1. Introduction

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service (SRS) gives accredited or approved researchers secure access to de-identified, unpublished data to work on research projects for the public good. We know that many people rely on access to the SRS for research, to support rapid policy analysis and complete wider research.

Building on the success of the SRS, the Integrated Data Service (IDS) is a new government-wide initiative, which will create a step change in the way data about our society and economy are made available for vital research and decision making in the UK. The IDS intends to create a central hub of high-quality accessible data, critical for driving efficiency and improving public service. The service is a key enabler of the Governments National Data Strategy and modernisation agenda and will provide access to data sets from a range of sources, across government departments and devolved administrations, presented alongside analytical and visualisation tools in a secure multi-cloud infrastructure.

The IDS is a cross-government service, with the ONS acting as the lead delivery partner. The service is designed for use by government analysts, devolved administrations, and external accredited researchers, and is optimised for government use.

For more information please visit the IDS website at Integrated Data Service.

The Integrated Data Service is keen to engage with the wider research community. If you would like the team to present an introductory piece to you and your colleagues, or have any questions about the service, please email: IDS.Comms@ons.gov.uk.

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2. SRS to IDS transition

The Secure Research Service (SRS) to the Integrated Data Service (IDS) transition team is committed to providing regular and timely updates on how the transition is progressing for all interested parties. This information will help SRS users understand more about what the transition means for them. We will be using this page to keep you updated with the transition progress. Please check regularly for more information. 

The SRS transition and when it will happen

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) SRS has been providing secure access to de-identified data for accredited researchers for over 15 years. It is one of the largest trusted research environments in the UK.  Around 6,000 accredited researchers have the potential to access the SRS. Of these, around 1,500 are actively working on research projects at any given time.

Rapid advances in technology have made it possible for developments in the way our users access data. The IDS will build on the foundations provided by the SRS, and will, in time, replace the current service.

The transition of users, datasets and projects will begin in summer 2023, and will continue until all users have been transitioned to the new service. We will clearly communicate with users of the SRS to explain the transition plan, and any impact to their active projects. We will include regular updates on how the transition is progressing in the monthly SRS newsletter. 

Continuing your research during the transition

The teams working on the transition from SRS to the IDS are working hard to ensure minimal disruption for users and stakeholders. There will be some changes required at an individual and organisational level in terms of how users can access the IDS in comparison with the SRS. We will work closely with users and their organisations to ensure that these changes are implemented as smoothly as possible. 

Existing accredited researcher status

All accredited researchers will keep their accredited researcher status in the IDS regardless of whether they have a live project in the SRS at the time of transition. Access to the IDS is still regulated by the Research Code of Practice and Accreditation Criteria, and therefore many of the same processes apply. The five-year accreditation status remains active, and you will need to be re-accredited if you have reached the end of this period.

Contacting us for support

Users will be contacted directly to advise when they will be transitioned and how this will impact them. Please wait to be contacted before contacting the Customer Support team with any questions. However, beyond the initial contact, users can contact the SRS Customer Support team at any time during the transition process.

As part of the transition to the IDS, once onboarded to the new service, users will be directed to the IDS Customer Support team for any future support needs. Customer Support functions are available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. 

Data availability in the IDS 

All datasets currently available in the SRS will be made available in the IDS as the transition progresses. As the IDS develops, several new, linked data assets will continue to be made available through the service, offering a wider range of resources with which users can conduct their analysis. 

Future engagements

Throughout the year, and leading up to the closure of the SRS, the ONS will host events for researchers to learn more about the IDS. These events will be promoted to all users of the SRS, and to all accredited researchers. You can keep up to date on our Research events page.

You can also visit the Integrated Data Service website for more information.

Accessing the IDS

Access to the IDS is similar to the SRS. Users must take all possible precautions to ensure that their screen cannot be overlooked by others. Access from public places, for example, coffee shops, public transport and so on, is not permitted. The IDS is only accessible within the UK. 

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