July 2021


Can I continue to access secure ONS and secure non-ONS data through the UK Data Service from home?

Yes, as long as you evidence you meet the data owners additional compulsory criteria, including a new agreement, and the datasets are listed in the relevant pages above.

There are different access criteria and new agreements for a) ONS data and b) non-ONS data agreed with the data providers. Please check carefully to ensure you comply with the correct guidance.


If I want to access data in both the ONS and non-ONS secure dataset lists does it matter which I apply to access first?

Yes. You must apply for ONS secure access first, then non-ONS data afterwards.


How can I apply to access ONS Data from home during the pandemic?

  1. Additional access conditions and list of ONS data
  2. ONS has brought in tighter restrictions and a temporary home working agreement (ONS data), to enable accredited researchers to access selected projects from home using ONS Secure data.

How can I apply to access non-ONS data from home during the pandemic?

  1. Additional conditions and list of non-ONS data for which temporary working from home conditions have been agreed by the data owners.
  2. You will need to meet a number of additional conditions and will need to complete the temporary home working agreement (Non ONS data).

Can I access Secure Lab for non-ONS data from home until I am allowed to return to my work site? 

Yes, as long as all nine additional safe conditions are met and the data owners have permitted that the non-ONS dataset can be accessed from home. These extra measures mitigate against the additional risks posed by researchers working outside their institutional environment and provide assurance to data owners whilst researchers continue to work from home.

You will need to complete an application form and agree to the additional conditions. Please note the following important points:

  • Only submit the application form when you can agree to all of the following conditions in the Secure Access additional agreement: COVID-19 temporary home working (Non-ONS data) 
  • If you have more than one project that you will access from home, please complete this form for each relevant project.
  • Accessing Secure Lab from home without completing and submitting this form will amount to a breach of the licence agreement.
  • Access is still restricted to the UK – accessing Secure Lab from outside of the UK is not permitted and will constitute a breach of the licence agreement, unless very exceptional permission has been granted by the data owner.
  • Do not use this agreement for ONS data, as this requires a different agreement. If your project contains both ONS and non-ONS data, and you intend to access the ONS data from home, you must apply for ONS home-working access and be approved to access the ONS data from home before you complete this non-ONS agreement.
  • You will be screened out of this agreement if you have not completed the steps outlined above for ONS data access: if this happens, please complete the above steps, then clear your browser cache to reattempt completion of this agreement.

What are the 9 additional safe conditions to enable me to securely access non-ONS data?


How long will I be able to access from home?

Following approval from the UK Data Service, you will be able to continue to access the secure data listed in the ONS secure data and non-ONS secure data lists from home, once you start travelling back to your work site, for example, if you are only allowed to visit your office once or twice a week.


What happens if a user breaches the agreement for home-working with ONS secure data access?

Attempting to access your Secure Lab account from a device that is not already registered with us would constitute a breach of the terms and conditions of Secure Lab access and you would be banned from using data provided by the UK Data Service.

Users who breach the agreement will face a ban for a minimum of six months from using any data provided by the UK Data Service.


Will my output be checked?

Yes. The UK Data Service are maintaining all core activities while working from outside of the office. Importantly, we have been liaising with relevant controllers of data within Secure Lab, and have gained approval for our own staff to work remotely, which they would not ordinarily have been able to do. This temporary relaxation of controls means that our staff are able to continue to check outputs.


Will my import request be processed?

Yes. We have been liaising with relevant controllers of data within Secure Lab, and have gained approval for our own staff to work remotely, which they would not ordinarily have been able to do. This temporary relaxation of controls means that our staff are able to continue to process import requests.


Can I access the Safe Room at the UK Data Archive, University of Essex?

No.  Access via the Safe Room at the UK Data Archive is suspended until further notice. We will review the situation every two weeks and let you know when this it to be reopened.


Will my Safe Researcher Training (SRT) still take place?

Yes. Any scheduled face-to-face training (SRT) delivered by the UK Data Service is currently online: we have been delivering SRT online successfully since April 2020. Please book through our events calendar to attend the next convenient online SRT session. More information on our training requirements for Secure Lab access are detailed on our training requirements page.