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The Honest Broker Service – the Trusted Research Environment for Northern Ireland


The Health and Social Care Honest Broker Service (HBS) gives access to de-identified health data for the population of Northern Ireland.  

It provides key services to internal Health and Social Care (HSC) organisations and the Department of Health in providing data for clinical audit and service improvement projects as well as being the Trusted Research Environment (TRE) for approved researchers. 

Tell us some of the background behind your TRE.   

The HBS is based in the HSC Business Services Organisation (BSO) – an arm’s length body providing support services to Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland has the HSC rather than the NHS).  

It was set up in 2014 to allow data from the HSC trusts to be joined together to gain a fuller understanding of the health of the population. The HBS facilitates access for approved researchers, health planners and policy makers to anonymised and pseudonymised HSC data and can assist in analysis. 

Operationally it is managed by statisticians in Family Practitioner Services and staff from the BSO Regional Data Warehouse. The Governance Board has strategic oversight of the service and approves all research applications.  

The service has a tenancy of the UK Secure e-Research Platform which allows secure remote access via a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.  

To read more see the HDRUK website.