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Survey on Living Conditions FAQs

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Frequently asked questions about the Survey on Living Conditions (SLC)

Why is this survey important?

The Survey on Living Conditions (SLC) provides information about the living conditions and resources of households in the UK today.

The SLC will be used as a key source for measuring poverty, health and social exclusion in the UK.

It will be used to help the Government understand how different sections of society are managing, so that it can plan for the future, assess the effects of policy changes and measure the state of the economy.

The UK Government and European Union will use the results to monitor and inform policies aimed at combating poverty and social exclusion.

It is important that decisions are based on up-to-date information about the make-up of the population and reflect the changes that take place from year to year.

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Why should I take part?

Whatever your circumstances, they are relevant to this survey.

By taking part in the survey you will ensure that your experiences and circumstances become an important part of the bigger picture of life in the UK today and will be helping to influence matters that affect us all.

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What is involved?

An interviewer will arrange a suitable time to visit you to conduct the interview.

Questionnaire data are collected face-to-face, using computer assisted questionnaires.

You will be asked questions on many aspects of life including housing, employment, health and income.

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How will the information I provide be used?

The SLC is used to produce statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) as required by the European Union. Information collected from the SLC is sent to Eurostat for this purpose. Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union.

The results will be used by Government departments, charities and academia for looking into areas such as education, health, housing and poverty.

The UK Government and European Union will use the results to monitor and inform policies aimed at combating poverty and social exclusion.

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Who is carrying out the survey?

The Survey on Living Conditions is being conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Government's largest producer of statistics.

We compile independent information about the UK's society and economy which provides evidence for policy and decision making, and for directing resources to where they are needed most.

The ten-yearly census, measures of inflation, the National Accounts, and population and migration statistics are some of our highest-profile outputs.

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Do I have to take part?

Our work is very important and we need your help to make our studies successful. Every year about half a million people help us by taking part in our studies. No-one has to take part if they do not want to, but for us to paint an accurate picture of our society, it is vital that we interview as many people as possible, from all walks of life.

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Is the survey confidential?

Yes, the information you give us will be treated as strictly confidential as directed by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

It will be used to produce statistics that will not identify you or anyone in your household.

Survey information is also provided to other approved organisations for statistical purposes only.

All such statistics produced are subject to the Code and the same standards of protection are applied to your information at all times.

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Why have I been selected?

If you have received a letter asking you to take part in the Survey on Living Conditions (SLC), it is because you took part in the General Lifestyle Survey, the Family Resources Survey or a previous wave of the SLC and gave us permission to contact you again.

As it is not possible to ask everyone to take part in our surveys, a sample of addresses is selected to represent the entire country. For the survey you first took part in, your address was one of these and was selected at random from a list of private addresses held by the Royal Mail.

Once you have been selected we cannot replace you with another household.

This means your participation is very important to the success of this official survey in ensuring that all groups in the community are properly represented.

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Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any further queries about taking part in the survey please contact the Survey Enquiry Line on 0800 298 5313.

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Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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