Continuing to ensure that privacy is always maintained and that research is carried out transparently is at the forefront of the work we do.
All research requests follow a strict framework to ensure data is kept secure and that all research is in the public interest. We will ensure that all data access requests are carefully reviewed to ensure that the requestor holds the appropriate level of accreditation.
In Scotland, all research involving data linkage follows the Guiding Principles for Data Linkage, designed to support the safe and appropriate use of data for research and statistical purposes. They ensure data linkage takes place within a controlled environment and that the research carried out is legal, ethical, secure and efficient. Importantly the linkage of data is for research and statistical purposes only, where there is no direct impact on an individual because of information about that individual being linked.
EPCC has been accredited for the provision of data, under the Digital Economy Act 2017 which facilitates the linking and sharing of datasets held by public authorities for accredited research in the public good.
Research will only be conducted if the proposed outcomes contribute to the public good, for example, research that is in support of the National Performance Framework, a framework for all of Scotland that aims to:
• create a more successful country
• give opportunities to all people living in Scotland
• increase the wellbeing of people living in Scotland
• create sustainable and inclusive growth
• reduce inequalities and give equal importance to economic, environmental and social progress
Data sharing code of practice
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) data sharing code of practice explains how data protection laws apply to the sharing of personal data. It provides practical advice to all organisations, whether public, private or third sector, that share personal data and covers systematic data sharing arrangements as well as ad hoc or one off requests to share personal data.
If you have any concerns or issues regarding the use of data under the COVID-19 data research service, you can contact the relevant Data Protection Officers in our partner organisations; Scottish Government, National Records Scotland and Public Health Scotland.
The below video illustrates how Scotland has been enabling high quality research in a secure and ethical way for many years.