June 7, 2022

How is sensitive data made accessible for research? Webinar, Tuesday 5 July, 12-1pm

On Tuesday 5 July 2022, we held a lunchtime public webinar as an opportunity to hear how sensitive data is made available for research across the UK, and what the limitations are.

Sensitive data is data which contains personally identifiable information such as names, addresses and identifying numbers. For example, data about people’s education, welfare and health, collected by public services and government bodies like schools, the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS. This data can still be sensitive once it has been de-identified (has had all personal identifiable information removed), particularly if there is potential for re-identification when used with other data. Commercial data such as retail information, business details or confidential product details may also be considered sensitive when used for research.

Across the UK, sensitive data is made accessible to accredited researchers in a safe and secure way via trusted research environments (TREs). This enables them to generate valuable insights to help us better understand society and inform policies and public services that work better for people and society as a whole.

This webinar, which was free and open to all, was a chance to hear and ask questions about:

  • How researchers become accredited to access sensitive data via TREs
  • The application and approval processes in place for accessing sensitive data held in TREs
  • How accredited researchers access sensitive data in a safe and secure way via TREs to carry out analysis
  • What limitations there are with current processes, and where improvements could be made to maximise the public benefit of sensitive data research

If you missed the event, you can view the slides or watch the recording below.