Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit

How do we maintain data confidentiality?

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) encourages wide use of the Scottish Longitudinal Study, but is at the same time firmly committed to protecting the confidentiality of data about individuals.

SLS records made available for analysis are anonymised individual-level data that have not been aggregated or disguised.  A range of measures is taken to ensure confidentiality.

      • The data are held only at the NRS Ladywell House site in Edinburgh.
      • Data can only be accessed in a single safe-setting room using stand-alone computers.
      • Remote data access is not possible.
      • The only aggregated data outputs released to SLS researchers are tabulations and model results (such as regression coefficients).
      • Output files are always emailed in encrypted format.
      • Prior to data access, all SLS users are briefed about confidentiality and security protocols and required to sign an Undertaking Form to show that they agree to abide by them.
      • All researchers wishing to use NHS ISD data in their analyses are required to complete a SHIP-approved training course (see Step-by-step guide)

Use of SLS data is covered by the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice and the Protocol on Data Access and Confidentiality (see CALLS Hub website: Useful Documents) as well as specific legislation such as Census Act 1920, Population (Statistics) Act 1960, Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000.

More background reading about SLS governance arrangements can be downloaded here (Word, 67KB).

Explore the variables held in the SLS data dictionary.

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