National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Data Protection Impact Assessments

Data Protection Impact Assessments

National Records of Scotland (NRS) uses data protection impact assessments (DPIAs), also known as privacy impact assessments (PIAs), to help us identify the most effective way of complying with our data protection obligations and meeting individuals' expectations of privacy.

DPIAs are a tool organisations can use to identify and reduce risks to privacy. They help minimise the risks of harm to individuals through the misuse of their personal information.

Our use of DPIAs helps ensure NRS follows an approach of privacy by design. We use DPIAs to systematically analyse how a particular project will affect the privacy of individuals and to address and resolve any issues which are identified at an early stage. This methodology enables the design of more efficient and effective processes for the handling of personal data.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect on 25 May 2018, requires DPIAs to be carried out when using new technologies, and when the processing is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals. It is NRS policy to carry out DPIAs for all projects which involve the handling of personal data and which may have an impact on privacy.

The Information Commissioner has issued a process for conducting Data Protection Impact Assessments and NRS follows this process: Data Protection Impact Assessments.

NRS Data Protection Impact Assessments

Recent DPIAs that NRS has carried out are published below.


Providing access to Census data for data linkage projects at the eDRIS National Safe Haven

This DPIA covers the arrangements for researchers to access Census data as part of data linkage projects via eDRIS through the National Safe Haven.

NRS-DPIA-2018-02 - Data Protection Impact Assessment - Umbrella DPIA - Access to Census data for data linkage projects in the BioQuarter and Regional Safe Settings (549 KB PDF)


Census 2022 DPIA

A privacy impact assessment for Scotland’s Census 2022 was first published in 2017 and we have continued to update this as the Census Programme progresses. The most recent version of the DPIA is available on the Census (Scotland) Amendment Order page of the Scotland’s Census website.

Scotland’s Census 2022 – Data Protection Impact Assessment – September 2020

COVID Research Data Service

We have deposited a subset of census data in the National Safe Haven, consisting of a range of demographic, household, economic and health variables. The purpose for this is to enable quick delivery of data for approved data linkage research projects related to the COVID-19 health emergency.

NRS-DPIA-2020-05 – Data Protection Impact Assessment – COVID Research Data Service