Research Data Scotland – Full Business Case

The Research Data Scotland (RDS) Full Business Case (FBC) sets out proposals for the establishment of a new national service that has the potential to save time, money and lives.

Management Case


This chapter details arrangements for the programme of work necessary to establish RDS, adopting a programme management approach. It sets out a delivery plan with clear milestones, documents project planning, governance structures, staffing, risk management, communications and stakeholder management, benefits realisation and assurance mechanisms. It demonstrates that robust arrangements are in place for the delivery, monitoring and evaluation of the scheme, including feedback into the organisation's strategic planning cycle.

Project Management, Governance, Roles and Responsibilities

Project management arrangements are led by SG's Data Sharing and Linkage Unit and oversee the activities of a project delivery team working on the implementation of RDS.

Programme governance is provided through the RDS Transition Board that meets regularly to review progress and provide advice and oversight for the overall direction of the project. The Board also oversees management of project timescales and risks.

A number of themed working groups have been established to work on the more substantive considerations for the delivery of RDS:

  • Legal Working Group
  • Financial Working Group
  • Regional Safe Havens short life Working Group
  • Staffing Working Group.

Terms of Reference for each of the Groups have been agreed, documented and are include on the RDS website. Project roles and responsibilities are as follows and are shown in Figure 7.

  • Senior Responsible Officer
  • Project Executive Manager
  • Project Lead
  • Project Manager
  • Lead Business Case
  • Lead Funding and Finance
  • Lead Service Design/Transformation Manager
  • Lead Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
  • Business Analysts.
Figure 7: Project Reporting Structure
Chart showing Project Reporting Structure

The project team will be responsible for managing the change from the status quo through a soft launch to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage before RDS's board is established and responsibility transfers to RDS staff. Over time, the RDS service will develop and transition to a new Target Operating Model (TOM).

Figure 8: RDS progression
Chart showing RDS progression

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Within the RDS project team, the term MVP is being used to describe the initial service offering upon launch. The first year of operations will be used as a transition moving the service from MVP to a steady state. The advantage of this approach is that some of the existing service will remain in place to form the basis of the MVP and will be enhanced by some additional capability. This means that after soft launch, the RDS service will include the following functions:

  • A new RDS website with several important features:
    • searchable
    • open/public facing
    • data catalogue
    • links to websites of service providers and partners
    • digital services (including project tracker)
    • contact details
    • RDS branding
  • Metadata and data catalogue with useful links to; SG and NHS open data platforms; geo-spatial data
  • Well defined user/research journeys including IG and approval permissions
  • RDS formally set up as a CLG with charitable status;
  • Chair and Non-Executive Directors (partners and independent) in place; core staff and secondees in place.
  • Articles of Association in place
  • Commissioning arrangements (based on the status quo) agreed formally with service providers
  • RDS governance arrangements in place: governance strategy; overall strategy; business plan; policies; delegated authority; board meeting schedule; reporting schedule; KPIs
  • Stakeholder engagement and communication plan in place
  • RDS data road map/data acquisition programme developed that shows what data sets will be available and when
  • RDS office location agreed, offering national coverage
  • RDS bank account set up
  • RDS VAT registration.

It should be noted that during and after the RDS achieves MVP, the National Safe Haven infrastructure will continue to exist and will remain an important resource.

To move from the status quo to the MVP will require a project plan; a subsequent service development plan will be required to develop RDS from MVP to its fully functional operational state.

Project Plan

A project plan has been developed to capture tasks, deliverables and timescales across the working groups and project roles. This maps out the set of activities to move from current operations to MVP in September 2021 (and subsequently the Target Operating Model).

A summarised version of this is presented to the Transition Board at each meeting.

