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Centre Review 2013 - 2018


Contents 4



Five Years of ADRC-E


Key Deliverables

10 Selected Projects 18 Short Courses 20 Public Engagement 22 Impact and Influence 24 Benefits and Goals for the Future




Professor Jane Falkingham Dean of the Faculty University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is a world-leading, research-intensive university, renowned for innovation and enterprise. Within the Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences, we bring together a unique range of disciplines and are committed to tackling the world’s biggest challenges through interdisciplinary research. The Administrative Data Research Centre for England (ADRC-E) has been integral to supporting this commitment. Over the last five years, ADRC-E has brought together researchers and data providers to encourage collaborative working environments and impactful research. It has been with great pride that we have championed the ADRC-E, funded by the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) in 2013. As part of the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN), ADRC-E has worked closely and effectively with colleagues in Centres in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and with the Administrative Data Service, based at the University of Essex. We would like to thank our partners for their invaluable contributions and support. ADRC-E has generated considerable impact and delivered many of the ambitious objectives that it was set; the progress and achievements of which are described throughout this brochure. ADRC-E boasts a distinctive interdisciplinary approach and a physical and electronic infrastructure that enables accredited academics to focus on addressing society’s greatest challenges, influencing opinion-formers and policymakers for the public good. We have been leading the way, working with the public sector, helping them to optimise the data they hold. ADRC-E’s approach has also enabled the University to extend and specialise their research expertise and partnerships. I would like to thank the ADRC-E team and their partners for the excellent progress made over the last five years, and I look forward to seeing how this vital work will shape society. While the ADRC-E in its current form is coming to an end, University of Southampton will continue to contribute to Administrative Data Research within the UK and globally.



ADRC-E is led by the University of Southampton and runs in collaboration with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Bloomsbury group, comprising of University College London (UCL), the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). ADRC-E team members work across ADRC-E Southampton, ADRC-E Bloomsbury and ONS offices in Titchfield, Newport and London. We have been part of an initiative to enable information routinely collected by government departments and other agencies, such as tax, education and health data, to be shared with researchers. ADRC-E is part of a major investment by the ESRC in ‘Big Data’. Expertise ADRC-E boasts a distinctive interdisciplinary approach and a physical and electronic infrastructure that enables accredited academics to focus on addressing society’s greatest challenges, influencing opinion-formers and policy makers for the public good. ADRC-E supports researchers with their projects by providing extensive administrative support and guidance. The team has undergone advanced training to further develop data usage skills, to enable the most efficient use of the data and also how to use data safely and securely. Secure environment ADRC-E has physically robust and secure building infrastructures that contain powerful and selfcontained computing systems with industryrecognised intrusion protection systems and monitoring. Adhering to strict security protocols, access to the facilities is restricted to only authorised data scientists and researchers who have an approved and valid research purpose. Researchers only have access to linked, deidentified administrative data in this secure environment. Our processes, protocols and governance maintain the highest standards and international best practice ensuring the protection of data privacy at all times. Our vision Our vision is to provide opinion formers and


policy-makers with evidence-based data and information, helping them to tackle society’s greatest challenges in an informed and efficient way. We have worked collaboratively to manage and maximise the use of data linkage across government departments and sectors and to give safe and secure access to anonymised data for research purposes. We have achieved our goals over the last five years, in terms of not only aiding vital research, but also including the installation of first-class infrastructure and the delivery of expert training for data scientists and researchers. A highlight has been working with partner organisations and researchers. It has been a delight to see the new research that has come from these collaborations, and it is exciting to think of the positive impact these projects and approaches will have in the future. We hope you enjoy reading about our highlighted projects later on. Safe and appropriate use of data has never been more important to the public and we have had a great team working on public engagement to provide transparency and accountability to society. They have attended conferences and published papers, influenced policy and disseminated impact via various forms of media. This brochure lists just some of the public engagement and impact we have accomplished over the last five years, and we are immensely proud of the team and the far reaching impact we have had. The Administrative Data Research Network, launched in 2013 and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, is also coming to the end of its five-year funding period. The ESRC’s strategic commitment to making administrative data available for research continues and it is developing plans for a future provision for accessing and conducting research using administrative data in the UK. ADRC-E will be involved in the transition to a new service. The future holds an exciting, fast-paced and challenging environment for data linkage. It has been great to see Government take an active and engaging approach to using administrative data.

