The Office for National Statistics has today launched the first stage of the Integrated Data Service (IDS), a cloud-based platform giving analysts and researchers greater access to data from a range of sources.

The private beta version will allow a selection of government analysts to compare and combine data held by the ONS and other departments, helping to unlock the full potential of data, inform policy decisions and encourage collaboration across government.

Launching next spring, a public beta will open the door for accredited researchers outside of government to use the new service.

The three projects selected for the private beta and will focus on some of the government’s top priorities:

  • wage growth - an ONS and HM Treasury collaboration will investigate in detail how wages change across the country, helping inform the government’s “Levelling Up” policy agenda

  • energy efficiency - working with the Valuation Office Agency to provide better information on the energy efficiency of homes around the country as part of wider work to help measure the UK’s progress towards reaching net zero by 2050

  • regional issues - a collaboration with Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to analyse how text from local news sources across the UK can be used to understand concerns of communities around the country

DCMS Minister for State Julia Lopez said: "The Integrated Data Service is a crucial part of our National Data Strategy and will make it easier and quicker for policy makers to access robust evidence for making the decisions that can improve the lives of people across the country.

"Unlocking the power of data will boost the economy, create jobs and help us build back better from the pandemic.”

Joanna Davinson, Executive Director at the Central Digital and Data Office, said: “The Integrated Data Service will provide the public sector with secure access to high-quality data for better research and analysis.

“This is aligned to our vision of having increased availability of data for decision-makers to ensure more data driven policies. In this way, we can enable transformation of the Government’s use of data and support the delivery of efficient public services for users.”

Alison Pritchard, Deputy National Statistician for Data Capability, said: "The Service demonstrates how data held, managed and accessed in a trusted and secure environment can benefit us all by providing essential insight on social and economic factors. I am particularly looking forward to engaging widely to explain how we are protecting the data appropriately and making sure it is put to use for the public good."

Read more about the project and its future in today’s blog.