1. About the survey

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Information on what the Veterans’ Survey is, who it is for and who organises it.

This information page is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

In this section

  1. About the survey

  2. Organisations carrying out the survey

  3. Definition of a veteran

1. About the survey

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are carrying out this important survey. It covers a range of topics related to the circumstances and lifestyles of people who have left the UK Armed Forces. These people are commonly known as veterans.

The UK Government wants to make the UK the best place for veterans to live by 2028. Change has already started. For the first time, the Census counted UK Armed Forces veterans. We need to find out more.

By taking part in this survey, you will help us to produce statistics about the lives of the UK Armed Forces community, veterans, and their families. Government departments, public bodies and charities will use the anonymous findings from this survey to make plans.

This is your unique opportunity to tell us about your experiences. Your responses will provide information not available from any other sources. Do not miss your chance to have your say.

2. Organisations carrying out the survey

The Office for National Statistics (ONS)

The ONS is:

  • 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 so we remove your personal details as we are not interested in singling you out

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 so you will not receive any "junk mail" as a result of taking part

  • monitoring you, as 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

If you would like to read more about what the ONS does, you can follow the link, which opens in a new window, to the page, What we do at the ONS.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) leads UK Government efforts to make sure the United Kingdom is the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world, helping the nation fulfil its lifelong duty to those who have served in the Armed Forces.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs was launched in 2019 and is part of the Cabinet Office. OVA works with all UK Government departments and a large range of other private, charity and public sector organisations who collectively deliver support and services to veterans.

3. Definition of a veteran

When we mention veterans during the survey, we mean people who have served in the UK Armed Forces and have since left service.

You do not need to have seen active combat or been in the Armed Forces in a particular role or rank. If you have served for one day, you are considered a veteran and can take part.

The questions in the survey ask about access to services and circumstances since leaving the Armed Forces. The survey also asks about your lifestyle, health, and well-being.

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2. How to take part

How to take part in the Veterans’ Survey

In this section

  1. How to take part in the survey
  2. Who can take part in the survey
  3. Saving or changing your responses
  4. Completing the survey in another language
  5. Completing the survey if you do not have access to the internet
  6. Deadline for responses

1. How to take part in the survey

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Thank you for your interest in taking part in this survey. This survey opens on Thursday 10 November 2022.

To begin the survey, please click “Start Now”.

2. Who can take part in the survey

This time, the Veterans’ Survey is open to all UK veterans who are:

  • aged 18 years and over

  • living in the UK, as this survey is adding to information from Census 2021 to improve veterans' services in the UK

  • not currently serving in the UK Armed Forces (regular or reserve)

Family members of veterans are welcome to take part in the survey. This time, the Veterans’ Families Survey is open to family members who:

  • are aged 18 years and over

  • are living in the UK, as this survey is adding to information from Census 2021 to improve veterans' services in the UK

  • have someone in your immediate family who has previously served in the UK Armed Forces

You will not get an invitation letter, but you can take part online.

If someone needs help to fill in the survey, friends and family can help fill in the form on their behalf. Some questions are of a sensitive nature. When these questions occur in the survey we will ask who is filling in the survey. These questions will not be asked for those getting help.

3. Saving or changing your responses

If you want to take a break from the survey, then click the "Save and Continue Later" button, which is shown on every page. You will be asked to enter your email address. A link will be sent to the email address for you to continue the survey later. You can close the survey. Click on the email link to start the survey where you left off.

If you leave the survey without clicking the "Save and Continue Later" button you will exit the survey. If you want to finish the survey you will need to start again from the beginning.

If you have submitted your response but would like to change your answers, please call for free on 0800 085 7376 or email surveyfeedback@ons.gov.uk to let us know. Once the survey is closed, the anonymous information is grouped together and individual responses cannot be changed.

4. Completing the survey in another language

Currently, the survey is only available online in English and Welsh.

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The survey will open in English. To choose Welsh, please use the language selector at the top of the page.

This information page is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

5. Completing the survey if you do not have access to the internet

If you have access to the internet via a smartphone or other means (such as via a local library or internet cafe), you will be able to take part in the survey.

We have some paper copies of the questionnaire. If you cannot complete online or need help, you can telephone our Survey Enquiry Line on 0800 085 7376. See our section on Further help for opening hours.

Unfortunately, there are no paper questionnaires for veterans' families for this survey because of limited funds.

6. Deadline for responses

It helps us if you complete the survey as soon as possible on or after 10 November 2022 but the survey will be open for up to 12 weeks.

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3. Your responses and how they will be used

Topics the survey asks about and how we will use the answers you give.

In this section

  1. What we will ask about

  2. What we will do with your responses

1. What we will ask about

The veterans' version of the survey will cover a range of topics, including:

  • Awareness of ex-Armed Forces support
  • Access to services
  • Have you seen active service?
  • Have you been bullied or harassed?
  • Have you been discriminated against?
  • Access to employment
  • Access to housing
  • Work
  • Health and well-being
  • Interactions with the criminal justice system
  • Finances
  • Lifestyle

Not everyone will be asked all these questions. If you are a family member of a veteran, you will be asked about your experiences as a family member.

