Administration Data Liaison Service (ADLS)

The Administrative Data Liaison Service (ADLS) supported academic research and was the focal centre for knowledge, help and assistance with the major administrative datasets in the UK. The ADLS was a collaborative team with researchers from the University of St Andrews, the University of Oxford and Manchester.

Administrative data is information that is routinely collected by organisations as part of their business or operational activities.  It is not primarily generated as research resources.  It covers a wide variety of fields in both the private and public sector including education, health, welfare and taxation.

Administrative data in the UK is extensive, but remains relatively undiscovered and underused.  It has an enormous potential to inform social scientific research, either directly through analysis of such data or through linkage to other datasets.  Potentially, research findings could also offer cost efficiencies and other benefits to data-holding organisations.

Primarily the ADLS service provided information relating to:

  • the availability of the major administrative datasets in the UK
  • their suitability for specific research purposes
  • the procedures required to gain access to such data
    the frameworks to be followed to use such data

The ADLS worked in tandem with both researchers and data-holding organisations to ensure that:

  • Researchers understand and comply with stringent legal, ethical and security frameworks needed to apply for, access and link with administrative datasets.
  • Data-holding organisations have a greater awareness of the potential of their administrative datasets.
  • The access, use and quality of administrative datasets are improved. 

ADLS was funded by the ESRC.

Further information: