MoJ/ADR UK Data First Programme Academic Lead

Lead Research Organisation: Nottingham Trent University
Department Name: Sch of Social Sciences

Abstract

The Data First programme is a Ministry of Justice (MoJ)-led investment funded by Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK), part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This is a ground-breaking and pioneering new programme that will have a real impact on evidence across justice and beyond, and will allow for key lessons of experience to be cascaded nationally. This ambitious programme will help us to better understand and support our justice system users by improving and linking internal and external administrative data, making this available to analysts both in government and across academia, to enable and promote research in this field. The programme covers civil, family and criminal justice as well as emerging links to administrative data held by other government departments. Overall, the aims of this programme are to:
1. Improve administrative data flows and internal and external data linking
2. Strengthen MoJ's strategic research capabilities by facilitating research by external academics and researchers
3. Provide external academics with a sustainable and secure way to access relevant anonymised research-ready linked data extracts
This programme will include the commissioning of specific pieces of strategic research in line with our MoJ Areas of Research Interest and Evidence Strategy.
Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) is one of The Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) most important investments. ADR UK aims to facilitate the linking of data held by different parts of government, and enable safe and secure access for accredited researchers to these newly joined-up datasets. These datasets will form a sustainable and rich resource, enabling more nuanced and insightful research, and ultimately informing public policy and impacting lives across the UK. By linking data, we can unearth hidden patterns and trends that allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the invisible mechanisms that underpin our society. The Ministry of Justice's (MoJ) Data First Programme is one of the first strategically important programmes for ADR UK driven by a Westminster government department. The MoJ Data First research partnership aims to create linked datasets that will enable crucial research into the justice system. ADR UK is working with the MoJ to fund methodological work linking administrative data outputs across a broad range of justice services. By linking data from civil justice, family justice, the Crown Court and magistrates' court, we aim to create a justice-wide data inventory, enabling researchers to build a better understanding of users of the criminal, civil and family justice systems. This will provide new insights into, for example, the extent to which people facing civil and family problems also interact with the criminal justice system. The project has huge potential to shape our understanding of justice system users, understand what policies are effective, and improve services.

Planned Impact

The MoJ/ADR Data First Programme will assist understanding and supporting our justice system users by linking and improving MoJ data, carrying out quantitative and qualitative research on these data sets to fill key evidence gaps and making anonymised data available to academics for external research. It will offer unique insights about the users of the criminal, civil and family justice systems; who they are; how frequently they use our services; how they interact with broader public services across Government; with the aim of improving (and/or reducing) their interactions with the justice system and other public services. In order to further our understanding of this cohort, MoJ would also like to improve its data flows and internal and external (for example, with data from PHE, HMRC, the DfE and DWP) data linking, strengthen strategic research capabilities and enable more and better external research by involving academics and providing them with a sustainable and safe way in which they can access relevant anonymised data extracts.

This bid will enhance the available skills around data mapping, flows and linkage, making MoJ data more usable and connected to understand user interactions with justice & Government services (user journeys). It will support with resource to pursue additional external shares, giving the capacity to drive them forward in parallel, and in making the data ready and available for academics and other analysts across government to explore. In addition, specific pieces of strategic research on the anonymised datasets would be commissioned in line with MoJ Evidence Strategy. We envisage academics adding value in terms of adding analytical skills and expertise, particularly understanding 'what works', causality and robust methods of evaluation.

The bid will allow the creation of a pool of both quantitative and qualitative analysts to carry out data science, statistical analyses and research on the data supervised by a leading academic with knowledge and expertise of justice issues. This work will allow filling many evidence gaps, thus improving the evidence base for public policy decision making and delivery. For example, we will increase our knowledge base for reducing re-offending. As broader data shares are created we will increase the evidence base about the cohort of users of cross government services with multiple complex needs.

By providing an evidence base for public policy decision-making; for public service delivery for decisions which are likely to significantly benefit the UK, economy, society or quality of life of people in the UK; for improving Official Statistics; expanding existing research; significantly extending understanding of social or economic trends or events by improving knowledge; and improving the quality, coverage or presentation of existing statistical information The MoJ/ADR Data Frist Programme will benefit the following stakeholders: The public; Justice system's users and their families and social networks; Charitable organisations working with these users; Government departments involved; The courts and the criminal justice system (police, judiciary, probation and prison) and those working in these domains; The UK economy; and The UK society (current and future generations) at large.
 