Table 19: Mobilisation plan
Action Who When
Website signposting including company articles, structures, leadership etc. Comms Manager TBC
Description of service, who we are and outlining the services RDS will provide and who delivers them Comms Manager TBC
Contact details for accessing RDS service Comms Manager TBC
Holding text / narrative next steps Comms Manager TBC
User IG and approvals guidance Comms Manager/eDRIS TBC
Researcher user journey: guide on how users interact with eDRIS, NRS, EPCC Service Design Team / eDRIS TBC
Details of fees eDRIS TBC
Information on RDS key staff, leadership team, accountability and reporting Comms Manager TBC
"User charter"/service user expectations eDRIS TBC
Information on how data controllers can engage with RDS eDRIS and ADR-S TBC
Key service features    
National Safe Haven Services Catalogue eDRIS / EPCC / NRS / RDS TBC
Data Hosting Services EPCC TBC
Indexing Services eDRIS / EPCC / NRS / TBC
Research Support Service eDRIS TBC
Trusted Research Environment EPCC TBC
Data catalogue / Data inventory for: RDS Team TBC
Data catalogue – Education RDS Team TBC
Metadata catalogue RDS Team TBC
Links to websites Service Design Team / Comms Manager TBC
link to eDRIS Comms Manager TBC
link to SPBPP Comms Manager TBC
link to PHS Comms Manager TBC
link to HDR-UK Comms Manager TBC
link to RSH Comms Manager TBC
link to NRS Comms Manager TBC
link to EPCC Comms Manager TBC
link to UK data archive Comms Manager TBC
link to SG open data platform Comms Manager TBC
link to PHS open data platform Comms Manager TBC
link HSC-PBPP Comms Manager TBC
link to open data platforms Comms Manager TBC
Geo spatial commission Comms Manager TBC
Private satellite data via Scottish Enterprise Comms Manager TBC
Comms & Marketing  
Agreed comms plan for launch Comms Manager TBC
Marketing collateral products, flyers etc Comms Manager TBC
Agreed format for launch Comms Manager TBC
Ministerial advice + launch press release CEO/ RDS Team/ Comms Manager TBC
Demonstrator project CEO TBC
Onboarding new web provider? Service Design Team /Comms Manager TBC
Organisational requirements  
Finalise Articles of association RDS Team TBC
Finalise Members' Agreement RDS Team TBC
Registration with OSCR RDS Team TBC
Company directors and trustees in place CEO/ RDS Team TBC
OBC and FBC signed off by Minister and published RDS Team TBC
Governance arrangements and processes in place, including user group, international advisory group (IAG) etc CEO TBC
Employ staff RDS Team TBC
Commissioning Agreements / SLAs with partners RDS Team TBC
RDS strategies and policies inc HR, Finance, Data etc CEO/eDRIS/EPCC TBC
Review of the Privacy Policy & Cookies Statements to reflect RDS separate legal entity tbc TBC
Case management system including performance matrix and external facing functionality Service Design Team TBC
Operational requirements  
Complaints procedures CEO/Chief Inf Officer TBC
Researcher / project progress view Service Design Team TBC
Initial inquiry form Service Design Team TBC
Policies and arrangements for National Safe Haven eDRIS TBC
Setting up Central contact route for queries to be routed to the appropriate team eDRIS TBC
Safe pod network access NSH/eDRIS TBC
Safe pod network access SG/NRS TBC
RDS bank account RDS Fin Mgr TBC
VAT registered RDS Fin Mgr TBC
Establishing monthly finance reporting RDS Fin Mgr TBC
Establishing monthly performance reporting eDRIS TBC
Payroll RDS Fin Mgr TBC
Initial location arrangement RDS Team TBC
Equipment RDS Team TBC
Pension RDS HR Adviser TBC
Public Liability Insurance and Directors' insurance RDS Fin Mgr TBC
IG pathway 1 defined inc associated documentation RDS Team TBC
Business continuity / disaster recovery plan RDS Team TBC

Communications & Stakeholder Engagement

There is high level of interest in RDS across several key stakeholder groups. Project communications and stakeholder engagement will be an important aspect of implementing RDS. The SRO, Chief Statistician Roger Halliday has already commenced engagements with key delivery partners and produced public-facing summaries highlighting the longer term benefits of RDS and the opportunity it presents. The key stakeholders are as follows:

