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Public engagement and consultation

The Scottish Government is committed to engaging and consulting with the public on data sharing and linkage practice. A number of initiatives have been undertaken to support this, including the commissioning of two research projects to investigate public acceptability surrounding data sharing and linkage (undertaken by Ipsos MORI in partnership with the Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh) and stakeholder consultation around the development of a Data Linkage Framework. We endeavour to ensure lay-person representation in any work we undertake and are always looking for opportunities to ensure public engagement around data sharing and linkage.

Reports outlining the findings of our public acceptability work can be found here:

Public Acceptability of Data Sharing Between the Public, Private and Third Sectors for Research Purposes

This report outlines findings on public attitude towards data sharing. The research builds upon previous work (below) and primarily focuses on a) public opinion around data sharing with the private and third sectors; b) the acceptability of different benefit-sharing methods as a result of using publicly-held data ; c) the appeal of different methods for empowering citizens in decision making about the use of publicly-held data.

Public Acceptability of Cross-Sectoral Data Linkage

A series of public deliberative events were undertaken as part of the Data Linkage Framework consultation. The overall aim of the work was to explore the acceptability of linking personal data for statistical and research purposes, thereby identifying particular sensitivities and exploring mechanisms for overcoming concerns. This report outlines these findings.


Reports outlining the findings of our stakeholder consultations can be found here:

Data Linkage Framework Consultation

A consultation was undertaken to identify and develop the aims and principles of a Scotland-wide Data Linkage Framework. In addition to the publication on Public Acceptability of Cross-Sectoral Data Linkage, a written stakeholder consultation exercise was undertaken by Scottish Government officials and ran from March 26 to 15 June 2012. The aim was to elicit views from stakeholder organisations on the aims of a data linkage framework; the benefits and barriers to data linkage activity; and a draft set of Guiding Principles.
The consultation paper is available at
The responses received can be seen at
And the analysis of the responses is available at

Scotstat Data Linkage Conference

Data linkage is the joining of two or more administrative or survey datasets to greatly increase the power of analysis then possible with the data. This conference was concerned exclusively with data linkage for research and statistical purposes. The aim of this conference was to inform users and producers of Scottish statistics about data linkage activity that is underway or planned, encourage debate and listen to views and help share ideas.

The Programme and Presentations from the conference can be found here: