1. How to take part

Start now

To begin the study, please click “Start Now” then enter your personal access code.

You can complete this study on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone with internet access. If you need to, you can stop and come back to the study later.

Your letter will include all the instructions and login details you will need – this study is available for you to complete at any time until the closing date stated in your letter.

The information you provide will be treated as confidential in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

If you do not have internet access or require help phone us on +44 (0)800 298 5313.

If we do not hear from you, one of our interviewers will be in touch to arrange a time for you to take part over a telephone interview. The number the interviewer will call you from is +44 (0)2392 958 174.

We design our studies with you in mind and keep them as short as possible. We only collect the information we need to better understand our society. Your response is really important to us. We know everyone is busy, so if your plans change and it is no longer a good time, we are happy for you to rearrange.

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2. Who should take part?

You should take part if you have received a letter inviting you to take part and introducing the study. You should take part if your household has previously taken part in an important study run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and have received a letter inviting you to take part and introducing the Opinions and Lifestyle Study. Only one person from each household can take part in this study. We want to hear from you no matter what your situation is and we cannot ask anyone else to take your place.

It is not possible to ask everyone to take part in our studies – instead, we invite a sample of individuals, which makes sure we represent everyone. We cannot ask anyone else to take your place on this study as this would affect how representative the study is.

You have been asked to take part to build a picture of our whole society. We need to talk to all types of people.

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3. How long will the study take?

Completing all the questions should take around 15 to 25 minutes. There are no right or wrong answers – your honest responses are vital for us to produce reliable statistics about our whole society.

Your progress saves automatically when completing the study. If you need to take a break you can close the browser window containing the study– your progress will be saved.

When you are ready to continue filling in the study, return to the study login page (www.ons.gov.uk/lifestyle). Sign in with the same personal access code in your invitation letter and you will be returned to where you left off.

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4. Why should I take part?

This is your unique opportunity to tell us about your opinions and experiences. What you tell us in this study is used to build a picture of Great Britain. This means you are helping government departments, charities and public bodies make decisions and plans to meet the country’s changing needs. These range from national policies to facilities and services local to you.

To help inform decision-making, we must build an accurate picture of our diverse and changing population. Asking you questions allows us to gather the range of information to produce the statistics needed to help shape tomorrow.

Your responses will provide information not available from any other sources. Do not miss your chance to have your say.

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5. What will I be asked?

This study will ask questions about opinions on a wide range of topics.

Charities, academic institutions and government organisations sometimes ask us to include questions in this study.

This means that questions can vary from month to month. In the past we have included topics about:

  • car access
  • road congestion
  • well-being
  • online shopping
  • e-cigarettes
  • drinking

The questions we ask can be based on both facts and opinions.

There are no difficult questions and we have made sure you do not need any specialist knowledge to take part. There are no right or wrong answers – your honest responses are vital for us to produce reliable statistics about our whole society.

We respect your right to a private life – the information you provide in our studies will not be used to identify or incriminate you in any way. If you are uncomfortable with any of the questions you are asked, you can always leave them out.

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6. What will you do with my answers?

Your personal information will remain confidential.

The details you provide will be combined with those of everyone else taking part so we can produce statistics. Any data we publish will never identify you or your household.

We do not sell on your data and you will not receive junk mail or marketing calls as a result of taking part in one of our studies.

If you want to know more, please see the section about our commitment to protecting your data.

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7. Who is carrying out the study?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is carrying out the study, with some of the questions having been sponsored by other government departments.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) has been commissioned to collect data online as a processor on behalf of the ONS.

NISRA is the principal source of official statistics and social research on Northern Ireland. More information about NISRA can be found on the NISRA website.

At the ONS we are:

✔ independent, unbiased and impartial: we are separate from other organisations and do not allow anything to influence the statistics we publish

✔ the only organisation that produces official statistics as a primary role: we have no additional interest in the information we collect

✔ only interested in society as a whole, and not you as an individual: statistics represent groups of people, we remove your personal details as we are not interested in singling you out

At the ONS we are not:

✘ a commercial or market research organisation we do not work for profit and will not try to sell you anything

✘ associated with any political parties; we produce official statistics, no matter who the prime minister or political party in government is

✘ going to sell on your data under any circumstances; we value your involvement in our studies and do not profit from your data, you will not receive any “junk mail” as a result of taking part

✘ monitoring you, the data you give are only used for producing statistics; we will not use your information to contact you about other matters such as your tax, income or benefits, and we will not provide your information to anyone else for them to do so either

Read more about what we do at ONS.

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8. Our commitment to you and how we treat your information

What you can expect from us

You can read about the commitments the Office for National Statistics (ONS) makes to those taking part in our studies on our Taking part? What you can expect from us page.

How we treat your information – confidentiality and data protection

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. 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.

For this survey the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (part of the Department of Finance Northern Ireland) is acting as a processor on behalf of the ONS to assist with the collection of the data. Any personal data collected are processed in systems that have been accredited by the Northern Ireland Civil Service, designed to uphold the security of the data and which are subject to regular assessment. Once the study is completed and data passed to the ONS, NISRA will then destroy all personal data securely.

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9. Our contact details

Our freephone enquiry line is +44 (0)800 298 5313

Telephone opening times are:

  • Monday to Thursday – 9am to 9pm
  • Friday – 9am to 9pm
  • Saturday – 9am to 1pm

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

We would 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 are happy with the service you have received.

If you would like to conduct this survey in Welsh phone us to complete a telephone interview on +44 (0)800 298 5313.

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10. Do I have to take part?

We hope we have explained just how important your response is to us, and the value of your information in producing reliable statistics for decision-making. If you missed this, or need a refresher, see our section on “Why should I take part?

It is your chance to have your voice heard. If you are still not convinced, you do not have to take part if you do not want to. For us to paint an accurate picture of our society, it is vital that we hear from as many people as possible, from all walks of life.

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11. What if I have lost my personal access code?

You will receive an invitation letter including your personal access code and instructions on how to take part in this study. We will also send out a reminder letter with your personal access code should you lose it. In the event you have also lost your reminder letter you can take part over the telephone. To arrange an appointment, please phone us on +44 (0)800 298 5313.

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12. What next?

To begin the study, please click “Back to table of contents” and then click “Start Now” and enter your personal access code.

If you do not have internet access or require help phone us on +44 (0)800 298 5313.

If you do not take part online one of our interviewers may call you to conduct the study over the telephone. The number the interviewer will call you from is +44 (0)2392 958 174.

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