Joined-up data for better decisions: Guiding Principles for Data Linkage

These principles accompany the associated publication 'Joined-up data for better decisions: A Strategy for Improving Data Access and Analysis'. The guiding principles are a key element of the Data Linkage Framework for Statistical and Research Purposes. They are designed to support data custodians, researchers and other stakeholders in taking decisions about safe and effective data linkage and sharing.


The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is pleased to have been involved in the establishment of a Data Linkage Strategy for Research and Statistics in Scotland. As the Assistant Commissioner for Scotland & Northern Ireland, it is my responsibility to engage with stakeholders in Scotland to assist in compliance with their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data sharing between relevant organisations can result in better communication, better decision-making and more efficient and effective service provision, particularly in the public sector. However, in these days of scarce resources and restricted budgets, it is even more important to develop policy on an evidence-based approach to ensure best value and added benefit where possible. Data Linkage in a safe and secure environment under nationally agreed Guiding Principles will provide opportunities for researchers to acquire robust data for meaningful, evidence-based policy development.

I am pleased therefore, to commend these Guiding Principles to all involved in statistical data linkage activities.

Dr Ken Macdonald
Assistant Commissioner
Scotland & Northern Ireland
October 2012


Email: Kirsty MacLean

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