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Our evaluation data archive

Frequently asked questions

Why do you need to collect and store personal data?

Right now, we just don’t know enough about the policies, programmes and approaches that successfully protect children from becoming involved in crime. To ensure children get the best possible chance of a life free from violence, we need to make sure they’re getting the right support at the right time. To do that, we need to gather evidence so that we can understand what does – and doesn’t – work.

That’s why we’re using our £200 million, ten-year endowment to fund projects we can learn from. To make sure we can understand what’s helping, we’ll need to collect and store data so that we can follow on children’s progress in the future.

In building and sharing this knowledge together, we’ll help people in power make good decisions based on evidence. That means we won’t just be providing short-term funding. We’ll be using what we know to make lasting and sustainable change.


How will you keep data safe?

To find out what works, we’ll need to collect and store some highly sensitive data for a long time. We are absolutely committed to making sure that we’re keeping it safe, from the point the data is collected, to when it’s accessed by future researchers.

Working with our Evaluator Panel, the Office of National Statistics, the Department for Education and our legal team, we’ve designed a system that means that all data collected as part of a Youth Endowment Fund evaluation will be as secure as possible.

This will include a process to ‘pseudonymise’ the data collected from our trials. This will make it impossible for anybody accessing the data once it’s been stored to identify the children on whom data is held. To do this, the Department for Education will receive the data collected from our projects when they end and will replace anything that could directly identify a child (like names or dates-of-birth, addresses etc.) with a unique reference. Once identifying information has been replaced with the unique reference, the Department for Education will send the data to the Office of National Statistics, where it’ll be held in a secure archive.

The Youth Endowment Fund will become legally reasonable for what happens to the data and how it’s protected, once the projects have finished. We will never allow the data in the archive to be re-identified and the Department for Education would never facilitate this.


What sort of data will you collect and store?

Working with our grantees and evaluators, we’ll collect and store personal information on the children in our projects and hold it securely. The sorts of information we will collect includes:

  • Identifying data such as names, date-of-births, addresses. This will only be used for the purposes of ‘pseudonymisation’ and no one accessing our archive will be able to see this information.
  • Information on the intervention received, such as the date and timing of the activity and the number of sessions attended.
  • Characteristic and background information on children, their families and homelife.
  • Information on children’s behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings.

Some of the data we collect will be particularly sensitive. This may include ‘special characteristic’ information, such as ethnicity. We may also collect information on the offending histories of young people, their families, and peers.

As we’ve outlined above, we’re taking lots of steps to make sure that this will be held securely and can’t be used to identify individual children.


How will you measure the long-term impact of your activity?

Using the unique references added to the data by the Department for Education, it will be possible to link the records held in the Youth Endowment Fund archive to other government datasets. This will include the Department for Education’s National Pupil Database (which includes information about things like school exclusions and children’s academic performance) and criminal justice information from the Police National Computer.

This means we’ll be able to find out the long-term impact of the projects we fund. That’s because we’ll be able to see, for example, whether being part of a programme reduces a child’s likelihood of being excluded or becoming involved in criminal activity.


Who will be able to access the data?

The only people who will be able to access the data will be researchers who have been approved by the Office for National Statistics to conduct research within their Secure Research Service. This approvals process includes demonstrating they have the skills and experience to analyse the data held in the archive. They will be trained in how to work safely within the Office for National Statistics environment and how to make their outputs safe so that they can be published.

All researchers requesting access to our data must demonstrate that that the learning from it will benefit society.


How will researchers be able to access the data? And how will the Office of National Statistics keep it safe?

Researchers will only be able to access the data stored in the Office of National Statistics’ Secure Research Service, where directly identifying data (such as names, dates-of-birth, addresses) will have been removed.

All data accessed through the Secure Research Service will comply with the Office for National Statistics ‘Five Safes’ framework, which you can read about here.

In short, the ‘Five Safes’ make sure that:

  • only researchers with the skills and expertise to analysis the data are able to access it
  • only approved projects that are being conducted for the benefit of society and have been approved by ethics committees can go ahead
  • technology will make sure that the data is kept safe, by tracking and monitoring researchers’ activity will be tracked and monitored
  • all the data will be checked to make sure no one can be identified from the data
  • only data that uses references (and does not contain identifying information) can be analysed.