Description A series of MoJ administrative linked datasets and respective user guides have been made available to the research community as well as research funding for Research Fellowships to analyse these datasets.

The Data First project has been promoted via a large number of engagement, communicaton and dissemination activities to the research - academic and other - community with opportunities to feed back into research/ evidence needs that would further enhance MoJ and other governemnt departments data shares.
Exploitation Route The MoJ/ADR Data First Programme assist in understanding and supporting our justice system users by linking and improving our data, carrying out quantitative and qualitative research on these datasets to fill key evidence gaps and making anonymised data available to academics for external research. It offers unique insights about the users of the criminal, civil and family justice systems; who they are; how frequently they use our services; how they interact with broader public services across Government; with the aim of improving (and/or reducing) their interactions with the justice system and other public services. In order to further our understanding of this cohort, MoJ would also like to improve its data flows and internal and external (for example, with data from PHE, HMRC, the DfE and DWP) data linking, strengthen strategic research capabilities and enable more and better external research by involving academics and providing them with a sustainable and safe way in which they can access relevant anonymised data extracts.

The Data First project, including my contribution via this award, enhances the available skills around data mapping, flows and linkage, making MoJ data more usable and connected to understand user interactions with justice & Government services (user journeys). It supports with resource to pursue additional external shares, giving the capacity to drive them forward in parallel, and in making the data ready and available for academics and other analysts across government to explore. In future, specific pieces of strategic research on the anonymised datasets will be commissioned in line with MoJ Evidence Strategy. The ambition is that academics will add value in terms of adding analytical skills and expertise, particularly understanding 'what works', causality and robust methods of evaluation.

This work will allow filling many evidence gaps, thus improving the evidence base for public policy decision making and delivery, for example, increase our knowledge base for reducing re-offending. As broader data shares are created the evidence base about the cohort of users of cross government services with multiple complex needs will increase.