There are some voluntary questions for veterans that cover sensitive issues such as workplace bullying. If you are uncomfortable with any of the questions, you can always leave them out. We have made sure you do not need any specialist knowledge to take part.

You only need to answer questions you want to. There are no right or wrong answers – your honest responses are vital for us to produce reliable statistics about veterans and their families.

You will never be asked for bank details or credit card information. You will never be asked for your passport or other documents.

Why we ask for your name and address

The survey asks for name and address to match data to the census. It also lets us know what parts of the UK have different veterans populations. This helps the government provide better services across the UK.

Any statistics or results produced will not identify you or anyone in your household. We respect your right to a private life – the information you provide in this survey is anonymous and confidential.

Again, answering the questions is voluntary. If you do not want to answer some or any of the questions, you do not have to. Please answer as many questions as you can, to ensure that your experiences and circumstances are counted.

2. What we will do with your responses

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. We will use the data you provide to link to the census. We will do this because we want to build a bigger picture about UK veterans.

The information you provide will be anonymous and confidential. This is only for us to learn more about the veteran population. Any data we publish will never identify you or your household.

The ONS will share a de-identified dataset (removing identifiable information) and findings with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) in the Cabinet Office.

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 our webpage about our commitment to protecting your data.

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4. Further help

Information on confidentiality and data protection, useful links and how to contact us.

In this section

  1. Confidentiality and Data Protection Statement

  2. The Office for National Statistics' (ONS) responsibility to the public

  3. Sharing data with others

  4. Useful links for further support

  5. Contact us

1. Confidentiality and Data Protection Statement

The information you provide participating in this research is protected by law. UK legislation allows us to collect and process your data to produce statistics for the public good. Your personal information will be treated as confidential as directed by the Code of Practice for Statistics. It will be anonymised and only be held for as long as it is required to produce useful statistics. Your personal data will not be shared with any third parties.

Your answers are securely stored while you take part in the survey. All responses are kept safe by strict confidentiality and storage protocols.

As a data subject (someone whose personal data we hold), you have statutory rights in relation to your personal data. These include the rights to access, object, erasure and rectification, though not all rights will apply to information held for statistical purposes. If you wish to exercise any of these rights, please contact our data protection officer.

If you have a question about how we process your personal data and you cannot find the answer on our data protection pages, you can contact our Data Protection Officer:

by email at DPO@statistics.gov.uk or call: 0845 601 3034

How we use the information you provide

The details you provide will be combined with everyone else taking part so we can produce statistics. The findings from the survey will be made public once the survey has been closed and data analysis has been completed.

Your personal data will not be shared with any other body, group, or organisation.

The information will be held while it is being used for producing statistics. When the data are no longer being used it will be deleted.

Keeping your information safe

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) adheres to the Code of Practice for Statistics and the Data Protection Act 2018 and processes all personal information with respect, keeping it secure and confidential. Any personal data collected are processed in systems that have been designed to uphold the security of the data and that are subject to regular assessment.

Cookies

Some online studies collect information using cookies. These are small files stored on your computer. These files are used sparingly and only for quality control and validation and, more importantly, to prevent us sending you reminders for an online survey you have already completed. It is possible for you to delete cookies or to prevent their use by adjusting the browser settings on your computer.

We also automatically capture information about your operating system, display settings and browser type to ensure that the survey is delivered in a form suited to the software your computer is using. We do not capture any other information from your computer.

2. The ONS’s responsibility to the public

You can read about the commitments the Office for National Statistics (ONS) makes to those taking part in its surveys on our webpage, which can be found at 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.

The ONS complies with the Information Commissioner’s Office guidance. For further information, you can read more on the webpage, which opens in a new window, on the Information Commissioner's Office webpage.

In this survey, we are collecting information on behalf of another organisation, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs. For more information about how your data will be treated, please go to the household and individual surveys page.

3. Sharing data with others

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 survey, we work with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs. If you would like to find out more, please visit the Office for Veterans’ Affairs website.

We are using SmartSurvey as the platform for the online survey. If you would like to find out more, please visit the SmartSurvey website.

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4. Useful links for further support

The Veterans’ Gateway is for any ex-service personnel and their families looking for advice or support, whatever they are dealing with. They provide the first point of contact to a network of military and non-military partner organisations to help you find exactly what you need, when you need it – whether you are in the UK or overseas. For 24-hour support, visit the Veterans’ Gateway website or call their telephone number: 0808 802 1212.

5. Contact us

If you have any queries, please call our Survey Enquiry Line on +44 800 085 7376.

Minicom users should dial 18001 before this number. The opening times are:

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

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