How long will you hold it for?

Our fund is here to make sure that we can make lasting change. That means we’ll need to follow the children who take part in the projects we fund over a long period of time. We’ll do this to understand which of the things we fund has a lasting impact at reducing crime and violence.

This means we have not set a specific limit on how long we will store children’s data. However, every five years we’ll carry out a review to make sure that continuing to store personal data is useful. We’ll keep checking that keeping the data still has the potential to help us learn more about how best to support children and young people. If it doesn’t, we’ll delete it.


Will the YEF use the data to contact or follow-up with participants in the future, after they have left a project?

No. The data held in our archive will only be used to conduct research and cannot be used to contact or follow-up with those who have taken part in our projects.

The projects we fund (and their evaluation partners) may keep information on participants to contact them again in the future. If that’s the case, they should let you know that they’re storing data for this purpose.


Does your funding from the Home Office mean that the data stored in your archive could be used to take legal action against them (e.g. immigration enforcement?)

No. Because the data is ‘pseudonymised’ it means the identities of individual children won’t be known to anyone accessing the data in the archive. The approvals required to access the data mean no one would be granted access for the purpose of identifying individuals, even if data was identifiable (which it won’t be).

Laws also prevent organisations, including the Home Office, from accessing our data for the purpose of targeting individuals. We would never grant access to anyone to do this.


What happens if I decide I do not want my data to be stored in the archive?

The decision to take part in one of our evaluations is one important way you could help us to improve our understanding about what works to prevent children from becoming involved in violence. It’s also absolutely your choice. That means that, if you tell us you don’t want to take part, your data won’t be stored in the archive.

Before a project begins, the evaluator will explain how the evaluation will work and what will happen to your data. They’ll then give you the option to opt out of the evaluation and to having your data archived.

Unfortunately, for most participants, if you decide you don’t want to take part in the evaluation or have your data included in our archive, then you won’t be able to take part in the project. To find out what works, we need to make sure every child who took part in the intervention is part of the evaluation. If we don’t, it will affect the reliability of the results. The evaluator of your project will let you know whether this applies to you at the start. If you do decide to opt out, then you’ll still be able to receive other services that are available in your area.


What rights do the children and young people you hold data on have? Who do they get in touch with to find out about this?

The children and young people we hold data on have the right to ask to see it. They also have the right to ask us to correct any data we hold about them that’s incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate.

In certain circumstances, they’ll also have the right to:

  • ask us to erase their personal data, where there’s no good reason for us continuing to hold it
  • object to us using their personal data for public interest purposes
  • ask us to restrict or suspend the use of their personal information, for example, if they want us to establish its accuracy or our reasons for using it.

You can contact us about this at hello@youthendommentfund.org.uk. You also have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights. Find out how here.


Where can I find out more about how data will be handled during Youth Endowment Fund projects?

Alongside these FAQs, our privacy notice gives you more information about how we’ll collect, store and use children’s data.


I’m thinking about applying for a grant. How will you help me to make sure I’m collecting the right data and it’s safely stored?

All projects we fund will be paired with an independent evaluator. It will be your evaluator’s responsibility to make sure the right data is collected and securely stored as part of our projects. Successful applicants will need to work with their evaluators to make sure they can collect the right data on the children who take part in their projects.

Alongside these FAQs, you can read our our technical guidance on data collection. This will help you understand the data that projects will need to collect on the children and young people who participate in their projects.


I’m a Youth Endowment Fund evaluation partner. How will you help me to make sure I’m collecting the right data and it’s safely stored?

Alongside these FAQs, you can read our technical guidance on data collection. This will help you understand the data you’ll need to work with grantees to collect from children and young people.


Where else can I find information about your archive and data sharing?

Alongside these FAQs, our privacy notice and our technical guidance on data collection for projects, you can read our Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).

The DPIA is a requirement from the Information Commissioner’s Office. It explains how we’ve reduced the risks associated with our data sharing.


Where can I find more information about information rights?

The Information Commissioner’s Office has lots of useful guidance on information rights and the law.

© 2021 The Youth Endowment Fund Charitable Trust. Registered Charity Number: 1185413.
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