Five Years of ADRC-E

Twitter 3K+ people 1.1K+ engaged at followers public events

at national ADRC-E team 110+ talks 80+ & international members conferences

52 research projects


research & training podcasts

10 exhibition stands at key conferences


article pieces on widely read UK blogs

130+ published research articles

62 short courses delivered

10 public engagement events


international visits to the Centre 7

How has ADRC-E met the project objectives as set out on the 2013 call specification? 1. To provide state-of-the-art facilities for research access to de-identified administrative data by accredited researchers ADRC-E has developed state of the-art facilities, policies and procedures to allow approved researchers access to sensitive administrative data in secure settings. These facilities are located in the University of Southampton and the Farr Institute at UCL, London and both were awarded CESG Official (Sensitive) accreditation in October 2014. ONS as an ADRC-E partner, also has a number of Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML) facilities within their Secure Research Service (SRS) which ADRN approved researchers can use to access data. ONS also provides a data linkage service for the ADRC-E. In addition to the SRS, ADRC-E also has an agreement in principle for the University of Southampton to hold ONS datasets and for them to be made available to researchers via the secure laboratories in the University of Southampton and the Farr Institute, UCL. 2. To provide data management and statistical analysis support functions for external researchers accessing the data We have worked hard to curate a collaborative and effective environment to support researchers accessing data. ADRC-E’s exemplar studies set precedents to enable further flows of data and offer evidence for policy, data resource development and e-cohorts for re-use. Our work on information to be shared about data processing and linkage methods (the GUidance for Information about Linked Datasets, GUILD) has been welcomed by data providers and researchers and should improve the quality of analyses based on linked administrative data. ADRC-E also offers extensive support to researchers willing to work with administrative data, or already working with them, by running a series of targeted training events, such as the Safe Users of Research data Environment training (SURE training) for accreditation purposes and the ADRC-E short courses in administrative data research.


3. To commission and create new linked administrative data resources for a growing research agenda ADRC-E has contributed to widening the use of linked administrative data for research by creating resources to enable the safe and appropriate use of data, datasets for re-use and through studies that demonstrate how administrative data can be used to improve the effectiveness of policy and services. Our research projects are focused on developing datasets around the following four data themes: •

World of work: Labour market experience

Data for Children: School-age pupil outcomes

Growing Old: Income, consumption and wealth

Productive Society: Employment related productivity

ADRC-E has developed new methods and generated whole-country linked administrative cohorts in health, children’s social care and education that could be re-used, with appropriate permissions. For example, we obtained permission to link the National Pupil Database and Hospital Episode Statistics. Using children’s social care data, we also published e-birth cohort profiles for children in care and curated a dataset for reuse. We developed meta-data to characterise school attributes over time, linkage of small area pollution indices and validated coding clusters for health conditions, which are being widely used. 4. To conduct original research using linked administrative data and related analytical and methodological approaches. ADRC-E conducted over fifty research projects, many of which will continue or transfer following the end of the award. ADRC-E methodological research has demonstrated high levels of linkage

Key Deliverables error in routinely available health data, shown how score-based methods can improve linkage accuracy and how to reduce survey costs with little impact on responsiveness. ADRC-E’s methodological work on the responsiveness of surveys has the potential to reduce the cost of data collection without adversely affecting the quality of the survey. Based on this work ONS will limit the number of calls to 13 or less to an address for the 2017-18 Labour Force Survey and will follow suit for all future surveys. More on our projects on pages 10-16. 5. To engage in training and capacity building ADRC-E has delivered an extensive programme of training courses. From April 2014, we delivered 87.5 days of training to over 1,000 attendees on various aspects of administrative data. We have also organised eight ADRN Accreditation Training (now SURE Training) courses in Bloomsbury and Southampton for ADRC-E staff and ADRN researchers from across the Government and academic sectors. We supported the SURE training needs of the ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC). More on our courses on page 18-19.

data provider and researcher needs. 7. To promote public engagement ADRC-E organised and attended outreach activities and conferences to promote our facilities and research findings. We have been invited to present on the ADRC-E and ADRN in the UK, Australia, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden and the USA. ADRC-E produced a data investigation activity designed to spark the interest of the future generation of researchers. In 2015, this was taken on the University of Southampton Roadshow, attracting 35,000 visitors from across the UK and winning the Roadshow award for Creative Activity Design. ADRC-E has built relationships with partners and stakeholders to achieve an outstanding reputation within the research community. We have met with data owners to share our ambitions, influence potential research opportunities, and motivate them to become involved with our strategies and the positive impact we can have on society. More on our public engagement and impact on pages 20-23.

6. To work in collaboration with other elements of the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) ADRC-E members took part in a variety of ADRN Groups, their Subgroups and Task Teams. We have contributed to the development of ADRN strategy, principles and policies, the Approvals Panel and the Administrative Data Service (ADS) self-review processes, gateway reviews and the mid-term review. ADRC-E has a collaborative approach to research. For example, we have collaborated with the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) to explore ways in geographical research that administrative data could be used for improving the trade-off between


Selected Projects

ADRC-E has enabled and transformed the ways in which administrative data can be converted into knowledge and evidence for public and economic policy. As a society, we can find new and efficient ways to tackle some of the major issues we face by improving access to and use of these collections of data. That means safely managing and maximising the use of new, functionally anonymised, linked data from across sectors and government departments and working across academic disciplines. This creates new evidence to help develop, implement and evaluate public policy and future research. It will also inform and enable the development of new methods to link and analyse data. Working as part of the ADRN, ADRC-E facilitated global research by: •

developing new linked data collections

providing access to them

ensuring that data are accessed and analysed safely and effectively, maximising societal benefit

enhancing administrative data research capacity

As well as giving trained researchers access to administrative data, ADRC-E also carried out:


methodological research on the linkage and quality assessment of administrative data

substantive administrative data research which informs knowledge and policy

Research programmes and themes Originally ADRC-E research projects fell within seven major programmes: 1. Health and education 2. Geospatial methods 3. Public policy  4. Reliability of data  5. Methodology  6. Crime 7. Public services linked to benefits/earnings with three main themes within each: •

