Administrative data

Administrative data is information generated in the day-to-day work of public services such as the NHS, government departments and local councils. 

It can be linked and analysed by researchers to reveal trends and insights about society as a whole. When used in the right way, these insights can be a powerful tool and source of evidence: supporting more effective decision making about future public spending, service delivery and policy priorities. 

What kind of data?

Administrative data can include information and records about all manner of interactions people have with public services and government departments, including:

  • Records of births, marriages and deaths
  • Tax and social security records
  • Health records (like hospital admissions or prescription records)
  • Education records
  • Police, crime and court records

The huge range of administrative data available means the data sets our researchers analyse can be different for each project, depending on the topics they are exploring. Our research also frequently links data with some information from the census (and data based on it such as the Scottish Longitudinal Study), as it is a helpful way to include more information about people’s lives in the research.