ADR-UK: The Strategic Case for a Strategic Impact Programme
Purpose: A strong strategic case for is necessary in order to be eligible for ADR-UK research
funding including access to funding to develop ‘research ready’ administrative datasets and
access to ONS resource and technical infrastructure. It will also serve as single shareable
articulation of the ‘strategic impact programme’ and can be used to inform and engage
multiple key stakeholders.
Title: Data First – Unlocking the Value of Linked Administrative Data – Strategic Impact
Overall Aim: Understanding and supporting our justice system users by linking and
improving our data, carrying out quantitative and qualitative research on these datasets to
fill key evidence gaps and making anonymised data available to academics for external
We would like to understand more about the users of the criminal, civil and family justice
systems; who they are; how frequently they use our services; how they interact with
broader public services across Government; with the aim of improving (and/or reducing)
their interactions with the justice system and other public services.
In order to further our understanding of this cohort, we would also like to improve our
data flows and internal and external data linking, strengthen our strategic research
capabilities and enable more and better external research by involving academics and
providing them with a sustainable and safe way in which they can access relevant de-
identified data extracts.
MoJ has already conducted research-and-statistics focused external datashares with DWP,
HMRC, DfE, PHE and others. Each datashare has been used for a range of key strategic
analyses, including published reports, which we view as critical to demonstrate the benefit
to the wider public (for both statistics and research). For example, we have used our
datashare with DfE to publish analysis on the educational background of young knife
This bid will enhance our skills around data mapping, flows and linkage, making our data
more usable and connected to understand user interactions with justice & Government
services (user journeys). It will support us with resource to pursue additional external
shares, giving us the capacity to drive them forward in parallel, and in making the data
ready and available for academics and other analysts across government to explore.
We would also like to commission specific pieces of strategic research on the anonymised
datasets in line with our Evidence Strategy. We consider ONS as a key partner in ensuring
academic access to MoJ data via the Secure Research Service facility. We envisage
academics adding value in terms of adding analytical skills and expertise, particularly
understanding ‘what works’, causality and robust methods of evaluation.
The bid will allow us to create a pool of both quantitative and qualitative analysts to carry
out data science, statistical analyses and research on the data supervised by a leading
academic with knowledge and expertise of justice issues.
This work will allow us to fill many of our evidence gaps, thus improving the evidence base
for public policy decision making and delivery. For example, we will increase our
knowledge base for reducing reoffending. As broader datashares are created we will
increase the evidence base about the cohort of users of cross government services with
multiple complex needs.
Necessity Case Criteria – in support of the above please tick all that apply
This can’t be done without
For example, research questions cannot be
ADR-UK resource and
answered by government departments alone/ the
supplier does not have all the data themselves?
Since 2010 settlements over successive spending
reviews have aimed to reduce MoJ’s spending by
40%. As a result of this MoJ had to find efficiencies
and reduce cost by:
closing 14 prisons and 2 partial closures,
reducing HMPPS staff by 22% (10,000
closing 260 courts
reducing HMCTS staff by c. 4000 FTE,
reducing the scope and price of legal Aid
(40% real term reductions).
Loosing 70 analysts from our analytical
In this very challenging context, investment in data
and data linking has not been a priority. Given the
risk that resources may have to be reprioritised,
we strongly believe that without ADR UK’s support
this project will not happen at the scale and pace
that we are proposing.
Owner/champion of the
The research or data creation must have an owner
or champion with influence in central government,
e.g., the Treasury or an office with reserved
MoJ will be the owner/ champion of the project
working closely with partners including the Home
Office. OGDs and devolved administrations have
also expressed their interest and support.
We are also hoping that the lead academic and
external academics and academic institutions that
will be involved in the project, will play a key role
in championing this work among the research
Policy Imperatives (mutual
Data Owner policy
MoJ is the data owner for our internal linkage.
There is a shared policy interest underpinning our
external sharing, where other departments own
key datasets – for example, supporting offenders
to achieve positive economic outcomes and
receive timely support (MoJ/DWP/HMRC), or
understanding what works in reducing
(re)offending, including serious violence, among
young people (MoJ/DfE/HO)
Government Department Policy
MoJ is committed to work towards the delivery of
this project’s outcomes, a commitment
demonstrated by the resources they are
dedicating to take this forward and their
longstanding support for cross-government data
sharing. (See data owner policy for other
Devolved Administration Policy
Devolved administrations have expressed their
interest in the outcomes of this programme.
Is there a minister or political group who support
the work being done?
Our SoS has publicly supported the What Works
agenda that drives this project: https://reform.uk/research/beyond-prison-
In addition to this, the government has a strong
interest in departments developing their ability to
track outcomes and ensure value for money. This
is expressed in the Barber review which is
informing the preparatory work for the next
Spending Review: https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2017/11/29/the-
Does the department have an operational
imperative or mandate to deliver evidence on the
issue? Will the project support them in delivering
The outputs of this project will inform our
operations and help MoJ to deliver better
outcomes for people in our care, enabling us to
deliver the right interventions, to the right people
at the right time. This project will specifically
inform our understanding of prolific users of public
services and their trajectories through the
Does the methodology required to complete the
analysis demand certain data be available?
The range of analysis that this project will enable,
will be reliant on high quality linked data to be
produced and shared.
Does the research fall between the gaps in control
of different departments?
Yes. On the external data linking front, there will
be target datasets which are owned by OGDs.
National Audit Office/Select
No. However, the Office for Statistics Regulation
July 2018 review of the ‘Public value of justice
statistics’ highlights that the existing statistics do
not tell a coherent story about offender journeys
through the justice system, and the potential for
linkage to transform this. Has there been a report
into the existing statistics in the space which calls
for new work to be done?
If this project succeeds, it will be an exemplar for
OGDs to join and work in the same way. This
project will establish and scale new ways of making
anonymised data available.
Public Good – in support of the above please tick all that apply
In order to be invited to apply for ADR-UK research funding including access to ONS data
infrastructure and technical support (as well as gain UKSA Accredited Researcher
primary purpose of research projects must be to serve the public good in one or more of the
following ways. Please indicate which apply.
☒to provide an evidence base for public policy decision-making
☒to provide an evidence base for public service delivery
☒to provide an evidence base for decisions which are likely to significantly benefit the UK
☒economy, society or quality of life of people in the UK
☒to replicate, validate or challenge Official Statistics
☒to replicate, validate or challenge existing research
☒to significantly extend understanding of social or economic trends or events by improving
☒knowledge or challenging widely accepted analyses
☒to improve the quality, coverage or presentation of existing statistical information
As a single shareable articulation of the ‘strategic impact programme’ this document can be
used to inform and engage multiple key stakeholders. Please confirm which:
☒ADR-UK including all partners and representatives of steering boards and committees
☒Other government departments
☒Other related data and infrastructure investments
☐Yes, but not this version (an adapted public-facing version can be produced)