Data linkage

Evaluating and addressing linked data quality

Policy-focused research using exemplar projects

Our approach constantly evolved to adapt to the ways in which data can be released and reused, for example, working alongside stakeholders as the Digital Economy Act, 2017 is implemented. Over the next few pages you will read about some of the fantastic projects made possible through the ADRN, 52 of which are based within ADRC-E. These projects are examples of the collaborative works which are achieving both national and international impacts. To find out more about our wide-ranging projects, please see about/network/england/projects.

Combining survey data, paradata and administrative data for non-response investigation There is increasing pressure on those running large-scale surveys to improve data quality whilst reducing costs. Every individual who declines to take part or drops out of a survey represents both a financial and a data quality issue in respect of the time and effort spent trying to contact them and dealing with any bias caused by nonparticipation. Traditionally, to address this problem, survey designers have tried to maximise response rates, but this research suggests an alternative approach. It focuses on monitoring sample subgroups to ensure proper representation, and points to major potential savings from an adaptive approach to data collection. People are less keen than ever to take part in social surveys. They may decline to be involved, or drop out after taking part once or more. For large-scale surveys looking to collect data repeatedly over time, this is a major practical and financial headache. But our research linking three major ONS surveys with census information has suggested new ways to overcome these problems and achieve good quality data whilst making financial savings. It could also help secure the future of some of the UK’s most important data sets. The research is the result of a productive partnership with ONS, which made a comprehensive linked dataset available via the VML secure research environment.

Impact The findings have attracted considerable interest, especially from within ONS, which is looking to make substantial savings on their survey budget, which in turn will save public expenditure. ONS has already reduced the maximum calls made to a survey subject from 20 to 13, and is conducting tests to confirm that if further reduced to between 6 and 8 calls, survey dataset quality will not be negatively impacted. There is also interest among other research community members working on large scale surveys. The data The research uses data collected in three ONS household surveys: •

• •

Key findings This research shows that when repeatedly attempting to contact a survey participant: • •

implementing a cut-off point (between call 6 and 8) makes little difference to data quality implementing that cut-off point (depending on the survey) can make call savings of 7 to 15 per cent

It also shows that: • •

it could be profitable for social survey commissioners to reconsider current attitudes towards tackling non response instead of aiming for an overall end-of-data collection response rate, time and money could be spent more wisely if after a certain point sub-groups less likely to respond to the survey are targeted this approach could result in better quality data even if response rates stay similar

this approach could be employed in real time by prioritising people for extra efforts to obtain their responses.

Labour Force Survey (LFS), providing official measures of employment and unemployment - largest household study in the UK Life Opportunities Survey (LOS), providing data on how disabled and non-disabled people participate in society Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), providing quick and reliable information about topics of immediate interest

Those surveys are then linked to the 2011 Census for England and Wales, which provides details of the population and its characteristics. The research also used paradata, notes written by survey interviewers about attempts made to contact survey participants.  Further information and links •

Dataset representativeness during data collection in three UK social surveys: generalizability and the effects of auxiliary covariate choice, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 2016

Fieldwork effort, response rate, and the distribution of survey outcomes: A multilevel meta-analysis, Public Opinion Quarterly, 2016


GUILD: GUidance for Information about Linked Datasets

Data linkage can be used to combine datasets collected for administrative or other purposes to enhance the information available for analyses for service delivery, evaluation and research. Analysts and users of results from linked data, such as policy makers, usually receive limited information about the linkage itself, because of restrictions designed to protect the privacy of the individuals whose data is held on the dataset. As a consequence, information is usually lacking on errors in the data and how these affect the accuracy of linkage between datasets and the validity of the results. ADRC-E used its expertise to develop a GUidance for Information about Linked Datasets (GUILD) to make recommendations about the information that should be shared at each step in the linkage pathway. Impact The project provides recommendations about the information that should be shared at each step in the linkage pathway, from data provision, data linkage and analyses of linked data, so that linkage error can be taken into account in the analyses and in the interpretation of the results. Further information and links •

GUILD: GUidance for Information about Linking Data sets, Journal of Public Health, 2017

Project team


Prof Ruth Gilbert, ADRC-E and Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, UCL

Rosemary Lafferty, ONS

Dr Gareth Hagger-Johnson, UCL

Dr Katie Harron, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Prof Li-Chun Zhang, ADRC-E and University of Southampton