By providing an evidence base for public policy decision-making; for public service delivery for decisions which are likely to significantly benefit the UK, economy, society or quality of life of people in the UK; for improving Official Statistics; expanding existing research; significantly extending understanding of social or economic trends or events by improving knowledge; and improving the quality, coverage or presentation of existing statistical information The MoJ/ADR Data Frist Programme will benefit the following stakeholders: The public; Justice system's users and their families and social networks; Charitable organisations working with these users; Government departments involved; The courts and the criminal justice system (police, judiciary, probation and prison) and those working in these domains; The UK economy; and The UK society (current and future generations) at large.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description The award is a secondment to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to work on the Data First project, funded by the ADR UK (which is funded by the ESRC). As such, its main focus relates to making research-ready datasets available to government and non-government (including academic) researchers for analysis in an ethical way. Therefore "the findings" of this award relate to: 1) understanding data sharing concerns, MoJ evidence gaps, data availability, data quality, data linkages, and research feasibility; and, 2) enhancing the use of the Data First datasets via supporting: (a) MoJ and the judiciary - data owners; (b) the ADR UK programme of Data First research fellowships; (c) researchers in developing their ideas, understanding the datasets and disseminating their findings, and working with justice users for practical societal impact of their research; and (d) justice users in influencing Data First research and gleaning out the policy and practical implications of findings. Unlike traditional research projects the intended impact audience /stakeholders of this particular award, which aims to promote administrative data usage as well as develop demand for linked justice datasets, originally were academic researchers (see also last paragraph herein). However, in the period since the project's inception my role has developed to encompass working with all teams in the chain of "research-ready MoJ data-based independent analyses to inform policy and improve lives": government and the judiciary data owners and analysts, including the MoJ 's Data Access Panel (DAP), research funders, DEA-approved data processors, government and academic social researchers and data linking experts, and justice users. The last group is represented by the User Representation Panel (URP), with membership corresponding to the diverse needs of different justice system user groups. I have closely collaborated with MoJ Data First team members and more broadly members of the MoJ Data and Analytical Services Directorate to: highlight policy evidence gaps that can be addressed via analyses of the Data First datasets; align MoJ policy and academics' evidence needs, support and feasible by both parties timescales; and promote Data First datasets and their policy-informing research potential to researchers (see later paragraph on academic engagement), policy analysts, and justice users. As a member of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) interim Senior Data Governance Panel (SDGP) - an expert advisory group that provides expert and independent advice to HMCTS on the governance of courts and tribunals data, applications for accessing data held by HMCTS and related issues - I support Data First data access applications and report ESRC - funded Data First Research Fellowships' findings back to the SGDP. I also contribute to the panel's (monthly in 2020/2021 and every two months in 2021/2022) wider discussions on courts' data access, conditions, and to what purpose outside the Data First sphere. I have supported the development and commissioning of (a suite of) ESRC Data First Research Fellowships. The ADR UK ESRC Data First Research Fellowships aim to support excellent research with immediate impact to fill MoJ evidence gaps and improve outcomes for justice users. As a member of the Organising Committee, I have contributed to the setting up of co-ordinated activities for launching the calls and related documents (over a series of weekly meetings) and co-organised applicant workshops (to date ADR UK MoJ Criminal Courts and MoJ-DfE linked dataset Data First Research Fellowship applicant webinars 18 Sept. 2020 and 16 Feb. 2021, respectively, and two forthcoming ones on: linked criminal justice data; and family justice with cafcass data). As Chair of the Commissioning Panel of the first ADR UK Research Fellowship MoJ Data First call on Magistrates' and Crown Court Data (2020) I contributed to the commissioning of the initial pool of Data First Research Fellowships on Data First: Magistrates' and Crown Court Data. Most importantly I instigated the Data Explained briefs for public dissemination - and, if required, expanded Data Explained reports within the ONS SRS - of data issues encountered during the Data First Research Fellowships projects. The aim of this set of outputs is twofold: to record data limitations and users' / researchers' recommendations for improving administrative data recording and quality; to create a knowledge base for future users (Accredited Researchers working on approved projects or planning their project applications) of the Data First datasets. Following the award of Data First Research Fellowships, as Academic Lead I review all (nine to date) Data First Research Fellowships' emerging findings prior to public dissemination and work with Research Fellows and MoJ's Data Access Panel members to ensure findings are presented in an ethical manner. I have also undertaken a large number of engagement activities to promote awareness of the Data First project datasets and available research support (Data First Research Fellowships) to date, including: organising and presenting at four MoJ Data First academic seminars and organising and chairing the fifth one - first in person - on 9th March at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham which was attended in person by participants across the country (in addition to online participation); blogs; workshops to post-graduate students; workshops to members of learned societies and their Early Career Researchers networks; conference presentations; learned societies' newsletter entries; academic networks' notifications and workshops; and other Data First - related awareness activities. Over the course of the award, I have also engaged with multiple academics, PhD candidates, and research groups to explore the feasibility of their research ideas with current and planned Data First datasets. In order to expand the reach and instil interest in future generations of crime and justice researchers and analysts, I included ADR UK's work and the Data First datasets in a recent textbook (by Davies and Rowe (eds.) An Introduction to Criminology, SAGE Publishing) chapter (Chapter 4, pp. 57-75) on "Tool of the Trade: Crime, Survey and Big Data" (Tseloni and Duncan, 2022). I have collaborated (via overseeing and co-authoring) in MoJ-led analysis of shared Data First datasets for publication; and have contributed to MoJ - led Data First outputs, including regularly updated User Guides, Data Catalogues, Metadata, and a forthcoming Data First report on "Returning defendants and the potential of linked criminal courts data" (Jackson et al., 2022). As part of my contribution to MoJ Data First internal and external research and based on the evidence gaps for future research identified in the Jackson et al. (2022) study, I have also developed a series of suggestions for Data First research projects and policy evaluations that can be supported by linked MoJ data. These suggestions have been forwarded to the forthcoming Evaluation Taskforce Fund. In addition, I have contributed to MoJ Data First Academic Advisory Group (AAG) and User Representation Panel (URP) respective membership refreshes, regular meetings and discussions, most notably contributing to foster a dialogue and collaboration between data owners, data processors, social researchers and justice users to ensure that insights from research findings lead to tangible, real world improvements to the experiences and outcomes of justice users. This has directly informed ADR UK thinking of engaging users with Data First and other ADR UK-funded research fellowships beyond justice data. More recently, I have contributed to the ADR UK Training and Capacity Building Task and Finish panel. The above work is ongoing with an (extended) end date June 2022. The intended and targeted audiences reported as Other in the list of detailed impact outcomes of this submission refer to Academics (a group missing from the available selection list within Researchfish submission but, as explained here, at the heart of the work of the present ESRC award).
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description ADR UK ESRC DATA FIRST Research Fellowships Organising Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The ADR UK ESRC DATA FIRST Research Fellowships aim to support excellent research with immediate impact to fill MoJ evidence gaps and improve outcomes for justice users. As a member of the Organising Committee I have contributed to the setting up of co-ordinated activities for launching the calls and related documents (weekly meetings) and co-organised the two applicant workshops: ADR UK MoJ Criminal Courts and MoJ-DfE linked dataset Data First Research Fellowship applicant webinars 18 Sept. 2020 and 16 Feb. 2021, respectively. As Chair of the ADR UK Research Fellowship MoJ Data First: Magistrates' and Crown Court Data (2020) Commissioning Panel (meetings 26 Oct., 20 Nov. 2020, 12 and 13 Jan. 2021) I contributed to commissioning of the first set of DATA FIRST Research Fellowships on Data First: Magistrates' and Crown Court Data.
URL https://www.adruk.org/news-publications/events/data-first-research-fellowship-applicant-online-works...
 
