ADR UK sponsored the conference and hosted two conference workshops, bookending the event with a pre-conference workshop on the morning of 9 December, and the presentation of the Best Paper Award by ADR UK Director, Dr Emma Gordon, closing the conference on 11 December.

The conference welcomed delegates from 12 countries, presenting groundbreaking research and creating a space for discussion around the expanding field of administrative data research. Delegates were spoilt for choice with parallel sessions spanning three days, covering themes including methodological and analytical advances, applied research, case studies and concepts, ethical, legal and social implications of administrative data research, and producing evidence to support policymaking.

Insightful and influential keynote speakers included NHS Digital’s Associate Director of Data Access, Garry Coleman; former Head of the Government Statistical Service and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, John Pullinger; Welsh Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans AM; and Chair of the Ministry of Justice’s Data, Evidence and Science Board, Betsy Stanko OBE.

ADR UK’s pre-conference workshop was jointly led by members of the Strategic Hub team and members of our partner organisation. Together, they highlighted the development of newly linked, policy relevant datasets by ADR UK. Participants – including researchers, data holders and policymakers – were invited to discuss other administrative datasets that could be worthwhile additions to the ADR UK infrastructure, and thereby encouraged to help shape the future of ADR UK.

ADR UK’s second workshop was led by engagement and impact staff from across the devolved partners – ADR Northern Ireland (ADR NI), ADR Scotland and ADR Wales. It used case studies from each partner to illustrate the diverse ways of designing and delivering impactful research outputs. Key takeaways included the value of engagement with the public and across different sectors, the importance of collaboration to understand multiple view points, and the need for healthy relationships with stakeholders.

Pioneering ADR UK-funded research from across the partnership was also presented throughout the conference. Among many others, Professor Dermot O’Reilly of ADR NI cited research from 2011 which revealed that people with poor mental health are less likely to receive the benefits they are entitled to, in comparison to those with mobility problems. Meanwhile, Lynne Forrest of ADR Scotland described a longitudinal study of the linkage of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947 and the NHS Central Register to measure the impact of migration to Scottish New Towns on premature mortality in Glasgow. Presentations from ADR Wales included Sarah Lowe, who discussed recently published findings from a comparative study using data linkage to measure health impacts of Welsh Government home energy efficiency schemes.

Other ADR UK-funded research presentations at the conference are listed below, while more information about ADR UK’s research themes, how we support researchers and policy makers, and more can be found at

Dr Emma Gordon, Director of ADR UK, said: “We were delighted to sponsor and take a major role in the 2019 Administrative Data Research conference. We were impressed and encouraged by a great showcase of real-world examples of how administrative data research – including that conducted by our own partners across the UK – has already informed policy, reaffirming its vast potential to shape the future and improve lives. 

“It was heartening to see the shared commitment from speakers and delegates to make better use of public data for public good, and enable data-driven change. We are very much looking forward to next year’s conference, where we expect to be showcasing many more research projects facilitated by ADR UK.” 

Professor David Ford, Chair of the ADR 2019 Conference and Director of ADR Wales, said: “The International Conference on Administrative Data Research has been a fantastic platform to showcase the power and potential of linked administrative data research. 

“The greatest minds in data linkage research discussed some of the biggest issues facing societies worldwide and outlined how data linkage research has the potential to truly revolutionise our understanding, and our approach, to these issues in order to better inform policy, assist society and ultimately better lives. Connections have been made, discussions have been started and best practice has been shared all of which are vital if we are to maximise this innovative and insightful method to inform society and people’s lives for the better.” 

Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, said: “I am delighted that this conference took place in Wales. We are passionate about making the best use of the data we hold, and it is an area where we are proud to have shown real leadership for many years. 

“The theme of this conference, Public Data for Public Good, is one I wholeheartedly support, as does the Welsh Government. I am also proud that, here in Wales, through Swansea University’s world-leading SAIL Databank, we have a secure way of linking together different datasets so that researchers can access much richer data than ever before.” 