Prof Peter W.F. Smith, ADRC-E and University of Southampton

Prof Chris Dibben, ADRC-S and University of Edinburgh

Prof Harvey Goldstein, University of Bristol and UCL

Public policy aspects of linking and analysing government administrative data This project examined perspectives on the sharing, linking and re-use (secondary use) of government administrative data, viewed through three themes: trust, consent and risk. The research studied the relationships between information and records management, government transparency and information security and the value of government administrative data for current business use and future research. Multiple viewpoints were gathered from researchers seeking access to data, government data providers and regulators and the citizens who are often the data subjects and on whose behalf data are created and preserved. The project built on research into Freedom of Information and public sector records management by Prof Shepherd (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council), Dr Duke-Williams’s work on web-based access to geographic data and disclosure controls (funded by ESRC) and feeds into a multi-national research project InterPARES Trust, (Prof Elizabeth Shepherd, funded by Canadian Research Council), which investigates digital records, privacy and access, secrecy and transparency. This study took a broadly qualitative approach to data collection. Following a scoping exercise, four thematic case studies were carried out (education, transport, energy, health) using multiple methods. The main data for the cases was collected by means of 49 semi-structured interviews with data subjects, data creators, data providers and researchers using government data. These were supplemented by detailed study of documentation, regulations, processes and by extensive literature reviews. Key findings Given the key roles of ADRC-E (i.e. to provide wider access to existing administrative data resources and create new resources by linking two or more existing resources), this project: •

helped to establish the requirements for information governance which ADRC-E should reflect in its national e-infrastructure policies and practices, for instance by drafting a Working Paper on Seeking Definitions;

management by means of four subject case studies; •

and reported the analysis of:

1. the concept of trust in the collection, analysis, linkage and re-use of government data, which sought to demonstrate that securing public trust in data initiatives depends on a balance of trust across a network of actors involved in data sharing and use; 2. the nature and meaning of consent given by data subjects to enable processing of personal data and variations in the understanding and practical use of consent in the research use of data in different cases (health, education, transport, energy); 3. the identification and management of risk in the use of government data, which highlights risk events and risk mitigation actions and proposes a risk management framework involving different stakeholders; 4. legal and ethical issues around data quality and linkage, including mechanisms for embedding provenance and other metadata to ensure authenticity and reproducibility; 5. ownership and policy responsibilities for government data created by multiple agencies including provision of equitable access; 6. the balance between the research benefits of data linkage with maintaining data subject privacy. Impact To inform policy and practice developments for ADRC-E and contribute to the wider debate about government information and data management. Three academic journal articles (on trust, consent, risk) and over 20 conference presentations to a mixture of academic, professional, and policy making audiences. Further information and links •

A balance of trust in the use of government administrative data, Archival Science, 2017

identified existing best practice in government information and data


Helping children in care fulfil their potential

Local authorities in England act as ‘corporate parents’ for the 100,000 children who are placed in care at a cost of around £2.5bn each year. Those children in care when they do their GCSEs tend to do less well than their peers and, if their experience of care is particularly unstable, they are likely to fare even worse. Research analysing and linking two sets of Department of Education data is revealing clear, meaningful evidence on the lived experiences of children in care: how common it is, which children are more likely to return to care within five years, and the ways in which that affects how well they do at school. This ADRC-E funded research is going on to link the Children Looked After (CLA) Return with the National Pupil Database (NPD) to examine those children’s educational outcomes and explore how these vary with different care experiences. Key findings Findings to date are on the experiences of children in care: •

One in 30 children in England born between 1992 and 1994 entered care at some point in their childhood

Children of Black ethnicity are five times more likely than other children to have spent time in care

Percentage of infants entering care increased by 0.3 per cent for the 2009-11 birth cohort – an increase of 2,000 children

One third of children leaving care re-enter within five years

White or Mixed ethnicity adolescents who have been returned to their parents were most likely to re-enter to care within five years

Children who had a single, stable placement in care were half as likely to re-enter care as children who moved carer five or more times

Impact Giving children permanence and stability is a stated aim of the care system in England. A clearer understanding of the factors linked with a stable experience would help to facilitate evidence-based policies and inform practice. This research is helping social work policymakers


and professionals to understand which groups of children are most likely to re-enter care, and who may need additional support when leaving. The Department for Education also wants to help children from less advantaged backgrounds do better in school. By linking the data sets together, it will be possible to explore how children in care get on at school and how their educational outcomes vary with different care experiences. This research represents a more detailed examination of the data than has ever been undertaken before and has provided important new and useful information on the real ‘lived experiences’ of children in care. The findings have been used to create a simple online calculator to help social workers and others working with vulnerable children to understand more about which groups of children are most likely to go back into care within three months. The data The research makes use of and will go on to link two Department for Education data sets. •

Children Looked After Return collecting data on children in care from local authorities since 1992

National Pupil Database collecting details on pupils’ results/ attainment and background characteristics

Further information and links •

Factors associated with re-entry to out-of home care among children in England, Child Abuse and Neglect, 2017

Data Resource Profile: Children Looked After Return (CLA), International Journal of Epidemiology, 2016

Changes in first entry to out-of-home care from 1992 to 2012 among children in England, Child Abuse & Neglect, 2016

