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This module will explain the environment in which research using the LS is carried out, will illustrate the different types of output you can request from the LS, and will show you some examples of these outputs.

By 'environment' we mean both the legal and regulatory arrangements for access to the LS, and also the physical arrangements for those who choose to visit the VML Lab at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to work on data there.

The reason for these conditions is the paramount need to protect the confidentiality of LS data, i.e. to guard against any possibility that the identity or date of birth of LS members might be discovered from LS data.

After completing this module you will be able to:

  • decide whether you are likely to want to visit the Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML) at ONS (this decision is not binding and can be changed during the project)
  • Select the appropriate type of output for your research needs
  • Formulate a request to ONS for the release of LS data that will meet the conditions imposed by the need for confidentiality
  • Combine data from other sources with the data you receive from the LS

Completion of this module is recommended for all LS users. It is mandatory for those who wish to visit the VML Lab as is also attendance at a half day "Safe Researcher Certification" training course, which is run regularly by both the VML and Secure Data Service (SDS) teams around the country.