Data linkage should be a vital component of the official statistics landscape. Value is being squandered because this is not currently the case. New powers have been given to the statistics system via the Digital Economy Act (DEA) 2017 that have the potential to unlock new sources of data and transform official statistics and research.
There are some powerful examples of data linkage being used in government to provide insights and drive policy change. This report highlights many such projects, and we know there are more. However, these success stories remain the exception, and the concern is that the efforts and time required to create these linked data resources can discourage others seeking to do similar work.
We have identified six outcomes designed to deliver a safe and effective data linkage system to support statistics production and statistical research (the downloadable poster illustrates this vision). At the core is a system that demonstrates its trustworthiness as a custodian of public data and uses this as a platform to support greater use of data sharing and linking to deliver insights. The six outcomes, and our recommendations for action to achieve them, are set out in the summary booklet. The full report provides more detail about the work that led to these outcomes being identified and why they matter.
As our letter to the UK’s National Statistician, John Pullinger, outlines, he has agreed to respond to this work with a detailed action plan. We will be working with key decision makers over the coming months inside the statistics system and beyond to help realise this vision. If you are interested in supporting this work, or hearing more about it, please email Catherine Bromley.