Do you use Special Licence or Secure Lab data in your research? Find out how to access Special Licence and Secure Lab data from home.


The UK Data Service has announced two sets of temporary conditions of use that enable researchers to access Special Licence and Secure Lab data from home during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

Special Licence and Secure Lab data are data that are too sensitive or confidential to be downloaded or made available under Creative Commons (CC) Licences or standard End User Licences. Before the pandemic, researchers could access Special Licence and Secure Lab data (such as ONS survey results) held by the UK Data Service remotely from an approved institutional PC or laptop. Now, where researchers are unable to travel to their work site, researchers can access these data from home, provided they meet a set of twelve additional temporary conditions for Special Licence data and a set of nine additional temporary conditions for Secure Lab data. These conditions mitigate against any additional risks posed by people working outside their institutional environment and provide assurance to data owners. Researchers who meet these additional conditions will be allowed to use their institutionally-approved VPN to access their approved standalone institutional workstation at the location specified in their original Special Licence or Secure Lab application.

Most of the conditions are simple to meet; for example, you must confirm that the Operating Systems of your institutional and home PC/laptop have all the recommended security updates applied. There are two conditions, however, for which you may require additional support: you must confirm that you are signed up to an institutionally-approved VPN; and you must confirm that you have completed an information security awareness training course within the past 12 months.

The approved VPN application at the University of Westminster is Palo Alto Global Protect. To register for the VPN service log a call with the Service Desk.

The information security awareness training course we recommend is the HR Mandatory E-Learning Module ‘Data and the GDPR and Information Security’ on Blackboard. If you have not taken this course within the last 12 months, contact Organisational Development to reset the assessment, and take a screenshot of your new course completion date once you have completed the module.


Further information:

For updates on accessing Special Licence and Secure Lab data from home, check the UK Data Service COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates page.

For additional help and support, contact the Research Data Management Officer at


“Computer Security – Protect Data – Computers” by perspec_photo88 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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