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Discover highlights from our 2024 to 2025 business plan.

Our Vision For The Future Framed Light Blue

Business plan highlights

This year’s business plan, from April 2024 to March 2025, outlines our activity in four key areas:

1. Aligning approaches, demonstrating trustworthiness

Alignment and clarity of policies and approaches to accessing data across Scotland and the UK will make it easier for the public to understand what happens with their data, reducing time and cost for researchers. Public engagement will continue to underpin the approach to all our work, and will be undertaken in conjunction with our partners. In this area, we will prioritise the following activities:

  • Continue to evolve arrangements for public engagement through Scotland Talks Data panel run in partnership with the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) and other activities that encourage public engagement and transparency around projects and activities.
  • Support National Records of Scotland (NRS) to build their indexing capability, in particular to enable the connection to data on businesses and places.
  • Refresh the Scottish Safe Haven Charter that sets common standards, approaches and policies for all Scottish Safe Havens in ways that build on the work of DARE UK and are trusted by stakeholders.

2. Shaping and delivering researcher services

This year, our focus is on establishing the fundamentals of a high performing system, which reduces the friction for those who use and operate the data access system. We will use the feedback from the launch of the initial Researcher Access Service to work up a full service. We will make progress in this area by working on the following activities:

  • Run the first release of the Researcher Access Service, building the user base through targeted communications, engagement and fund to support high value early adopters, and significantly scale its operations by Spring 2025.
  • Oversee improvements that improve user experience working with data in the National Safe Haven in collaboration with EPCC and eDRIS.
  • Work with Scotland’s national data approvals panels to implement change, digitise processes and adopt a scalable, sustainable operations model.

3. Unlocking Scotland's data

Our ambition is to build access to a portfolio of data assets around people, places, and businesses in Scotland, that best meet user needs and can be sustained. Key deliverables to prioritise over the year include:

  • Establish an enduring RDS data sourcing and curation service, working in collaboration with partners, including Scottish Government as part of the ADR Scotland programme and beyond. This service will source, ingest, and update datasets that continue to be well used.
  • Implement changes to the way that data is held, managed and linked following the review by Scottish Data for Research Alliance partners.
  • Make the first synthetic datasets available in the National Safe Haven, and move to bring synthetic data creation into the standard data ingestion process.

4. A sustainable system

The focus for the next 12 months will be to start to establish the mix of funding required to support longer term service delivery and system outcomes. This includes diversifying the funding for RDS and the Scottish data for research system, and preparing to implement new pricing and financial flows to partners for the following financial year through formal agreements. Key deliverables include:

  • Secure independent research organisation (IRO) status for RDS with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to allow the organisation to lead funding bids.
  • Agree new pricing and commercial approach for the Researcher Access Service, including arrangements for money to flow across partners from this service.
  • Work with Scottish Government, Scottish Trade International and several other partners to establish a data driven innovation offer to potential investors that is rooted in use of data for public benefit.

Our vision for the future

Download the full business plan

Read more about our plans for 2024 to 2025.

Business Plan 2024 to 25 (PDF 668.94 KB)

Financial summary

Budget Year 3



Scottish Government grants £3,869,333
ADR funding £478,000
DARE UK grants £18,000
Other income £40,000
Total income £4,405,333
Expenditure £5,085,000
Planned loss for year (-£679,667)


We started the financial year with funds of £1.64m carried forward from our initial investment from Scottish Government. Our reserves policy is to aim to hold six months of core expenditure, which is estimated to be £1m. Our financial plan for the year is to reduce our total funds to an acceptable level by March 2024, which may mean deferring some available grant income into the financial year 2024/25.


We’re investing in the data system in Scotland. In 2021 to 2022, we built capacity by creating the following funds, and have added a second round to the Systems Development Fund.

Fund name


Public Engagement Fund £56,856
Systems Development Fund (round one) £763,337
Synthetic Data Fund £86,535
Systems Development Fund (round two) £300,000
Funding to EPCC £170,000
Funding to PHS £858,000
Accelerator Awards £50,000

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