NEWS - ADR Scotland's first flagship dataset

ADR Scotland are delighted that their inaugural Flagship Dataset, the 'Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset', can now be accessed via the ADR UK Data Catalogue and has also recently been highlighted by ADR UK.

ADR Scotland (Administrative Data Research Scotland) is a partnership combining specialists in the Scottish Government’s Data for Research Unit with the expertise of academic researchers at the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR). It is one of four regional partnerships within ADR UK, which have recently selected a suite of Flagship Datasets.  

What is a Flagship Dataset?

Flagship Datasets must highlight significant research value and help to answer big societal questions about public policies and services.

Each one must have been made available for research by its regional partner relatively recently, so new studies that use them have the potential to reveal truly groundbreaking insights.

They must cover at least one of the eight core strategic research themes that are established within the ADR UK programme, from community safety to children’s education.

Each flagship dataset should be part of research that has the potential to lead to better informed policy decisions and more effective public services.

The additional detail given with each Flagship Dataset is geared towards attracting researchers to use administrative datasets for research, perhaps for the first time.

Each flagship dataset will have the following supporting documents:

  • core documentation, such as the user guide and a data dictionary
  • the component and characteristics of the metadata
  • data explained report (written by a researcher who has used the dataset before, outlining the variables available, issues within the dataset, and current processes for data access.)
  • details of how to gain access approval to use the dataset or linked datasets. 

ADR Scotland's Flagship Dataset

The 'Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset' brings together data of care placements and the legal basis for children being in the care of local authorities across Scotland. This allows understanding of changes in the patterns of care over time and geography, plus the relationship with children’s characteristics including ethnicity, disability, and religion. Information on the type of accommodation for the young person at the end of their episode of care is also provided in the data.

The 'Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset' can be linked to a wide range of other datasets available in Scotland including data on children’s education qualifications or data on children attending state schools which are publicly funded. 

Viewing the 'Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset' on the ADR UK website, will provide access to the support documents, such as:

- the user guide

- data dictionary

- data explained

By accessing the Research Data Scotland Metadata Catalogue Table, researchers can also gain access to the metadata, related to the 'Looked After Children dataset'.

The future...

We are delighted with the awareness created by two reports which used data from this Flagship Dataset, namely Infants born into care in Scotland and the Impact of Covid-19 on Children’s Care Journeys in Scotland. Not only did the reports create discussions with policymakers, academics and those working within the children's social care sector, the resulting press also enabled the wider community to be aware of the findings.

We are very much looking forward to more researchers linking other data with this dataset, to produce research that would inform policy and benefit society.

ADR Scotland will continue to build our library of flagship datasets throughout 2024. 

This article was published on 15 Sep 2023

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