Table 20: Key RDS stakeholders
Stakeholders Role in RDS Remarks
Scottish Government
  • Funder
  • RDS governance role
  • Data Controller
  • User
Sets national outcomes, and Scottish Digital Strategy. Existing SILC partner.
Public Health Scotland
  • RDS governance role
  • Oversight role for eDRIS
  • Data controller
  • User
New organisation set up in April 2020
National Service Scotland
  • Data controller
Lead agency for SILC, previous home of eDRIS
National Records Scotland
  • Indexing
  • Data controller
Existing SILC partner
eData Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS)
  • Data Linkage provider
Existing SILC partner within PHS
University of Edinburgh
  • RDS governance role
  • User
Provides EPCC to SILC. Existing SILC partner.
Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC)
  • Computing infrastructure & capability
Part of the National Safe Haven delivery team. Existing SILC partner.
Health Data Research UK
  • Funder
  • User
Successor to FARR Inst. which was formal SILC partner
ADR Scotland
  • Funder
  • Service recipient
  • User
Existing SILC partner.
Chief Scientific Office
  • Provides grant funding to NSH (until March 2022)
Funds five regional save havens as well as National Safe Haven
Regional Safe Haven service partners
  • Regional indexing/linkage service and secure analytical platforms.
  • User
  • Data controller
  • Governance role?
Academics, researchers, analysts
  • Users
Existing users of SILC
Data controllers
  • Providers of datasets
  • User
Existing providers of datasets to SILC
Data professionals: statisticians/data scientists
  • Users
Existing users of SILC

Change Management Plan

Transition from the current data linkage and access service model to a MVP for RDS will enable changes occurring in response to Covid 19 to be built into the service at soft launch in 2021. This will require careful planning and change management to ensure continuity of service delivery. A more detailed future service model for RDS will be developed for implementation during the first year of RDS operations.

Benefits Realisation Plan

A benefits realisation plan is included in this FBC at Appendix Two. This includes a detailed plan of how each identified benefit will be measured so its realisation can then be monitored.

The benefits realisation plan will be aligned with the project delivery plan: it is currently profiled so that full values will not be realised until at least year 5 of the programme.

A standalone draft benefits management framework has also been developed and this will be passed to the RDS Board for review and approval.

Contract Management Plan

This will set out arrangements where contracts are required and specify the accompanying documentation, in line with the Commercial Case.

Risk Management and Risk Register

Risk Registers and an overarching Risk and Issues Log have been developed for the RDS Programme. These are updated regularly and used to capture and manage risks across the work-streams and are shared with the Transition Board.

A full risk management plan for the transition from the current data access model to RDS is included at Appendix Three.

A separate risk management framework has also been developed that sets out a draft methodology for consideration by the RDS Board once RDS is operational.


Whilst there are governance structures in place to oversee the planning and delivery of RDS, it may be prudent to consider independent assurance and/or a gateway review process. Existing SG guidance should be consulted and implemented as required.

Post project evaluation

In accordance with SG guidance, a post implementation review will be included in the overall project and undertaken approximately nine months after RDS is operational.

A more detailed specification for the type and nature of evaluation (economic, impact or process) to be conducted and the information requirements for this will need to be set out ahead of the post project evaluation.

Contingency plans

In the event that this project fails, the current operating model can be continued through the existing operational arrangements. It is planned to initially offer RDS on a MVP basis. This means that, if required, there would be the opportunity to operate on this basis for a longer period than anticipated if that was required to mitigate any emerging risks or issues.

Successful delivery

As an organisation, RDS will service two separate groups of stakeholders through its work and operations; those who are data controllers and those who wish to access data.

These groups of stakeholders will interact with RDS through a defined service model. This model must meet the needs of both groups and be fit for the future in terms of anticipating likely demand (of both data controllers and end-users) and building a service to support this. Innovation and performance improvement will be at the heart of how the service model matures.

RDS will need to keep pace with changes to standards and cyber security practice to continue to gain the support of data controllers. Similarly, data curation methods and systems must strive to innovate to keep pace with the requirements of increasingly sophisticated analytical techniques applied by end-users. RDS will need to devote resource to this horizon-scanning and relationship-building work.

