ONS publishes response to “Approved Researcher” consultation

Earlier today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its response to its March 2015 “Approved Researcher” consultation, which (amongst other things) contained proposals relating to “greater use of ONS data by the private sector and for commercial purposes“. The data referred to is ONS ‘microdata’, which includes linked census records, raw survey data and the confidential information that businesses are mandated to provide.

The highly controversial Proposal 8: “To allow the speculative analysis of ONS microdata, with the intention of making a profit through the sale of resulting analyses” unsurprisingly provoked responses that “were polarised, with strong views on both sides“.

Thanks to everyone who responded to ONS directly – and to the 557 of you who signed our open letter, which is acknowledged on page 7 of the response.

The ONS-appointed Expert Steering Group, composed of ONS staff and external stakeholders, will consider all of the responses to the consultation and this will inform the Steering Group’s final recommendations to the National Statistician, intend to happen in July 2015.

The response ends:

Once the National Statistician has reviewed these recommendations, and decided how the Approved Researcher scheme should be updated, this information will be published on the ONS website.