ingest should be sent to SRS Customer Support containing the files to be ingested and a completed ingest request form.

For more information on this process, please send an email to srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk.

Receive on-demand support

You can now access on-demand support to complete the SRS Ingest Request Form. Led by a member of our Statistical Support team, this step-by-step video will enable you to complete the form as efficiently and accurately as possible.

Watch How to Complete the SRS Ingest Request Form now.

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3. Requesting transfers between projects

You can request to transfer files between your SRS projects provided they do not contain data or, if they do, that the data are approved for use in the destination project. As with ingests, data will need to be approved either in the original project application or via addendum.

Requests for transfers should be sent to the SRS Customer Support team containing a completed transfer request form.

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4. Receiving support

If you need support or have any questions, the Secure Research Service (SRS) Customer Support team are available Monday to Friday from 8am until 4pm. They will forward any relevant requests to the Statistical Support team.

They can be contacted by telephone on +44 1329 447871 or by email at srs.customer.support@ons.gov.uk.

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