RDS will lead an ongoing programme of public engagement and public-facing communications that explains what RDS is about, what it aims to achieve and how it takes views from the public on these issues. It will be transparent with users and the public concerning how and why data is processed and regularly provide examples of impactful work where projects have informed and evidenced Scottish policy and public services.

Data Controllers, Information Governance – privacy at the centre

It is recognised that different data have varying levels of classification - from those which can be made freely available (i.e. open data) through to those that must be carefully controlled due to the sensitive nature of the data whilst protecting citizens' privacy.

It is also recognised that the public hold subtly different views regarding the acceptability of people from the public/private/voluntary sectors accessing data for various uses – from informing development and improvement of public services through the potential generation of private sector profit.

It is proposed that a mixed model of IG arrangements will be adopted under RDS across a broad spectrum of data. This approach will build in the flexibility to accommodate statutory requirements relating to some data holdings, while supporting a different approach for other types of less sensitive (protected) data.

RDS will benefit data controllers allowing them to see what type of enquiries are coming in for their data. This will enable them to plan and ensure they are meeting their ethical and legal requirements on data production.

IG under RDS will work towards ensuring robust, holistic and proportionate assessment of requests to access data and work with data controllers to explore how best this can be delivered within an environment where, in some instances, many different data sources are being combined for single analysis.

There will be the flexibility for data controllers to specify which data can be used, in which ways and by which types of users. In some cases this could involve data controllers depositing datasets into the secure computing environment, with the potential for permission for these to be used in specified ways. In other cases data controllers may wish to retain an approach wherein they retain source datasets within their local computing environments and only provision data after assessing each project.

RDS will offer all of these options, using standardised data sharing and data processing agreements. It will remain the responsibility of the data controllers to make the assessment concerning the risks and benefits of providing access to the data for specific requests.

RDS will develop a data prospectus that outlines public sector datasets and what they contain (their metadata). This will allow researchers to search the prospectus to determine whether the data they require is available and can be used for the purposes of their research. Clear permissions around the use of such data will be agreed between RDS and data controllers and made available to researchers.

In effect, RDS will adopt a hybrid model in which it will be a data controller for some datasets and not others. This will be dependent on the requirements of original data controllers.

RDS Service Users, Data Catalogues

RDS will seek to engage with professionals from the:

  • Public sector
  • Academia
  • Private sector
  • Voluntary sector.

This will ensure that the potential of Scottish public sector data are released for public benefit. In order to develop viable and worthwhile projects users will need to understand what data are available and the likely logistics involved in provisioning that data.

RDS will develop a data prospectus that outlines the datasets that are available for research including linkage and what variables they contain (their metadata). This will allow researchers to search the prospectus to determine whether using this data would be worthwhile, whether the data they require is available and can be used for the purposes and, if so, to start to plan their research. RDS will commission work to set up and maintain a web based resource.

RDS Service Providers – Research Co-ordinators, Customer Support

RDS will commission research co-ordinator services to:

  • Liaise with experts in the required datasets
  • Build knowledge of all datasets that are available (including meta data, coding structures etc.)
  • Support study design and assessment of the logistics involved in creating the required dataset
  • Implement agreed information governance and data access processes – ensuring that agreements with data controllers are followed
  • Advise on the creation of study cohorts from single and multiple datasets
  • Maintain and support appropriate project documentation (e.g. IG and researcher approvals)
  • Regularly communicate across the technical parts of the data linkage service to drive progress (customer support, indexing and secure computing environment)
  • Data provisioning and ad hoc/bespoke linkages.

Within the current data linkage system some of these functions are currently provided by the eDRIS service (part of PHS) for health data.

Current experience has demonstrated that not all users of RDS will be technically able to undertake their own data analysis and may wish to commission support from another organisation – this is something which would be available (or sourced) through the RDS user service. RDS will therefore commission, and audit, this service currently provided by eDRIS within PHS.

RDS Service Providers – Indexing Service

Identifiable personal information is not always required for the vast majority of research and innovation purposes. The current experience is that worthwhile projects often require large volumes of data and/or the joining of multiple datasets; however, this does not commonly require a concomitant need to provide personal identifiable information to researchers.

