Joined up data for better decisions: A strategy for improving data access and analysis

This strategy document sets out how we will achieve our ambitions to build on existing programmes to create a culture where legal, ethical, and secure data linkage is accepted and expected; minimise risks to privacy and facilitate full realisation of the benefits of data linkage. This strategy is published alongside 'Joined-up data for better decisions: Guiding Principles for Data Linkage'.

A strategy for improving data access and analysis

Our vision for the future is one where evidence of what works in delivering positive outcomes for all of Scotland is delivered quickly and efficiently with minimal burden on front-line services. By improving the ethical and legal governance arrangements, and the technical capacity to securely and efficiently link statistical data, we will enable the research needed to inform policy decisions. Scotland will be recognised the world over as a hub of innovative and powerful statistical research, attracting investment and job creation.

In Scotland's Digital Future - Delivery of Public Services Scottish Government committed to using information and communication technologies to achieve public services that are high-quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local needs (National Outcome 16). The Data Linkage Framework for Statistics and Research is a vital element of that commitment. Our ambitions are to:

1. build on existing successful programmes collaboratively to create a culture where legal, ethical, and secure data-linkage is accepted and expected;

2. minimise the risks to privacy and enhance transparency, by driving up standards in data sharing and linkage procedures;

3. encourage and facilitate full realisation of the benefits that can be achieved through data-linkage to maximise the value of administrative and survey data.

The publication of this document follows a consultation process, including a written stakeholder consultation exercise, deliberative research into public opinions, and many discussions with interested parties. The framework builds on Scotland's proven track record in effective and secure data linkage, and in particular on The Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP)1.

This document sets out how the strengths and successes of SHIP will be expanded beyond health. It is published alongside a set of guiding principles which we recommend as the basis for all decision making relating to data linkage.


Email: Kirsty MacLean

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