1. Introduction

The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is a study of the living standards and circumstances of people living in the UK today. The study provides vital information that helps the government develop and monitor policies that help everyone, from single people and families with children, to those with caring responsibilities and older people.

The FRS is a study conducted by a consortium, including Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Centre for Social Research, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

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2. Why is this study important?

The results from this study allow the Department for Work and Pensions to understand how different parts of society are managing today and help them to plan for the future, monitor the impact of policy changes in the UK and measure the state of the economy over time.

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3. Why should I take part?

Whatever your circumstances, they are relevant to this study. Obtaining information from as many selected households as possible is the only way we can get a complete and accurate picture. By taking part in the study, 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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4. What is involved?

An interviewer will arrange a suitable time to visit you to conduct the interview. All questionnaire data are collected face-to-face using computer-assisted questionnaires. The interviewer will collect complete information about the circumstances of the whole household. They will ask you questions on a range of topics such as how your household manages financially, what savings and investments you have and what provision you have made for retirement – but only if they apply to you.

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5. How will the information be used?

Government departments use the results of the study to identify how and where they should be using public resources. They use the information to check how different groups in the community are affected by existing policies and to inform future policy changes.

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6. Who is carrying out the study?

The Family Resources Survey is being conducted by a consortium including Office for National Statistics (ONS), the government's largest producer of statistics, and the National Centre for Social Research. ONS compiles 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 10-yearly census, measures of inflation, the national accounts, and population and migration statistics are some of our highest-profile outputs.

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7. 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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8. Is the study confidential?

The information you give us will be treated as confidential as directed by the Code of Practice for Statistics. The statistics produced will not identify you or anyone in your household. Your responses may be combined, for research and statistical purposes only, with information held by the Department for Work and Pensions. Anonymised survey information is provided to other approved organisations for statistical purposes only. All 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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9. Why have I been selected?

Households are selected at random from the Royal Mail's Postcode Address File. Now that you have been selected we cannot replace you with another household. This means your participation is very important to the success of this official study in ensuring that all groups in society are properly represented.

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10. What is ONS’s responsibility to the public?

You can read about the commitments ONS makes to those taking part in its studies in our ONS Respondent charter for surveys of households and individuals.

As mentioned above, the FRS is a study conducted by a consortium, including ONS and the National Centre for Social Research, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

If you have a question about how we process your personal data or want to find out more about your rights under data protection legislation, please see our data protection page for more information and the contact details you will need.

If you have a question about how the Department for Work and Pensions processes your information after it is passed on to them, please see the privacy information on their website.

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11. Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any queries about taking part in the study, please contact us on +44 (0)800 298 5313. The opening times for the phone line are:

Monday to Thursday 9am to 9pm
Friday 9am to 8pm
Saturday 9am to 1pm

We’d appreciate your suggestions on how we can improve this or any of our studies. It would also be great to hear from you if you’re happy with the service you’ve received.

You can email us at surveyfeedback@ons.gov.uk.

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12. Sharing data with our service providers

We sometimes share selected information with our service providers to help us run our surveys. We only share the personal details they need to know. To find out more about each service provider’s commitment while they are handling your information, please visit their websites. In this study we work with other organisations to provide the following services:

  • Helping us get in touch. Our service provider for this is Total Mobile.
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