Louise Mc Grath-Lone: Why some children are more likely to go back into care than others in The Conversation, 2017 

This important project demonstrates the potential to reduce instability in the lives of children in care. Professor Graham Hart Dean, UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences

Analysis of Armed Forces leavers’ data

The aim of this project was to assess whether using Ministry of Defence (MoD) data on service leavers in conjunction with 2011 Census data could meet a user need for more data on the characteristics of those who have served, and now left, the UK armed forces (service leavers). ONS’s consultation on topic content for the 2021 Census [1] identified a need for such information to help government departments, local authorities and others meet their obligations under the Armed Forces Covenant in providing services to armed forces veterans. We explored the feasibility of anonymously linking the Veteran Leavers Database (VLD) held by the MoD to 2011 Census data held by ONS, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and National Records of Scotland (NRS). It was the first ADRN project to take place in all four UK countries simultaneously (which involved three different censuses). The main aims of the project were to find out: •

The demographic, social and economic characteristics of service leavers and their families living in the UK

The geographical distribution of service leavers and their families living in the UK and whether it would be possible to present estimates for service leavers to low level geographies, for example by local authority (LA), county council (CC), district council (DC) or clinical commissioning groups (CCG).

Key findings We anonymously linked the VLD to the 2011 Census in our safe and secure research environment to see if it could provide sufficient information to meet users’ needs. •

We matched half of the approximately 1.9 million records in the VLD to the 2011 Census (53 per cent); in Scotland the match rate was similar at 54 per cent

We matched a greater number of those aged between 25 and 69

Our early analysis suggest that the data become less reliable for older individuals, particularly the over 55s.

Impact Following this linkage work, ONS has since announced that it intends to recommend including a question on Armed Forces leavers in the 2021 Census in England and Wales [1]. NRS is currently undertaking a programme of work on question development and testing including testing a question on ex-service personnel. The project will help improve existing services and potentially help develop new services for service leavers in individual constituent countries, as well as across the UK as a whole. For example, in England the NHS, through CCG, commissions healthcare services for service leavers and their families. The NHS wants to understand the number of service leavers in their areas to enable better planning and targeting of resources and care, estimating the costs and economic benefits of effective service delivery and health promotion, and referral to bespoke NHS services and charitable health and welfare providers. So whilst the linked data provide a useful research resource for informing policy and service delivery for those aged 16 to 55, they miss a large part of the service leavers’ population. Data users need information on the whole population and therefore we have concluded that the linked data only partially meet the user needs. The data MoD maintains a VLD, of approximately 1.9 million service personnel who have left the UK Armed Forces, since circa 1975. The information in the VLD reflects all personnel who left service since circa 1975. ONS holds census data for England and Wales, and received 2011 Census data for Northern Ireland. The VLD was linked to Scotland’s Census 2011 as a separate project.  Further information and links [1] programme/consultations/the2021censusinitial viewoncontentforenglandandwales/updateon meetinginformationneedsonthearmedforces communityveterans


Evaluating linkage between children’s health, education and social care data Pre-term births sub-study Maternal health and social circumstances (e.g. age, BMI, deprivation) are really important factors that are related to birth outcomes. For example, mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to smaller babies. These factors may also be related to how often children are admitted to hospital throughout childhood, and to how well they do in school. Hospital data that are collected for administrative purposes (e.g. for financial or clinical management) are a rich source of information for health research and avoid the time and cost involved with collecting new data on large numbers of people. Linkage of healthcare information for mothers and babies provides new opportunities for finding out how maternity services could be improved.

Key findings

Information on maternal and baby healthcare records is not routinely linked in England. This means that there is a lack of information on which maternal factors are the most important for us to try to improve, or which mothers and babies would benefit most from increased support from health services either during pregnancy or after birth.


This project aimed to describe how childhood outcomes and use of health services might be related to the health of the mother, prior to and during pregnancy. We explored whether it is possible to link data on birth outcomes (such as whether a child was born too early or preterm) with wider data, including information on educational outcomes and social circumstances. In many settings, administrative health data for mothers and babies are routinely linked so that key variables in the mother’s history, such as clinical risk factors, previous pregnancies and ethnic group, can be used in analyses of child outcomes. Such linkage is undertaken routinely in Scotland, Canada, Sweden and Western Australia but not in national hospital data for England. Use of administrative data that are already collected avoids the time and cost involved with collecting new data on large numbers of people. This project aims to develop and evaluate linkage between maternal and children hospital records using shared clinical characteristics, and to inform wider use of these linked data resources by researchers and services. Linkage will be used to create standardised birth cohorts for comparison of maternal and child outcomes between countries.


