Our response to COVID-19

We are bringing together expertise, resource and capabilities from a range of existing programmes across the public sector

To support the current public health emergency we are bringing together expertise, resource and capabilities from a range of existing programmes across the public sector including the RDS and ADR Scotland programmes


COVID-19 Data Research Service

A data taskforce, led by Scottish Government, was established to enable evidence-based policy and operational decisions by organisations in Scotland. You can find the minutes from these meetings here.

In June 2020, the data taskforce was replaced by the Scottish COVID-19 Intelligence Network.

By bringing together key datasets in a secure computing environment, researchers will be able to carry out collaborative research and analysis that provides evidence for important COVID-19 related decisions.  

This will be achieved by building on and repurposing a data infrastructure that includes resources, expertise and capabilities offered by service delivery partners and partner organisations, including the Scottish Government, PHS (eDRIS), NRS, EPCC and HDR-UK, alongside accredited facilities, such as the Scottish National Safe Haven and working in partnership with Scottish Universities. 


Protecting Privacy 

After the pandemic is contained, data will be destroyed or transferred to another data holding subject to the appropriate safeguards and governance. 

All NHS data in the COVID-19 data holding will remain under NHS (PHS/NSS) control. All non-NHS data will be handled in line with the law and the strict contractual agreements that are in place between the NHS/NSS and partners.

At the forefront of our response to COVID-19 is ensuring that privacy is maintained and that research is always carried out transparently and in the public interest.

This will include safeguards such as alignment with Scottish Government’s Guiding Principles for Data Linkage, the UK Data Service’s 5 Safes Framework and time-limited solutions that will only apply for the duration of the current public health emergency.

You can read more here about how research is carried out safely and securely.


Guidance for Researchers

•  For access to NHS Scotland health data that supports immediate and future health and care demands relating to our response to COVID-19, researchers can find more information here and get in touch via phs.edris@nhs.net referencing the accompanying guidance

•  For new, bespoke data access requests that are directly COVID-19 related and use only Scottish Government datasets or NRS census data researchers can get in touch via statistics.enquiries@gov.scot referencing the accompanying guidance

•  The Scottish Government also publishes official statistics in over one hundred bulletins each year, most of which are National Statistics. Most bulletins include data that can be downloaded. A 12 month calendar of forthcoming statistical releases is available

•  Public Health Scotland is one of Scotland’s largest producers of official statistics, responsible for collecting and publishing statistics relating to health and social care across Scotland at a national, regional and local level

•  The Scottish Government’s Open Data platform allows access to the data behind The Scottish Government’s official statistics

•  Public Health Scotland’s Health and Social Care Open Data platform gives access to statistics and reference data for information and re-use


Available Data

The following datasets are available to carry out research and analysis to provide evidence for COVID-19 related decisions:

Scottish Government 

Pupil Census – 2007 - 2019

Attendance/Absence from school – 2007 - 2019

Exclusions from school – 2007 - 2019

School exam qualifications – 2007 - 2019

School leaver destinations – 2007 - 2019

Children Looked After Survey – 2009 - 2019

Census 2011 (selected variables) 

Public Health Scotland

COVID-19 Research Database can be found here


In Collaboration With

•  The Scottish Government

•  Public Health Scotland

•  The Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research

•  National Records of Scotland


•  ADR UK 

•  Grampian, Tayside, Lothian and Glasgow Regional Safe Havens 


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