Access to administrative data for research is a positive public good. The ability to use these records - collected in the course of business by governmental and other bodies - and to link them can greatly enhance the ability to do the research modern society needs. With these linked data researchers can evaluate public policies on everything from tax structures, educational reforms and health service innovations to changes in benefits regimes and the effect on crime. It can help to model economic progress, assess the impact of changing legal and political circumstances and understand societal change over time and place. These data are a rich and greatly under-utilised research resource. Because these data are information about people and businesses collected not for research purposes per se, there are rightly many concerns about how they are used, in what settings, by whom and why.

The purpose of the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) is to facilitate access to this rich research resource while preserving maximal data security and individual confidentiality. The Administrative Data Service (ADS) is a crucial part of ADRN; serving as the public face of the network and the bond which bridges the four national Administrative Data Research Centres (ADRCs).