1. Introduction

The Survey on Living Conditions (SLC) collects information on household resources, housing, labour, education, pensions and health. It will 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.

The SLC is used to meet a European Union requirement for longitudinal Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). Information collected from the SLC is sent to Eurostat for this purpose. Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union.

More information on EU-SILC is available on the Eurostat website.

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2. Why is this study important?

The study 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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3. Why should I take part?

Whatever your circumstances, they are relevant to this study.

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. 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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5. How will the information 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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6. Who is carrying out the study?

The study is being conducted by 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 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?

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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9. 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 as this would affect the representativeness of the sample. This means your participation is very important to the success of this study by ensuring all groups 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.

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.

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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:

  • Sending your thank you gift. Our service providers for this are Love2shop and Sodexo.

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

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