The linkage model will continue to be based upon a technical approach which is known as the 'separation of function' model. Within this approach the linkage of individuals takes place separately, in a different organisation, from the joining of the information required for a research projects.

RDS will therefore commission, and audit, the services of the well-established de-identification and linkage service already in existence at NRS acting as the trusted third party.

This service replaces direct individual personal information with de-identified index numbers and allows datasets to be joined and provisioned without data custodians needing to exchange personal identifiable information between themselves. This approach will be central to the development of RDS and form the key underpinning for the pseudo-anonymised data that is provisioned for data linkage projects.

RDS Service Providers – Secure Storage

In order to ensure public trust is realised a secure high performance computing environment is required which will have two key functions:

a) Accredited secure storage of data for research and innovation
b) Provision analytic environments.

For this reason RDS will enforce contractual controls upon those accessing data in combination with state of the art computing security. To ensure public trust the secure computing environment will be subject to external, independent, scrutiny and be expected to achieve relevant kite marks relating to industry best practice.

The design of the IT architecture will be developed collaboratively between the IT service provider and RDS. This will ensure that the design takes account of multiple data controllers' requirements.

RDS will ensure the design and its operating processes are subject to external scrutiny and regular compliance testing.

RDS Service Improvements – Building on the Discovery Work

To achieve the successful outcomes highlighted above, there needs to be a significant service development initiative undertaken in the first few years of RDS's existence.

The RDS project team carried out a discovery initiative concurrent with the business case development. This work highlighted several key areas for service improvement, which RDS should seek to implement as a priority.

Table 21: Areas for improvement
Process stage Improvement
Data discovery
  • Improve guidance documents
  • Develop researcher briefing to improve familiarity with process
  • Identify how IG can be streamlined
  • Improve meta data/data catalogues and information on what datasets are available
  • Provide a streamlined digital application process.
  • Signposting to services.
Project feasibility
  • Provide details on data suitability for type of project
  • Provide clearer information on timelines
  • Develop a tracker system to show project status
  • Streamline process so data can be accessed quicker
  • Review charging mechanism for commercially focussed organisations.
  • Provide a streamlined digital application process with a 'tell us once' approach
  • Improve guidance documents for approval processes.
Assess public benefits & ethics
  • Provide better guidance
  • Remove duplication from IG documentation such as approvals panels access – develop intelligent digital application
  • Identify best way of offering support to applicants
  • Provide better guidance on data ownership and data protection requirements
  • Prompt researchers to inform legal departments of data sharing agreements (develop pre agreed templates for data sharing agreements with digital signature capability)
  • Create a standardised data access process across organisations
  • Multiple data controllers.
De-identified/ data linked
  • Improve and develop definitions of data and standardisation
  • Improve metadata and data catalogues definitions
  • Improve visibility of data, including whether they are linkage ready or have pre-approvals for certain types of research
  • Consider a more efficient solution to create and destroy
  • Improve efficiency and transparency of data linkage process
  • Review processes for data management, data quality and data acquisition to improve consistency, clarity and efficiency
Data access
  • Enhance safe haven access
  • Federation with other safe haven settings in Scotland
  • Federation with safe havens elsewhere in the UK
  • RDS, as part of its brokerage role, could build a wider set of secure access points
Project closure
  • Enhance IG requirements to allow datasets to be reused rather than destroyed.
End to end process
  • Review research co-ordinator/ customer service capacity
  • Identify how research co-ordinators can communicate more proactively
  • Review the process for dealing with the volume of enquiries
  • Improve the efficiency of the workflow process: need to identify how best to cover for sickness/holidays, reduce hand-offs/delays, and make less siloed
  • Ensure data controllers have oversight into the research communities needs

By making improvements in these areas and implementing other service development, RDS will be able to move from MVP to its Target Operating Model.

