Safe Haven Services

Scotland has a number of trusted research environments for accessing data.

A Trusted Research Environment

There are four regional safe havens dealing with local data health data and a national safe haven for all Scottish national health data. These are located throughout Scotland in:

• Aberdeen
• Dundee
• Edinburgh
• Glasgow

National Safe Haven

The National Safe Haven is one of a number of trusted research environments in Scotland with IT infrastructure provided by EPCC. For specific details on the software available, licencing requirements and how to get data into and out of the National Safe Haven, please click here.
Regional Safe Havens
The regional safe havens offer access to local regional data, more details of the services on offer are available at their websites:

Health Informatics Centre (HIC) - NHS Tayside/University of Dundee, includes NHS Fife and NHS Forth Valley data
DataLoch - NHS Lothian/University of Edinburgh
Glasgow Safe Haven - NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde/University of Glasgow
Grampian Data Safe Haven (DaSH) - NHS Grampian and University of Aberdeen

Remote access to Safe Havens

In some cases, data controllers may allow the researchers remote access to the data. This will be via a VPN (virtual private network). For more details on remote access please contact the eDRIS support team or relevant safe haven.

Accessing Safe Havens via safe settings

A data controller may require that their data is only accessed through a secure access point to ensure data security. A secure access point is a dedicated computer in a physically secure area where no external devices can be used or connected. The location of the secure access points may depend on the data you wish to access. Please contact the relevant safe haven to book a session.

Approvals for accessing data in a Safe Haven

Depending on the data to be hosted there may be a variety of approvals required including but not limited to:

• Health and Social Care PBPP
• Statistics PBPP
• Local Authority
• Approval by a single Scottish Health Board
• Data Controller of UK Audit dataset

This will be provided as either an approval letter or a Data Sharing Agreement clearly stating the Data Controller is willing to share the data with the researcher.


Evidence will need to be provided that there is sufficient funding to pay for the safe haven support 

Next steps

Before agreeing to host the data, an assessment will be made that it is data that can be reasonably hosted in the safe haven. 
If the data is suitable to be hosted, then the following will need to be provided:

• a controller/ processor agreement or eDRIS Customer Contract between the researcher’s employing institution and PHS 
• evidence of current IG training for all researchers accessing the data
• signed user agreements for all researchers accessing the data

Please note that as a condition of hosting the data Statistical Disclosure Control (SDC) will be performed on any outputs prior to release (see our guide for users and the PHS SDC protocol). To discuss your hosting requirements in more detail please contact or the relevant safe haven.

User support

A range of technical support for users of the safe havens including:

• Login help and password resets
• Safe Haven performance issues
• Data storage issues
• Providing advanced notice of planned maintenance
• Overseeing researcher visits to the safe settings rooms 
• Other day to day support and guidance

Analytical support

The analyst team have extensive experience in data analysis and this can be used to help you analyse your data. To discuss details of the analytical support available please contact RDS at