Findings to date on the linkage of data on mothers and children: •

Accurate linkage of data on mothers and children can be achieved using English hospital records

Comparisons of infant outcomes between England and Canada indicate that more could be done to reduce hospital admissions for children in England

Future work will explore the possibility of linkage with wider data, e.g. educational outcomes and social care

We aimed to provide a better understanding of how the health of the mother and child are interrelated, to help inform improvements to maternity services and child health. We hope this research provided a better understanding of how maternal and child health are related. This research will also provide opportunities to identify families who could benefit from increased support during pregnancy and after birth, and help inform improvements to maternity services and childhood health. The data The research makes use of data from two sources: •

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) collecting data on admitted patient, outpatient and accident and emergency records at NHS hospitals in England

Office for National Statistics

Further information and links •

International comparison of emergency hospital use for infants: data linkage cohort study in Canada and England, BMJ Quality & Safety, 2017

Katie Harron: What England could learn from Canada on reducing child hospital admissions in The Conversation, 2017

The enthusiasm and commitment of staff at ADRC-E has shone through in their approach to public engagement. Focusing on core themes of transparency and innovation, the team have earned consistent recognition for their commitment to raising the profile of Administrative Data Research Centre, for example, with their award-winning activities at our University Roadshow. The staff of ADRC-E have made consistent impact on a local and global scale, and are valued individuals within the University community. Professor Sir Christopher Snowden President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton


ADRC-E organised a series of short courses every year to support members of the research community working or wanting to work with administrative data. These courses were designed for researchers in academia, government and the voluntary sector. The courses suited all levels of experience from introductory to advanced levels. Some of our courses ran in collaboration with other data research centres, such as the ESRC-funded Consumer Data Research Centre and the Farr Institute in London.  Attendees came from several Russell Group universities, ONS, the NHS, local governments, national government departments, statistics agencies, professional membership organisations and charities that focus on health policy, social welfare, education and humanitarian aid.  We have often received very positive feedback from our attendees. Here are a few examples from the latest courses: 2017 courses:


“Very impressed at presenter’s knowledge. Variety and pace was well managed”

“Practicals and real life examples were excellent!”

“Nice course. Very good speaker. I am very satisfied!”

“I really enjoyed the sequence of theory and practice throughout the day”

“Excellent course, practically focused”

2018 courses: •

“Great course and content and accessible online which is nice to see for further use”

“This is a well presented course. The trainers gave excellent presentations. I will highly recommend it.”

“It was great to see the different applications of the capabilities of SQL.”

“It was well paced and spaced- good balance of practical and information”

“I felt that it was really interesting and engaging. Good amount of knowledge”

“Thank you for a very interesting and useful two days”

I found the ADRC-E team very professional and helpful. I always enjoyed the interactions on the occasions when I managed to join the others, either at lunch gathering or workshop or conference. And I wish everyone the best of luck going forward. Professor Li-Chun Zhang Course tutor, University of Southampton

Short Courses

87.5 training days 28

62 courses delivered

course tutors


1,162 training podcasts


Courses portfolio:

Introduction to Administrative Data

Introduction to Data Linkage

Introduction to Analysing Data Linkage

Evaluating Linkage Quality for the Analysis of Linked Data

Data Linkage: From Theory to Practice

Analysis of Linked Datasets

Introduction to Hospital Episode Statistics

Introduction to National Pupil Database

Quantitative Analysis using the National Pupil Database

Using Administrative Data to analyse the Impact of Policy Initiatives

Introduction to Data Visualization

Introduction to QGIS: Understanding and Presenting Spatial Data

Introduction to Spatial Data and Using R (as a GIS)

Confident Spatial Analysis

SQL Database Management Software

Using Administrative Data in the Third Sector

Combining Data from Multiple Administrative and Survey Sources for Statistical Purposes

Handling Missing Data in Administrative Studies: Multiple Imputation & Inverse Probability Weighting

Developing Synthetic Data for Administrative Data Sources

Generating Synthetic Data for Statistical Disclosure Control


The University of Southampton and UCL are signatories of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) Manifesto for Public Engagement. For this reason, “we are committed to sharing our knowledge, resources and skills with the public, and to listening to and learning from the expertise and insight of the different communities with which we engage.” Through collaborating with our research scientists we have developed exciting activities to learn about administrative data research, generating new ways to engage in meaningful conversations with the public and to provide a hands-on experience for the most curious attendees at science festivals and conferences. Since 2015, ADRC-E has reached more than 3,000 people through public engagement events. We have informed them about the role of data science and data linkage in Social Science research and its potential benefits to society. ADRC-E has a legacy of inspiring members of the research community to engage the public with data science. The article ‘Data research at science festivals: engaging the public’ in the ESRC Blog ‘Shaping Society’, published on July 21, 2017, was amongst the most-read posts of the ESRC blog in 2017. ADRC-E staff have delivered successful


talks regarding the importance of engaging the public with research to ONS and at events such as the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Conference 2018 at Southampton Solent University, amongst others.

