SDC Handbook

There are now many Safe Settings around.  A key component of how they work is about ensuring that statistical results created within them do not enable people or organisations that the data are about from being identified.  It’s also about ensuring that no confidential about the people or organisations in the data are released.  This is known as ‘statistical disclosure control’ (SDC).

Members of the SDAP group have produced an SDC Handbook to enable output checkers who work in Safe Settings, to learn and assess statistical results before releasing them into the world.

The Handbook can also be used by Safe Setting users (i.e.  analysts, researchers).

We began this project in April 2017.

Now we’re happy to release our version 1.0, dated August 2019!

download icon SDC Handbook v1.0

Update:  June 2020

We are delighted, and incredibly grateful, for the hard work of Natalia Volkow Fernandez, Director of Microdata Access, National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico, who has translated the SDC Handbook into Spanish.

download icon2020-06-Manual_de_control_de_divulgación_de_confidencialidad

James Scott and Christine Woods talk about the origins of the Spanish version of the SDC Handbook here.

There are three parts to the Handbook.

SECTION A describes what SDC is all about, and why it matters.

SECTION B provides advice about how to assess specific statistical outputs. 18 types of statistics are covered at the moment.  More will be added in due course.

SECTION C provides advice to organisations about how to set up SDC systems, and how to manage requests for outputs by their users.


To bring this version about, the authors have pooled their collective knowledge of SDC and explained how they undertake SDC assessments. 

However, we acknowledge that there is more work to be done, and that subsequent versions should be updated.  There are others who undertake these roles who we haven’t spoken to and who could contribute their own examples.  There are researchers in statistical confidentiality and privacy who we would be grateful to hear from, particularly to ensure the technical accuracy of the contents.

We’d like to hear from anybody who has ideas about how this Handbook could be improved.

Future work will also include developing this web page into an online resource, using examples and material from the Handbook.

If you have any feedback, or would like to contribute to updates to this book, please get in touch with us using the form below.