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Our vision and mission

Our mission is underpinned by values that foster trust and our principles are centred on keeping private data safe and secure. 

Vision and mission 

Our vision is to promote and advance health and social wellbeing in Scotland by enabling timely and cost-effective access to public sector data about people, places and businesses. Using this data, we facilitate collaborative data-driven research and innovation in the public good. 

To achieve this vision, RDS will   

  • coordinate access to the excellent data already collected about people, places, and businesses in Scotland 
  • facilitate working across boundaries to collaborate on common datasets  
  • enable access to the analytical tools researchers need to bring cutting edge insights that inform great decisions. 

We will facilitate research on different scales, from large international studies to simple and quick analyses of individual datasets, and support accredited researchers to use the latest data science and geospatial approaches.   

RDS will build a portfolio of research data assets that are held securely – with public support – and enable these datasets to be updated and accessed at pace. We will also introduce new services that help organisations better understand the impact of their decisions with the aim of improving wellbeing and equality in Scotland.    

Our principles 

Our mission is underpinned by a commitment to the public good as well as to safety and security. For the public good and our own performance, we will be guided by Scotland’s National Outcomes, part of the National Performance Framework, in addition to the following seven principles:  

Public good  

  1. We will only enable access to data for research that is for the public good and considers equalities. 
  2. Firms that access data through us for research in the public good will share any commercial benefits back with public services. 
  3. We will be transparent about what data we provide access to and how it is being used for public benefit. 
  4. Our work will be user-led and solution-focussed. 

Safety, security and trust  

  1. We will ensure that researchers can only access data once it is deidentified.*
  2. We will ensure that all data about people, places or businesses is always kept in a controlled and secured environment
  3. Aligned with the Scottish data strategy, we will support people’s appropriate choice over the use of their data in research. 

*Please note: bullet point #1 previously read 'We will ensure that researchers and RDS staff can only access data once it is deidentified.' This has been updated to reflect an agreement with ADR Scotland, through which RDS staff may be granted secure access to identifiable data in order to complete their work.

Our values 

Everyone who works with RDS has a role to play in helping us achieve our vision, from employees and Board members to partners and stakeholders. The following values will steer our decision making and are what we expect from one another every day: 


We centre the public value of the decisions we are supporting through data and intelligence, always acting with honour.  


We proactively share information, insights and innovations so that we learn faster through better communication and build trust in what we do.  


We believe we can make things better and are prepared to try new things, embrace ambiguity and challenge the status quo. We aim to create a thriving new service that benefits the public, public bodies, the third sector and scientific discovery.  


We deliver better results when our work is truly interdisciplinary and collaborative. We also strive to inform the public about use of their data in a transparent and respectful manner.  


We recognise we have a lot to learn from others and aim to be open-minded about the gaps in our knowledge. We listen to our service users, our partners and the public, and respond to their varying needs. 

If your values align with ours, maybe you’d like to work with us. Explore our current vacancies and learn more about our areas of work if you’re interested in joining our team. 

More about RDS

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Our strategy

Find out how we’re collaborating with our partners to unlock Scotland’s public sector data.

Discover our plans
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Our partners

We work with the Scottish Government and Scotland’s leading academic institutions and public bodies. 

Meet our partners
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Our people

We are a small team comprising experts in a wide range of disciplines.

Meet our team

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