Public Engagement Activities •

Admin Data Tree: was ready to launch in 2018, it required good skills to link ‘fluffy’ datasets to create your piece of research in the shape of a bracelet

Better Candies Benefit Society: launched in 2017, it provided the ‘sweetest’ way to learn about linkage of different datasets to benefit society

Admin Data Geo Challenge: launched in 2016, it required some maths to answer real geography questions that help in the understanding of society

Guess Who? Trump!: launched in 2015, it gave a new twist in understanding data access for research in social sciences  

Public Engagement

3K+ people engaged

1.1K+ Twitter followers 10

6 blog articles

4 engagement activities

public engagement events

Attended events 2017 •

ESRC Festival of Social Science - in collaboration with the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and the Centre for Population Change (CPC) (8 - 9 November)

British Science Association ‘Future Debates’ (2 November)

Bloomsbury Festival - with the UCL Hub  (21 October) 

Winchester Science Festival 2017 - with the University of Southampton Roadshow  (29 - 30 July)

Cheltenham Science Festival 2017 - with the University of Southampton Roadshow (9 - 10 June)

University of Southampton Science and Engineering Day 2017 (18 March)

2016 •

Winchester Science Festival - with the University of Southampton Roadshow (30 July)

Cheltenham Science Festival - with the University of Southampton Roadshow (10 June)

2015 •

Cheltenham Science Festival - with the University of Southampton Roadshow  (4 - 5 June) 

University of Southampton Science and Engineering Day 2015 (14 March)

Accolades •

November 2017: Silvia Lanati was awarded ‘Research Communicator’ at the University of Southampton Roadshow 2017 Awards ceremony

March 2017: ‘Better Candies Benefit Society’, designed by Silvia Lanati, was a runner up for the ‘Creative Activity Design’ award at the University of Southampton Science and Engineering Festival Awards ceremony

November 2015: ‘Guess Who? Trump!’, designed by Claire Wink, was awarded ‘Creative Activity Design’ at the University of Southampton Roadshow 2015 Awards ceremony


Administrative data can enable progressive social and economic research that makes a positive difference to society. A wide range of data expertise and thought leadership across ADRN has enabled us to lead the way in the UK and engage worldwide in this area. Government departments need to rely upon robust research using real data to ensure the UK does not fall severely behind other developed countries. Research projects led by ADRC-E and ADRN are looking at UK challenges including pupil attainment linked to household income, residential mobility and diabetes, educational attainment of children in care, welfare of people with renal transplants, energy consumption and environmental attitudes, linkage of English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits data, higher education funding policy, deprivation, mortality, social mobility, linkage methods and accuracy, and novel methods for turning raw records into research data. ADRC-E has been proud to host official visits from international guests •

The National Information Society Agency, Korea, University of Southampton (2017)

The China Population and Development Research Centre, University of Southampton (2016)

The Moldovan National Bureaux of Statistics (2016)

Invited talks at international conferences/ debates/panels •


Professor Lorraine Dearden was invited to present a talk entitled ‘Higher Education and (In)equality of opportunity’ at an Interdisciplinary Workshop at the Berlin Social Science Centre the was held in Berlin, 10 November 2017 (November 2017)

Professor Peter W.F. Smith represented the ADRN and ADRC-E at the Collaborating with Government Statisticians in the UK, UN World Data Forum, Cape Town (January 2017)

Professor Ruth Gilbert met with the Chair of the Australian Productivity Commission about uses of administrative data (November 2016)

Professor Lorraine Dearden represented the ADRCE at the Public-Academic Research Colloquium in Washington DC. She gave a presentation on “Higher Education Access and Outcomes in England: Evidence from Linked Administrative Data” (November 2016)

Professor Lorraine Dearden was invited to present at the American Educational Research Association in a featured Session on “The Contributions and Opportunities of Using Administrative Data Systems in Research and Policy” (April 2016)

Professor Ruth Gilbert was invited to speak on behalf of ADRC-E at the Danish Parliament - UK Science & Innovation Network, the Committee for Health Education, and Aarhus University (March 2016)

Professor Lorraine Dearden was invited to present at the AERA-OECD conference on “The Potential of Longitudinal Information Systems for Innovation and Research in Education—Toward International Guidelines” which was held Washington, DC 3 - 4 December 2015. She presented at Session #2, Benefits for Education Research and Innovation (December 2015)

Professor Peter W.F. Smith was invited to give a talk at the European Commission Joint Research Centre workshop, Italy (November 2015)

Professor Peter W.F. Smith gave a talk at Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences (SIMSAM), Stockholm (June 2015)

Impact and Influence Media highlights • Professor Rebecca Allen: Stop shooting silver bullets and learn to trust our teachers again in The Guardian, November 2017 • Professor Lorraine Dearden in Corbyn promises free primary school meals for all in BBC News, April 2017 • Professor Ruth Gilbert in Studying children at increased risk of suicide: Teenagers at increased risk of premature death in Science Daily News, May 2017 • Professor Rebecca Allen: What A-level results day tells us about British students in The Guardian, August 2016 • Professor Ruth Gilbert in Public health the key to cutting stillbirths in The Guardian Letters, November 2015

centric. For the children’s sake, please go and do it.” •

Further papers and letters •

Anna Sexton, Elizabeth Shepherd, Oliver DukeWilliams and Alexandra Eveleigh: A balance of trust in the use of government administrative data in Archival Science, October 2017 