Other ADR UK-funded research presentations at ADR 2019

Methodological and analytical advances: 

  • “Using record linkage to test representativeness of an ageing cohort” by Frances Burns of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Variations in the use and availability of formal and informal care and the end of life over time and space” by Anna Schneider of Edinburgh Napier University.
  • “Linking two administrative datasets about looked after children: Testing feasibility and enhancing understanding” by Jade Hooper of the University of Stirling.

Applied research: 

  • “What happens after self-harm? An exploration of self-harm and suicide using the Northern Ireland Registry of Self-Harm” by Emma Ross of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Suicide following presentation to emergency departments with suicidal ideation: A population-wide study” by Emma Ross of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Poor mental health and update of disability benefits” by Dermot O’Reilly of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Does physical ill-health increase the risk of suicide? A Census-based follow-up study of over 1 million people” by Ifeoma Onyeka of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Hidden harms of hypnotics: A population-based record linkage study of psychotropic medication and suicide risk” by Ifeoma Onyeka of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Social services interventions and the mental health and mortality of care leavers: A population-based data linkage study in Northern Ireland and Finland” by Aideen Maguire of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Ambient air pollution and health in Northern Ireland” by Neil Rowland of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “The unmet need for psychotropic medication within the migrant population of Northern Ireland: A record linkage study” by Kishan Patel of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Common mental disorder across standard occupational classifications in Northern Ireland: An administrative data study” by Finola Ferry of Ulster University.
  • “Administrative data as a novel source of information on postal drug delivery in Scotland: a spatial analysis of illegal consignment seizure data” by Ben Matthews of the University of Edinburgh.
  • “Migration to Scottish new towns and the impact on premature mortality in Glasgow: longitudinal analysis of linked Scottish Mental Survey 1047 and NHS Central Register data” by Lynne Forrest of the University of Edinburgh.

Case studies and concepts: 

  • “Exploiting administrative data to understand the mental health of children known to services” by Sarah McKenna of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “The impact of school exclusion on education achievement: Evidence from English Administrative Data” by Duncan McVicar of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “A public health approach to reducing violence: Can data linkage help to reduce demand on blue light services?” by Susan McVie of the University of Edinburgh.
  • “The looked-after child in time: Creating and analysing longitudinal data on placement history and educational outcomes” by Gillian Raab of the University of Edinburgh and Celia MacIntyre of the Scottish Government.
  • “Assessing the health impacts of adults’ participation in sports: Investigating the role of accessibility to sport facilities” by Theodora Pouliou of Swansea University.
  • “The Welsh Government Flying Start data linking project” by Tony Whiffen and Laura Herbert of Swansea University.
  • “GRAPHITE: Geographic Information UK Secure E-Research Platform” by Richard Fry of Swansea University.

Ethical, legal and social implications: 

  • “Protecting children during child protection research using administrative data” by Jade Hooper of the University of Stirling.

Evidence to support policymaking: 

  • “Health conditions, disability and economic inactivity in Northern Ireland. An administrative data study” by Ana Corina Miller of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Assessing the impact on inequalities in use of orthodontic services of the introduction of an objective measure of treatment need in Northern Ireland” by Kishan Patel of Queen’s University Belfast.
  • “Association between receipt of social care and multimorbidity: Evidence from a population-sized cohort” by David Henderson of Edinburgh Napier University.
  • “Implications of socio-demographic change in place of death in Scotland 2001-2011: An analysis of linked census and death registration data” by Iain Atherton of Edinburgh Napier University.
  • “Careers guidance provisions and progression to post-16 education: An empirical analysis for Wales” by Katy Huxley of Cardiff University.
  • “Careers guidance and transitions to further education in Wales” by Katy Huxley of Cardiff University.
  • “The prevention priority: Linking education and homelessness data to inform policy and practice” by Peter Mackie of Cardiff University.
  • “Better data, better knowledge, better society: Developing an ideal homelessness data system drawing on lessons from global practice” by Ian Thomas of Cardiff University.

To find out more about the ADR 2019 conference proceedings, contact Stephanie Lee.