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'.

Section 3: Ambitions and Aims

A strategic approach to improvements in data linkage processes, from Privacy Impact Assessments and Data Sharing Agreements, through the logistics and technical aspects of linkage to the dissemination of results, will ensure Scotland remains a world leader in data linkage.

We have an ambition to build on existing successful programmes collaboratively to create a culture where legal, ethical, and secure data-linkage is accepted and expected

  • By fostering collaboration between existing data linkage programmes and initiatives we will co-ordinate what is currently a fragmented landscape of activities to achieve immediate benefits through the sharing of ideas, solutions, best practice and methods.
  • By encouraging collaboration in the use and procurement of data linkage ICT across the public sector, we will avoid unnecessary duplication and so reduce purchasing and running costs.
  • By increasing the value of datasets, increasing the wealth of good practice and experience in data linkage research, and demonstrating that Scotland is a world-leader in this field, we will continue to encourage research investment into Scotland.

We have an ambition to minimise the risks to privacy and enhance transparency, by driving up standards in data sharing and linkage procedures

  • By recommending a set of guiding principles for all data linkage activity we will both raise standards and create a clear and consistent approach to data linkage across Scotland.
  • By working with the Information Commissioner's Office to increase the understanding of the Data Protection Act and other legislation across all those involved in linkage activities we will encourage respect for privacy and proportionate and effective approaches to mitigating privacy risks.
  • By encouraging transparency, openness and public involvement in decision making we will increase public understanding about how and why personal data are used for statistical and research purposes, and ensure the public value of research involving linkage methods.
  • By co-ordinating and harmonising data access and approval processes across sectors, without adding layers of bureaucracy, we will streamline the establishment and management of data linkage projects.

We have an ambition to fully realise the benefits that can be achieved through data-linkage to maximise the value of administrative and survey data

  • By enhancing the data standards and statistical capacity we will improve the quality of data that exists and make advances on the evidence base, particularly in terms of a joined-up understanding of how outcomes are achieved, allowing for more informed spending on public services and early interventions that save money in the long run.


Email: Kirsty MacLean

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