Katie Harron: What England could learn from Canada on reducing child hospital admissions in The Conversation, published on August 2, 2017

Ruth Gilbert and Peter DuteyMagni: Researchers need access to NHS data for effective redesign of clinical pathways - Letter in BMJ, August 2017

Ruth Gilbert, Paul Wilkinson and Lorraine Dearden: Patients’ decisions on join replacement need data on earnings and welfare benefits, Correspondence in The Lancet, July 2017 

Ruth Gilbert, Rosemary Lafferty, Gareth Hagger-Johnson, Katie Harron, LiChun Zhang, Peter W.F. Smith, Chris Dibben and Harvey Goldstein: GUILD: GUidance for Information about Linking Data sets in Journal of Public Health, March 2017

Louise Mc Grath-Lone: Why some children are more likely to go back into care than others in The Conversation, published on January 13, 2017 

Louise Mc Grath-Lone: Hard Evidence: are more children going into care? in The Conversation, published on December 9, 2015

Louise Mc Grath-Lone, Jenny Woodman and Ruth Gilbert: Safeguarding children and improving their care in the UK, Correspondence in The Lancet, October 2015

Policy • Professor Ruth Gilbert responded to Lord Russell of Liverpool (CB), who wanted advice before a debate in the House of Lords about Vulnerable Children on 14 December 2014 and had heard that we have done work on this subject. During the debate he stated: “Now for the good news. In 2017, Parliament passed the Digital Economy Act. An organisation—which I will mention in a minute—says, on the implications of this Act, that it, “enables the transformation of personal information held by government departments into an immensely valuable resource of anonymised datasets for research purposes.” That may sound rather dry but it is actually rather exciting. It means we can have cross-sector, longitudinal analysis which can give us real insight and, best of all, knowledge. That organisation is the Administrative Data Research Network, which is under the ESRC, which is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I appeal to the Minister, his officials and other departments to find out about this resource and use it, and to embrace 21st-century technology. We have an unprecedented opportunity to be child-

Dr Emma White took part to the national consultation for the 2021 Census User Group


Professor Peter W.F. Smith Director of ADRN and Director of ADRC-E University of Southampton

I hope you have enjoyed taking the time to read about the work of ADRC-E over the last five years. The team and our partners have worked hard to deliver the original objectives of ADRC-E. While we believe we have gone above and beyond our original brief, it is fair to say that there have been challenges as well. The landscape of administrative data research is undergoing exciting changes at the moment and we welcome the opportunities created by the Digital Economy Act, 2017. The Act, which received its Royal Assent in April 2017, clarifies the legal approach to data sharing for research purposes and provides a framework to enable better data sharing in the future. ADRC-E has been instrumental in laying the foundations for the new climate of administrative data research. As you have read in this document, we are delighted to showcase our achievements, and would like to close by reflecting on the legacy of ADRC-E: •

First-class research published in international journals

Variety and quality of training

Innovation and enthusiasm for generating public awareness

The work underpinning all our goals is our innovative and diverse research, turning data into narratives and actions that benefit wider society. Administrative data research is unique as it is personal to all of us. Amazing insights have been gained by comparing and analysing datasets in new ways. We have focused on improving efficiencies and designs. We have published our findings in a variety of prestigious UK and international journals. Our researchers have


attended conferences and presented their findings through talks, posters and in the press. Our training has not only been of the highest quality, but also highly accessible. Working with partner institutes and venues, we have been able to provide training and conferences throughout the UK. Attendees have come from a variety of different backgrounds including universities, government departments, charities and agencies. As such, our training courses, conferences and events have also served as networking points for the best researchers to come together. In providing high quality, cost-effective, accessible and accredited training we have ensured that researchers are well equipped to undertake their work. This not only enables better data analysis, but also ensures good standardisation, security and best practice. In addition to contributing to the wealth of knowledge generated by current researchers, we have also been busy inspiring the minds of the future generations through our outstanding public engagement. We have actively communicated with the public via talks, stands and workshops in a variety of settings and we have harnessed the power of social media. Our Twitter account has produced over 1,800 ‘tweets’, (more than seven a day for the duration of our funding!) which has earned us over 1,000 followers. By ensuring we are reaching a large audience, and providing engaging content, we have increased the profile and understanding of administrative data research. ADRC-E will be de-commissioned on 31 July 2018. I am immensely proud of our staff and achievements over the last five years. With anticipation, I am excited to see what comes next for administrative data research and how this will benefit wider society.

Benefits and Goals for the Future

Better Knowledge Better Society


Funded by Administrative Data Research Centre - England (ADRC-E) ADRC_E

ADRC-E 2013-2018 Centre Review  

The five years, 2013-2018, Centre Review interactive brochure of the Administrative Data Research Centre for England (ADRC-E). We provide se...

ADRC-E 2013-2018 Centre Review  

The five years, 2013-2018, Centre Review interactive brochure of the Administrative Data Research Centre for England (ADRC-E). We provide se...