Description ADR UK MoJ-DfE linked datasets Research Fellowships Organising Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
URL https://www.adruk.org/news-publications/news-blogs/funding-opportunity-adr-uk-welcomes-applications-...
 
Description Academic member of the Senior Data Governance Panel (SDGP) alongside representatives of the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, and HMCTS. (monthly meetings 2020/21 and every two months 2021/2022) 2021)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact As academic member of the Senior Data Governance Panel (SDGP) alongside representatives of the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, and HMCTS I participate in the discussions and decisions with regards data access requests to MoJ. The SDGR is an expert advisory group to provide expert and independent advice to HMCTS on the governance of courts and tribunals data, applications for accessing data held by HMCTS and related issues. Meetings are held amlost monthly (2 November and 14 Dec. 2020, 1 February and 8 March 2021 to date).
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hmcts-response-and-progress-update-on-dr-natalie-byrom-report
 
Title Data catalogues and data user guides 
Description I contributed with advice (to MoJ social researchers entrusted with their preparation), reviewing and editing of preliminary versions to the MoJ Data First data catalogues and user guides. I have also requested and thus initiated the production (by MoJ Data Scientists) of synthetic (fake) criminal courts datasets to use (as originally envisaged) in demostrations at Data First training workshops. They are also provided to interested researchers as examples of the real (but secure and therefore not accessible without due process) criminal courts datasets. Finally I provided comments on adapting the MoJ data access application forms to fit with the Data First Research Fellowships parameters and conditions. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The user guides, data catalogues and MoJ data access application forms are intergral part of ensouraging and supporting Data First dataset usage by the research community. They based the ESRC ADR UK Data First Research Fellowships calls as well as non-ESRC funded MoJ Data First research applications. 
URL https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ministry-of-justice-data-first
 
Description Chair of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service (SRS) Advisory Group and Member of the ONS SRS Impact Working Group 
Organisation Office for National Statistics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service (SRS) recently established an Advisory Group as well as an Impact Working Group that would work closely with SRS staff and act as a critical friend, offering insight on use of the data and service, challenges, ideas and solutions to help build a strong and collaborative research community.
Collaborator Contribution Data First datasets are accessible to accredited researchers via the ONS SRS. Therefore, as Data First Academic Lead (and also ONS Research Excellence Award Winner 2019) I have been invited to Chair the Advisory Group and work with ONS SRS for the above aims. ONS SRS, as a Data First partner, contributes to setting up the data access processes and service whilst Data First datasets-based research contributes to ONS impact.
Impact None to date except the Data First research fellowships
Start Year 2020
 
Description ADR UK Introducing Professor Andromachi Tseloni, Data First Academic Lead 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ADR UK Blog to foster continuing interest to Data First programme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.adruk.org/news-publications/news-blogs/introducing-professor-andromachi-tseloni-data-fir...
 
Description Academic Advisory Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participation and presentations to Academic Advisory Group Meetings (online) -various dates: 28 February, 17 April, 8 July and 13 October 2020
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Andromachi Tseloni on crime victimisation surveys and a new data linking project with the Ministry of Justice, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement, University of Cambridge blog by Ashley Mehra aimed to increase awareness and invite interest in the Data First programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.humanmovement.cam.ac.uk/blog/andromachi-tseloni-crime-victimisation-surveys-and-new-data...
 
