More information for parents, carers or other involved adults about how data is being linked to the survey answers and what measures we take to protect personal information.

What is data linkage?

Data linkage is the secure process of adding together different types of information about individuals from different sources. It keeps all personal information safe and confidential.

Why are we linking data?

Linking the wellbeing survey’s anonymous responses with other local information sources will help Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) to plan the right services for children and their families so that they are meeting children’s needs as quickly as possible.

How do we make sure that the data linkage is carried out safely and securely?

All data transferred to and from Ipsos MORI, ScotCen, National Records of Scotland (NRS) and eDRIS will be done via secure File Transfer Protocol. Ipsos MORI, ScotCen and eDRIS practice conforms with the information security management standard ISO27001.

NRS, which does not have access to sensitive data, employs stringent data security standards by using appropriate operational and technological processes to keep the linkage key safe from unauthorised use or access, alteration, transmission, publication, loss, destruction, theft or disclosure.

RCS works with Scotland’s leading body for overseeing data linkage – electronic Data Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS). eDRIS will match survey results collected by the contractors (Ipsos MORI and ScotCen) with the administrative information provided by the local authority.
eRDIS will ask NRS to provide the “linkage key” – the generation of anonymous identities for use with the separate data sources. This works alongside a unique identity that will be used to deliver the survey and generate the local authority administration information.

An automated process will connect all the data sources using the linkage key.

At no point will NRS hold any of the administrative or survey data, and at no point will eDRIS have access to the original survey identifiers. NRS provides eRDIS with the linkage keys which allow it to connect up the data as a new single information source.
This final source will be made available to ScotCen and Ipsos MORI, which analyse the combined data to see how local services can best meet the needs of children and families.

What will data linkage deliver?

The purpose of the data linkage is to develop a single information source which provides evidence of how current services meet the needs of local children and young people. This improved understanding of children’s needs, and the level of support that they and their families, receive supports more effective strategic planning of children’s services.

What data will be linked?

The following details will be linked safely and securely to the anonymised survey responses:

  • Type of Additional Support Need
  • Free school meals
  • In receipt of children’s services
  • Looked after status
  • Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)
  • Urban/Rural classification
  • Local geography

If a child did not take part in the survey (because the parent did not provide permission; the child did not wish to take part or because the child was not at school when the survey took place) this data will not be shared by the local authority for analysis. No health data is being linked.

Who is involved in the data linkage and analysis?

Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) commission the RCS programme. CPPs include the local authority.

The survey contractors are: ScotCen and Ipsos MORI

The organisations involved in the process of linking data are the electronic Data Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS) and National Records of Scotland (NRS).

The data is linked safety and securely to protect children’s identities.

What is the Realigning Children’s Services Programme?

The RCS programme seeks to support local improvement in joint strategic commissioning, focusing on evidence collection and analysis and strengthening partnership working across children’s services – from statutory services to voluntary and independent providers of services to children and families themselves.

Until now, evidence for planning purposes has tended to focus on a count of children with particular issues. The number of children counted “in” depends largely on locally held thresholds for access to services and the correct identification of need by practitioners.

The RCS evidence programme enables information from children themselves on their wellbeing and needs to be linked with local authority management information on children services. This will help to assess how current services are meeting the need of local children and families, and provide information for future improvements.

Implications and consequences of not linking data

Without data linkage in RCS, the local authority and its partners would not have evidence to assess whether local children are being provided with the right services. The survey results on their own will provide information about the needs and strengths of local children, but without the data linkage it would not be possible to say whether services are reaching children with needs – crucial information when commissioning local children’s services.