About A Safepod

About A Safepod


A SafePod is a standardised safe setting that provides access to research datasets from participating Data Centres across the UK. 


Picture of a SafePod                     Top down picture of a SafePod


  • Measures 2.66m (w) x 3.33m (d) x 2.35m (h);
  • Suitable for upto two users (subject to approval);
  • Height adjustable desk;
  • Air ventilation system;
  • Adjustable lighting;
  • CCTV system;
  • Emergency alarm;
  • Chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse and whiteboard;
  • Fire alarm;
  • Door access control system;
  • Automatic monitor protection to screen information;
  • Separate secure storage for IT hardware; and
  • Locker storage for SafePod User possessions.

A SafePod has been designed with accessibility in mind, including wheelchair access.

Picture of a SafePod


SafePod provides the following benefits:

  • A SafePod provides the opportunity and convenience for a researcher to access datasets from their local institution or organisation;
  • There are a variety of connectivity options to provide access to datasets from a SafePod;
  • A SafePod can support access to datasets from multiple Data Centres across the UK;
  • A SafePod replicates traditional safe setting requirements without the need and costs for an organisation to set up a dedicated room as a safe setting;
  • A SafePod provides a pleasant working environment for a researcher with strong environmental cues to encourage safe behaviour;
  • Once set up, a SafePod requires minimum management; and
  • The design of a SafePod is standardised and operate under the same SPN procedures and assurances.  This provides Data Centres with a platform and low cost opportunity to extend  access to their datasets across the UK.  A single accreditation of one SafePod will be all that is needed to accredit all the SafePods in the network.

The above benefits will help encourage the greater use of datasets for public benefit research.

This area is where a researcher can view and work on their project dataset.  It contains the desk, CCTV camera, monitor, keyboard, mouse and whiteboard and controls for the lighting and emergency alarm.

This area contains the necessary equipment for the IT equipment and services for secure dataset access.  Only a SafePod Coordinator is allowed access to this area.

A SafePod is available in a choice of two finishes – Classic (brown) and Contemporary (grey).

A brochure about SafePods is available to download here.


There are numerous options for a Data Centre to provide access to their datasets from a SafePod.

  • Remote dataset access: SPN Dataset Access Service 
    This service will facilitate remote access to Data Centre datasets from a SafePod thin client by providing a secure VPN connection between a SafePod and a Data Centre’s web portal for a researcher to access their project datasets. 

  • Remote dataset access: Data Centre thin client
    A Data Centre can provide their own thin client (with power cable) for use in a SafePod with a secure connection to their server for access to their datasets. 

  • Local access from a PC or hard drive 
    A Data Centre can provide an encrypted PC or hard drive with their datasets and software to be stored and used in a SafePod.

A SafePod Organisation can also use their SafePod for other confidential and sensitive work subject to the SPN approval.


Below provides an overview of how to book a SafePod:

  • A researcher has approval from a Data Centre to access their datasets from a SafePod;
  • A researcher has joined the SPN and makes a booking for a SafePod from SPN website.  They select the Data Centre and advise on requirements for use of a SafePod;
  • The relevant Data Centre approves or declines that booking including any researcher requirements;
  • If approved, the researcher attends at the SafePod Organisation on the date and time of the booking;
  • The SafePod Coordinator at the SafePod Organisation completes the SPN procedures for starting a SafePod booking (including researcher identification checks); 
  • The researcher can then use the SafePod to access their datasets and carry out research; and
  • At the end of a booked SafePod session, the SafePod Coordinator completes the SPN procedures for ending a SafePod booking. 


A person that analyses datasets for research purposes.  To use a SafePod they must:

  • Have a dataset access agreement and all other approvals in place to access a Data Centre's datasets; and
  • Have registered with the SPN, agreed to the terms of SafePod use and passed a training questionnaire.

Data Centre
An organisation that collects datasets and makes them available for research purposes (for example this could be a government department or a university).  To provide datasets through SafePods, a Data Centre must:

  • Has joined the SPN and agreed to the terms of dataset provision through a SafePod;
  • Provided a system or equipment that supports remote or local access to their datasets from a SafePod (see below); and
  • Provided the required personnel to support access to their datasets from a SafePod.

SafePod Organisation 
An organisation that owns and manages a  SafePod.  To do this they must:

  • Manage their SafePod in line with the SPN Policy and Agreement for SafePod Ownership and SafePod Coordinator Manual; and
  • Provide the personnel for bookings and the day to day management of a SafePod in line with the SPN procedures.  Each person must have undergone a background check and passed a training questionnaire before they can manage a SafePod.   

SafePod Network User Support Service
The central service that manages the the operation of the SPN and SafePods.  This is currently administered by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research.

Further information

For further information about the SPN and SafePods refer to the General Overview document or contact the SPN.