Opening access to administrative data for evaluating public services: the case of the Justice Data Lab

Lyon, Fergus ORCID:, Gyateng, Tracey, Pritchard, David, Vaze, Prabhat, Vickers, Ian ORCID: and Webb, Nicola (2015) Opening access to administrative data for evaluating public services: the case of the Justice Data Lab. Evaluation, 21 (2) . pp. 232-247. ISSN 1356-3890 [Article] (doi:10.1177/1356389015577507)

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As government administrative data sets are increasingly made available for new (non-administrative) purposes, there is a need to improve access to such resources for voluntary and community organizations, social enterprises and private businesses for statistical analysis and evaluation purposes. The Justice Data Lab set up by the Ministry of Justice in the UK presents an innovative case of how administrative data can be linked to other data held by organizations delivering public services. The establishment of a unit within a secure setting holding evaluation and statistical expertise has enabled providers of programmes aimed at reducing re-offending to obtain evidence on how the impact of their interventions differs from that of a matched comparison group. This article explores the development of the Justice Data Lab, the methodological and other challenges faced, and the experiences of user organizations. The article draws out implications for future development of Data Labs and the use of administrative data for the evaluation of public services.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR)
Item ID: 15949
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2015.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
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Depositing User: Pamela Macaulay
Date Deposited: 13 May 2015 14:32
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2021 12:28

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