Five Safes

In the CADRE project the core aims are to operationalise the Five Safes framework and establish a shared and distributed sensitive data access management platform for the social sciences and related disciplines.

The Five Safes framework emerged in 2002 out of a need to describe a virtual security model for the UK Office for National Statistics. The Five Safes are:

Safe DataSafe ProjectsSafe PeopleSafe OutputsSafe Settings

The framework has informed the development of the Data Availability and Transparency Act by the Office of the National Data Commissioner. The Five Safes are reflected in terminology and data sharing principles designed to help federal government agencies determine its data sharing practices.

Best Practice Guide to Applying Data Sharing Principles, Version 15 March 2019, Office of the National Data Commissioner, Commonwealth of Australia (CC-BY 4.0)

In Australia the Five Safes framework is well recognised and guides the work of organisations managing access to sensitive data for research. Here are three examples:

The Australian Bureau of Statistics “The Five Safes takes a multi-dimensional approach to managing risk. Each ‘safe’ refers to an independent but related aspect of disclosure risk. The framework poses specific questions to help assess and describe each risk aspect (or safe) in a qualitative way.”

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare “The Five Safes is an approach to thinking about, assessing and managing risks associated with data sharing and release. The framework is an internationally recognised approach to considering strategic, privacy, security, ethical and operational risks as part of a holistic assessment of the risks associated with data sharing or release.”

Data.NSW “The ‘Five Safes’ is an internationally recognised risk management model designed to help identify and manage data sharing risks. Under this framework, data sharing risks are managed across five ‘safety’ dimensions: people, projects, settings, output and data.”