At this stage, a high level TOM has been developed and this can be seen in the following diagram:

Figure 10: RDS Target Operating Model ( TOM)
Diagram showing RDS Target Operating Model

Based on the areas identified for improvement and underpinning the TOM are some key service development requirements as follows:

TOM Processes

1. IG: data access service

  • Well-defined research user journey, including IG and data access permissions for RDS initial/trial data offering (i.e. Education and MoD data available under ADR)
  • Well-defined research user journey, including IG and data access permissions for any other data sets following the "old/current" user journey and not included in the RDS initial service – i.e. not part of the RDS integrated data holding
  • A clear and identified research user journey which makes a distinction between availability of and data access to personal and non-personal data under data protection legislation – i.e. anonymisation classification of the data sets and need for a clear distinction between proposed IG Pathway 1 and 2
  • Support streamlined data access for data sets deemed to be legally anonymised under data protection legislation and setting up of an advisory board of all donating data controllers reviewing changes to and use of the RDS data holding but not approving individual projects
  • Service linkage and non-linkage data access requests and transition from the "create & destroy" model to "reuse.

2. Front end customer service: researcher support and consultancy service

  • Design and build a front end "data access request" online application for all types of data access requests including linkage, non-linkage, re-engineered from the many different forms currently in use
  • User/customer centre guidance, including relevant legislative framework, UK GDPR, Data Protection Act, turn – around timings, set clear customer expectations about the service etc.
  • Library of forms, and templates including DSAs, DPAs, DPIA
  • FAQs – self-help /self-directed resources
  • Stepped/graduated approach to customer service support for data access application with options:
    • a) submit application on the basis of resources and self-help on the RDS portal or
    • b) request discussion with research analyst or coordinator about a potential project
  • Metadata catalogue/data inventory, a data route map for 2021-25, link to e-DRIS/NHS data catalogue, Geo-spatial commission for space-derived data, private satellite data, survey data
  • Communities of practice – platform for information, exchange, best practice and support those working with or interested in research data
  • Data controllers' network and guidance on how to engage and deposit data.

3. Researcher Access

  • Policies and arrangements for interaction with national and regional safe havens
  • Access through safe pods network
  • Researcher accreditation
  • RDS "own" research user service accreditation/registration or any additional accreditation or training requirements RDS may wish to impose for access to all or some of its data.

TOM Technology

1 . Secure Data Access Service

  • Use of resources, expertise, capabilities from trusted data infrastructure partners
  • Highest level of UK accreditation standards (DEA) secured
  • Privacy is always maintained
  • Data is held in Scotland
  • Use of tried and tested, safe and secure arrangements for holding and sharing data in Scotland
  • Data linkage follows the Guiding Principles for Data Linkage (or its successor guidance) designed to support the safe and appropriate use of data for research. They ensure data linkage takes place within a controlled environment and that research is carried out in a legal, ethical, secure and efficient way
  • Sufficient digital data storage within the NSH/ computational resource?
  • Hardware and other supporting technologies.

2 . Data Analysis Service

  • Analytical Workbench
  • Scotland's National Safe Haven is the environment that all the linkage ready datasets will be stored, managed and processed, ready for the researcher.
  • Other environments/infrastructure RDS will use/rely on, including non-linkage
  • Tools and resources available within the safe settings
  • Technology to support federated data
  • Other toolsets and applications to be made available to research users

3 . De-identification service

  • De-commissioning of legacy and end of life technologies for data linkage
  • Investment in new technologies
  • Development and enhancement of the NRS indexing service, including automation.

TOM people


  • CEO, Board and Chair
  • Corporate Support - Secretariat/Business Manager
  • Operations and Corporate Engagement inc Government and Public Sector, coordination of data acquisition, delivery activities, system improvements and policies, IG and legal – Operations Director
  • Comms and Marketing – Comms & Marketing Manager
  • HR – Services Manager
  • Accounting and Finance including Payroll – Finance Manager.
  • Research and Development inc innovation of services and products and analytical services – Research and Development Director
  • Chief Information Officer
  • IT/Technology Management inc Information Management and Secure Data Access
  • Customer/User Service(s) Delivery- Services Director
  • Engagement and Knowledge Brokering

TOM location

1 . Location dependent or independent organisation

  • Location/siting appraisal still ongoing as currently halted by Covid and resources being diverted elsewhere
  • Preferred option is the Bayes Centre with eDRIS remaining at the BioQuarter
  • Organisational location may no longer be a fundamental issue in light of Covid and increased move towards flexible and remote working as long as we build innovative capacity with the right and effective functions for RDS, regardless of location
  • Move towards a hub and spoke approach where an established and identified location for CEO and some services is complemented by a dispersed organisational model and flexible working from a number of hubs across Scotland.

