Service promise

Our commitment to you

The UK Data Service strives to provide the highest possible level of service. We endeavour to maintain the highest standards to ensure that the value of the economic and social data we hold can be maximised by all service users. We recognise the significance of our role in your work and how a reliable service delivered by people you can trust and work well with is vital. Everybody at the UK Data Service understands that the work we do each day has a direct impact on data-related research and policy.


We aim to provide access to download or browse data as quickly as possible, where access conditions permit.

All data owners that deposit data with The UK Data Service are external to our organisation and may have set additional access requirements to their data. For those data which are not immediately downloadable, the UK Data Service will provide access or a comprehensive explanation. Registration to use our data will be a smooth process, with a clear explanation of any requirements that must be fulfilled to gain access to the data. If you are not eligible to access data you will be told why.


Services provided on our websites aim to be well laid out, enabling you to identify available resources, directing you to the resources you need or to the people who can provide you with access to such resources.

We are committed to following agreed best standards and good practice in web design and usability.

Our digital services are maintained and updated to comply with the latest accessibility legislation for public sector websites. The accessibility statement, sets out our standards on accessibility. If you have additional accessibility requirements, please contact Fiona Lemon at comms@ukdat

Customer support

We aim to provide information and services in a clear and concise manner, avoiding unnecessary jargon or technical language wherever possible. We provide user support in the form of an email help desk and telephone help line. Our helpdesks are available from 9am – 5pm on working days when the University of Essex is open. Any known closures within these hours will be well advertised in advance.

All queries submitted online to our helpdesks will receive an automated acknowledgement. A member of staff will then respond in a time appropriate to the level of detail of your query. Please note that specialised queries will take longer to answer than those that are more straightforward, and during busy periods we may take longer than usual to respond.

All interactions with our users will be conducted with friendly professionalism.

Security and availability

Under the Data Protection Act (2017) we have a legal duty to protect any information we collect from service users. Our privacy policy relates to personal data collected in the course of registration for access to services and during user consultations.

We endeavour to keep our websites available 24/7, using automated monitoring systems. Our scheduled downtimes are advertised at least two weeks in advance and usually much earlier.

Essential maintenance work is carried out on the whole service during the JANET at-risk period between 7:00 and 9:00 on Tuesdays. Essential Secure Lab maintenance work is carried between 10:00 and 12:00 on Tuesdays. This work allows us to maintain and enhance the many services we provide. We aim to keep all our services available during this work; however, some of our services may be unavailable during our advertised at-risk periods. If this is the case, we will notify users.

Are we fulfilling our promise?

We report our performance measured against key performance indicators to our funders on a regular basis. Every month, we also review the responses to our pop-up user satisfaction survey and we conduct further user and stakeholder consultations at other intervals. We review feedback and build actions into continuous improvement programmes across the service.

We are always pleased to know when we have got things right and especially if any member of staff has provided an excellent service. This helps us to understand users’ views and to reinforce best practice. To provide positive feedback you can either contact the member of staff you have dealt with directly or email

We appreciate feedback on all aspects of our service. Please use this contact email to leave your suggestions for improvement.


If you are not satisfied with our service and wish to make a complaint, please contact us and we will direct the complaint to the appropriate person.

In dealing with your complaint we will:

  • ensure that your complaint is dealt with confidentially and that your privacy is respected, however it may be necessary to pass on details of your complaint so we can resolve it.
  • focus on ‘early resolution’

We ask that you:

  • submit any complaints as soon as possible after any events or actions that have prompted them
  • make the complaint in writing and provide as many details as possible
  • act reasonably and fairly with our staff who are involved in the complaints process

For more detail on how the Data Archive will manage your complaint, please refer to the UK Data Archive Complaints procedure.

If your complaint relates to an activity or service that is run through one of our host organisations, it will be dealt with according to the relevant host organisation’s complaints procedures.