Information for patients and the public

What is administrative data?

The government, and other organisations like schools, charities etc., are constantly collecting data about the services they deliver to us. For example, when you visit the hospital, the doctors will collect data on the dates you visited and any treatments you had done. Or if social care workers deliver care in your home, they will collect information on how many hours of care you received etc. We call this data ‘administrative data’. 

Who uses administrative data? 

Administrative data is stored securely by those organisations who collect it and they use it for their own record keeping, monitoring and service provision. Under a set of very strict rules, some trained researchers are also able to access it. This data will never have your name or address in it, so researchers can’t ever tell who is who in a data set. The researchers who access your data are doing so to carry out research which could improve service delivery and possibly the lives of the general public. Often, those individuals are researchers who are based within Universities.

What is the problem? 

In Scotland, researchers go through a range of approvals processes before being given permission to use administrative data. Sometimes, this can take a very long time and this has meant that important research about services being delivered to the public is not being done. The fact that it can take a long time is especially difficult for researchers who are at the beginning of their careers (early career researchers) because they have a short amount of time in which to do their research. If early career researchers are not able to use the data at all, then there won’t be many researchers who are trained in working with administrative data, which can be very complicated data, to do research in the future.

What is eCRUSADers?

The eCRUSADers platform is a place for those researchers to go to find out about how other researchers have worked with administrative data in Scotland. The platform is a space for experiences to be shared so that we can learn from each other and make sure that we use Scotland’s great administrative data to its full potential, ultimately improving the prospects of doing research which will improve the lives Scots.