TOM operating costs

1 . Funding and Financing

  • Achieve a balanced budget where revenue is made up of a mix of SG/public sector grants and income generation from services
  • The amalgamation and/or effective coordination of some of the functions from the linkage service providers enables efficiency savings on the costs of the legacy arrangements
  • FY 2020/21 year will be a transitional period financially for RDS. During this year, it will continue to be funded by a range of Scottish and UK funders
  • From FY 2025/26 onwards, RDS will need a wider portfolio of funding
  • Programmes of investment and co-investment with partners, investment to grow the business.

TOM People and roles

1. Data acquisition team role

  • Working with data controllers to secure data for use in the linkage infrastructure
  • Managing and improving the data ingestion process, including oversight of the indexing service
  • Developing an approach to enabling researchers to discover what data is included in RDS service
  • Creating approaches to create useful analytical groups households,
  • 2021 priorities
    • Team recruitment and organisation
    • Delivery of commitments to HDR UK core studies programme
    • Delivery of commitments to ADR Scotland programme – justice, children, DWP/LEO, HMRC
    • Develop data offering on places focussed on user priorities
    • Develop a data catalogue and an approach to metadata
    • Establish a data controller network and steering group.

2. Researcher Services team role

  • Provide advice and support service to researchers
  • Project manage data access to researchers
  • Provision of analytical and technical support to researchers (where required)

2021 priorities

  • Deliver data for linkage and non-linkage projects
  • Deliver data for high profile demonstrator projects
  • Develop expertise across different public sector domains
  • Adoption of new IG processes and user interface.

3. Technical Infrastructure team role

  • Provision and development of secure computing infrastructure
  • Provision and development of analytical tools for researchers
  • Linkage [where appropriate] and provision of datasets for research and onward management
  • Ingestion and management of new datasets.

2021 priorities

  • Delivery of commitments to HDR UK core studies programme
  • Delivery of commitments to ADR Scotland programme
  • Develop data offering on places focussed on user priorities
  • Develop a data catalogue and an approach to metadata
  • Establish a data controller network and steering group.

4. Strategy & Transformation team role

  • Run business transformation programmes
  • Manage RDS communications
  • Public engagement
  • Regular horizon scanning and maintaining strategy
  • External affairs – securing further investment in RDS.

2021 priorities

  • Project teams recruitment/procurement
  • Redesign user interface for researcher service
  • Roll out and iterate Information Governance approaches
  • Indexing transformation programme
  • Regional Data Safe Haven alignment
  • Agree commercial models.

5. Corporate & Policy team role

  • Develop and maintain a set of corporate policies
  • Human Resourcing and training
  • Estates
  • Finance and procurement
  • Governance, reporting and measuring success.

2021 priorities

  • Team recruitment and organisation
  • Establish RDS as a charity
  • Support the organisation to recruit and get up to speed
  • Establish corporate functions – finance, governance, reporting etc.
  • Establish a set of corporate policies.

RDS is a complex project and to achieve a successful soft launch in September 2021 remains challenging. The necessary actions have been identified and the project team has built momentum so it is achievable. In the short term, actions should focus on soft launch and planning the necessary service development activities to enable the subsequent transition to the TOM.

Following the commitment to establish RDS in the 2019 Programme for Government, this FBC builds on the OBC approved by Ministers in early 2021 and shows that RDS will be financially sustainable. It makes a compelling argument for RDS by showing the improvements it can make to data access, and so add economic value and support Scotland's recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic. The FBC recommends that RDS is established as soon as practicable.



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