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Working in the VML Lab

To visit the VML Lab, you will need to liaise with your User Support Officer first to discuss dates when s/he is available. You will then need to book a work station; they are limited in number so you are advised to check availability before booking any travel tickets. The lab is open from 9.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday; you should report to Reception at 1 Drummond Gate, Pimlico, London SW1V 2QQ. Local map.

Before visiting the lab you must have worked through this Training Module; you will also be asked to sign a Declaration of Confidentiality. You must also have attended 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. The VML provides secure access to data; you will therefore not have access to the internet, email or printers in the VML Lab.

Your User Support Officer will need to create a dataset for you and make arrangements for a login and password. You will also be provided with a computer space where you can save your work. If you wish to use a software programme other than STATA, SPSS or SAS it will be necessary to make sure this is possible in the VML Lab. If you wish to attach data to the LS, eg geographical or environmental information, you will also need to discuss this before coming in.

You will not be able to receive or take away from the VML Lab any outputs which have not been checked for disclosure control by a User Support Officer. Outputs will normally be sent electronically by email as explained in the Step-by-step guide to using the LS (section 10).

VML rules

  • you should not write down anything from the screen
  • you are not allowed to use a laptop or personal organiser in the VML Lab
  • you should not attempt to remove any confidential data
  • you should not try to identify individuals or households in the dataset
  • you should not try and use the data in a way you are not authorised to do
  • you cannot use memory sticks or disks
  • mobile phones must be switched OFF when the red light in the VML is on.

A warning: you will be asked to leave the VML immediately if you are suspected of breaking any of the VML rules. The VML operates a strict liability policy, and disobeying any of the above will be treated as a deliberate action. In addition, attempting to remove confidential data is a personal criminal offence.