The Welsh Government Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, has credited ADR Wales for its work to help Wales become an international leader in data sharing and evidence-based policy best practice.

The Minister was speaking at the Wales Data Analysis Innovation and Improvement Network (WDAIIN) seminar, ‘Supporting evidence-based decision making for Community Safety’ and drew on the insights that data, when safely collected, stored and analysed could provide to support crime prevention.

The Minister credited ADR Wales’ partnership approach, acknowledging its work alongside the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank to create world-leading opportunities and exciting possibilities for research and understanding. The Minister referenced ADR Wales’ role bringing together data and data experts to advise on the safe collection, storage and use of de identified data to inform cross organisation decision making on crime prevention, and called on data owners and providers in Wales to be ambitious about secure data sharing, looking for the opportunities to share safely and effectively rather than the barriers.

The Minister highlighted the groundbreaking role of the Wales Accord on the Sharing of Personal Information, known as WASPI, which provides a framework for sharing personal data effectively and lawfully, promoting a consistent approach across sectors. WASPI reduces the barriers to working together, whilst ensuring we can be confident that data is being shared and used ethically and appropriately. All Police Forces and Fire and Rescue Services in Wales, alongside organisations ranging from Local Health Boards to housing associations and local authorities have signed up to WASPI. This joint accord across sectors creates a wide range of potential learning and insights, supported by ADR Wales.

The Minister referred to important real-world applications such as ADR Wales’ joint project with the Ministry of Justice to better understand substance misuse trends. Delivered through the Better Outcomes through Linked Data (BOLD) programme, supported by over £1m of funding secured from HM Treasury, BOLD will consider themes including the effectiveness of substance misuse treatment, intergenerational substance misuse and reducing reoffending with the aim of demonstrating how linked data can generate insights and learning which help us prevent harm in practice.

BOLD supports the Welsh Government’s broader vision for community safety in Wales – an approach which is trauma-informed, evidence-based and delivered in partnership across sectors. Embedding evidence-based approaches across organisations and partnerships, can prevent criminality in areas ranging from anti-social behaviour through to Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence. Much of this comes down to confidence in data use and data sharing.

Dr Emma Gordon, Director of ADR UK, said: “It is fantastic to see the ADR Wales programme of work receive well-deserved praise from the Welsh Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt. ADR Wales has a longstanding approach of bringing together experts across academia and Welsh Government to support best practices in data linkage, research, and decision making. Its large portfolio of cutting-edge analysis, research excellence, and policy impact – as highlighted by the Minister – shows that this approach is working.

“We look forward to working further with Welsh Government to ramp up these efforts and pursue the Minister’s vision of ambitious data sharing for the public good.”

ADR Wales is helping to build confidence in using and safely sharing data through services such as the SAIL Databank. SAIL brings together information from a range of sources in a secure, de-identified and linkable format, supporting new research and insights whilst ensuring individual people cannot be identified.

You can browse administrative data available for research, including some of the datasets held within SAIL, on the new ADR UK Data Catalogue.