1. Why should I take part?

Whatever your circumstances, they are relevant to our surveys.

Obtaining information from as many households as possible is the only way we can get a complete and accurate picture of the nation's circumstances.

The information we gather in survey interviews is used to produce statistics such as the unemployment figures, measures of inflation and levels of migration to and from the UK.

Central and local government, businesses, charities, academics and others rely on our statistics to make decisions and plan for the future.

By taking part in our survey, you will help us to produce statistics about matters that affect the whole community, including work, unemployment, training, retirement and looking after the family and home.

You will ensure that your experiences and circumstances become an important part of the bigger picture of life in the UK today and help to shape policies that affect everyone in the UK.

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2. Who is carrying out the survey?

Most of our surveys are carried out by interviewers from Office for National Statistics (ONS), the country's largest provider of official statistics. At ONS 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 10-yearly census, measures of inflation, the national accounts, and population and migration statistics are some of our highest-profile outputs.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales is carried out by Kantar Public (an independent research organisation) on behalf of ONS.

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3. What is involved?

This section describes the processes our studies would normally follow. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have made some changes to keep you and our colleagues safe.

Read more about the changes we’ve made in our statement.

An interviewer will contact you to arrange a suitable time to conduct the interview. Questionnaire data are usually collected face-to-face using computer assisted questionnaires, although some interviews can be completed over the telephone. If you are chosen for a telephone interview, the number we will be calling you from is +44 (0)2392 958 174.

During the interview we will collect information about the circumstances of the whole household and will ask you questions on a range of topics, for example, health, looking after the family and home, employment status, education and training opportunities.

Online

In response to public demand, we are gradually introducing the option of completing our studies online. If you are chosen to take part in an online interview, it will state so in your letter, which will also contain your login details (household access code and link to the study website). If you need help to take part online, please phone us for free on +44 (0)800 085 7376 or email surveyfeedback@ons.gov.uk.

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4. How will the information be used?

Government departments use the results of our surveys 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.

Schools and universities use our statistics for the study of many different subjects.

The main users of the information collected by the Crime Survey for England and Wales are the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice as well as other government departments.

Examples of statistics produced from one of our surveys are available on the Labour market theme pages.

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5. 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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6. Is the survey confidential?

Yes, UK legislation allows us to collect and process your data to produce statistics for the public good.

Your information will be treated as confidential as directed by the Code of Practice for Statistics. It will only be held for as long as it is being used for producing statistics. The statistics produced will not identify you or anyone in your household.

Survey information is also provided to other government departments, approved organisations and approved researchers for statistical purposes only. Details on who can access this information can be found on the approved organisations and government departments page and the approved researchers page. All statistics produced will be subject to the Code and the same standards of protection will be applied to your data at all times.

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7. Why have I been selected?

A sample of households is selected at random from the Royal Mail's Postcode Address File.

Once selected, a household cannot be replaced by another household, as this would affect how representative the survey is.

This means your participation is very important in ensuring that all groups in the community are properly represented.

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8. Who can I contact to make an appointment or for further information?

If you have received a letter from us inviting you to take part in one of our studies over the phone, please provide us with your number here

To make an appointment for the interviewer to call at a time convenient to you, to get a message to an interviewer who has already contacted you or for any queries about taking part in a survey, please contact our freephone Survey Enquiry Line on +44 (0)800 298 5313.

Opening times are:

Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm
Saturday 8am to 1pm

For the Crime Survey for England and Wales, please ring the Crime Survey Information Line at Kantar Public on freephone +44 (0)800 051 0882.

For the National Survey for Wales, please call +44 (0)800 496 2119.

For Online Household Studies please call + 44 (0)800 085 7376

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9. What is ONS's responsibility to the public?

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

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.

Sometimes we collect information on behalf of another organisation. For more information about how your data will be treated in these circumstances, please go to the Household and individual surveys page to read about the survey that you’ve been selected for.

At ONS, we take seriously our responsibility to the public. It is our policy that we will tell the appropriate authority if we believe there is a serious risk to someone's safety.

We’d appreciate your suggestions on how we can improve 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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10. 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, such as your address for delivering letters or contact details for getting in touch. For more information, please go to the Household and individual surveys page to read about the survey that you have been selected for.

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