Description Crime Surveys Users Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation to academics (who for the purposes of this award are the intended stakeholders of the project) on "The Data First programme and opportunities for criminological and criminal justice research" at the Crime Surveys Users Conference online 8 December 2020.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description DATA FIRST Academic Quarterly Seminar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Co-organiser, presenter, discussant and participant to a series of DATA FIRST Academic Seminars (aiming to increase awareness of and foster dialogue about academic research and collaboration with MoJ to analyse the Data First datasets) online at various dates: 7th April and 8 July 2020 and 9 March 2021.

Organiser, presenter, chair, discussant and participant to two additional DATA FIRST Academic Seminars (aiming to increase awareness of and foster dialogue about academic research and collaboration with MoJ to analyse the Data First datasets): fourth DATA FIRST Academic Seminar online at 20 October 2021; and the Fifth Data First Academic Seminar on Children, Families and Justice - both in person and online (hybrid) at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham, Wednesday 9 March 2022, 9:30-16:00.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
 
Description DATA FIRST User Representation Panel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Participant and Discussant in the DATA FIRST User Representation Panel (a forum of charitable organisations focussing on justice users needs and protection) meetings. Online. Various dates: 1 December 2020, 10 March 2021, 24 May 2021, 26 July 2021, and 25 January 2022.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
URL https://www.adruk.org/fileadmin/uploads/adruk/Documents/DF-URP-ToR.pdf
 
Description Data Linkage Methods and Quality, Royal Statistical Society (RSS) Social Statistics (Soc.Stats.) Section (online) event. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Co-Organiser and Chair of the Data Linkage Methods and Quality, Royal Statistical Society (RSS) Social Statistics (Soc.Stats.) Section (online) event with about 140 participants on 3 November 2020. My introduction and the opening talk by MoJ Data Scientists promoted the Data First programme to potential dataset users and linkage methods researchers. As mentioned in another entry under this heading academics are the intended impact audience /stakeholders of this particular award which aims to promote dataset usage as well as develop demand for linked justice datasets, unlike traditional research proejcts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://rss.org.uk/training-events/events/events-2020/sections/rss-social-statistics-section-data-li...
 
Description Guest lecture and workshop to MPhil students 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Guest lecture and workshop to MPhil students, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge 12 November on "The Data First programme and opportunities for criminological and criminal justice research."
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Mention of Data First project at the First Annual Crime and Justice Forum. Centre for Crime and Justice. Office for National Statistics. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I was discussant at this event which I uses as an opportunity to mention Data First project - Tseloni, A. (2022) Measuring crime and justice during the pandemic Updates from our key partners in crime and justice statistics. Discussant. Annual Crime and Justice Forum. Centre for Crime and Justice. Office for National Statistics. online 23 Feb.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Raising awareness of the Data First project, datasets and research funding opportunities to Early Career Researchers and post-graduate students 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I have delivered a series of workshops to ECRs and PGs outlines below:

1.Tseloni, A. (2021) "Data First: Harnessing the potential of linked administrative data." Critical Criminology and Social Justice Research Group Seminar, COPE. Online. 19 May. (Attendees: about 30)

2.Tseloni, A. (2021) "Introduction to the Data First programme" and "Criminal courts synthetic datasets workshop." Eastern Arc PhD/ECR Workshop. Online. 11 June. (A:12) also available online for PhD students of the universities consortium to access.

3. Tseloni, A. (2021) "Engaging with government departments, private and voluntary sector organisations in the space of crime prevention and justice." School of Social Sciences Showcase on Impact. Online. 21 June.

4.Tseloni, A. (2021) "The Ministry of Justice Data First project for linking criminal courts' data" White Rose DTP Workshop. Online. 14 June. (A:13) also available online for PhD of the Doctoral Training Centre students to access.

5.Tseloni, A. (2021) "Opportunities for research and the Ministry of Justice Data First project." 'How to research Criminal Justice Agencies: Pre- and post-pandemic experiences and strategies' workshop, University of Liverpool. 30th September. (A: about 30)

6.Tseloni, A. (2021) "The Data First programme and opportunities for criminological and criminal justice research" British Society of Criminology Early Career Researchers Network. 3rd November. (A:17) It is also available online https://www.britsoccrim.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Data-First-BSC-ECRs-workshop_3.11.2021-FINALr-3.pdf

7. Tseloni, A. and D. Ward (2021) "Data First: Harnessing the potential of linked administrative data" Welsh Children's Social Care and Family Justice Data User group. 23rd September.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022