The National Survey is carried out by the Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Welsh Government. The information gathered is used to help the Welsh Government and other public sector organisations in Wales develop policies and decide how services are delivered.

People taking part in the National Survey have been chosen at random to represent other people in their local area and across Wales. Participation in the National Survey is voluntary. You can decide to not take part before or during the interview, and can choose to not answer certain questions if you prefer. However, we cannot replace you with anyone else.

Any personal information collected as part of the National Survey is kept confidential. Your answers to the survey will not be made public in a way that could lead to you or your household being identified. The information is only used for statistical analysis and research purposes. Reports produced by the Welsh Government from any analysis are made available on the National Survey website.

Your personal data is deleted within three years of each survey year’s final dataset sign-off. Your answers to the survey are linked anonymously to other data sources for non-commercial research purposes only, unless you ask for this linkage to not take place. Anonymised survey data is also made available via the UK Data Service for research projects carried out by accredited researchers such as academics and NHS researchers. The anonymised survey data is held securely and is only ever used for non-commercial research purposes. We do not share or use your information for commercial or marketing purposes.

If you have any questions, please contact the National Survey team:

National Survey team
Knowledge and Analytical Services
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ
Telephone: 0300 025 6685
Email: surveys@gov.wales

You can also contact the data protection officer for the Welsh Government at dataprotectionofficer@gov.wales.

Under the new data protection legislation, you have the right:

  • to access your personal data held by the Welsh Government
  • to require Welsh Government to correct any mistakes in that data
  • to (in certain circumstances) object to or restrict processing
  • for (in certain circumstances) your data to be ‘erased’.

Please contact the National Survey team in the Welsh Government if you wish to do any of these things. If you have any concerns about how your data has been handled, you can lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office who is Welsh Government’s independent regulator for data protection.

You can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 745 or 0303 123 1113
Website: Information Commissioner’s Office

What is the National Survey for Wales?

The National Survey is a study of people across the whole of Wales. The main themes of the survey are public services, such as education and transport, leisure activities, and health and well-being. The survey is one of the main ways in which the Welsh Government and other public sector bodies in Wales find out about the views and lives of people in Wales.

The National Survey involves interviews lasting 45 minutes with a randomly-selected sample of around 12,000 people across Wales each year. Each year, a sample of addresses is selected at random from the Royal Mail’s list of addresses. Survey interviews take place face-to-face, in respondents’ homes with a randomly-selected adult aged 16 or over in selected household. The survey is carried out by the Office
for National Statistics on behalf of the Welsh Government.

What type of information is collected through the survey?

The survey covers a wide range of topics. These include:

  • NHS and social care
  • children and education
  • housing
  • democracy and government
  • Sport and recreation
  • well-being and finances
  • population health
  • culture and Welsh language
  • local area and environment
  • internet and media.

The topics included in the questionnaire change from year to year. This helps make sure the results feed into decisions.

What is personal data?

Personal data means any information that could lead to a person being identified either alone or in combination with other widely-available information, e.g. their name, their address, or details specific to that person.

The National Survey collects some personal data for all respondents (and those in their household) such as: name, surname, address, date of birth, and gender.

How long does Welsh Government keep personal data for?

Names, dates of birth and email addresses are removed within one year after dataset sign-off unless you have agreed to be re-contacted. Re-contact information is removed within two years from dataset sign-off. Addresses are removed within three years from dataset sign-off. At the end of each survey year the survey contractor provides a final dataset to the Welsh Government for approval and signoff. This usually takes place in the following May.

The Welsh Government makes sure that any other answers to the survey are only retained in a way that does not make you identifiable and are therefore not personal data (for example, by condensing unusual values into a single category). Because non-personal data cannot be linked back to you, Welsh Government retains it indefinitely. That is done to allow for ongoing analysis and to understand trends over
time.

What is the legal basis for collecting and processing the data collected through the survey?

The National Survey is one of the main ways in which the Welsh Government and other public sector bodies in Wales find out about the views and lives of people in Wales. It is the main source of information on the topics it collects data on (described in section 2 above) and is therefore used to support a wide range of activities within the Welsh Government’s public task. That is, the core role and functions of the
Welsh Government. For example, the information collected is used:

  • to help the Welsh Government and other public sector organisations in Wales understand more about the everyday lives and views of people across Wales.
  • to help inform key decisions on local services and government priorities
  • for statistical purposes and for the production of official statistics
  • for research purposes and to understand trends over time. This includes the production of statistical bulletins and research reports and other ongoing analysis.

The survey is being carried out by the Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Welsh Government. Your individual participation in the research is voluntary.

What is the purpose of processing your answers to the survey?

The data is used for research and statistical purposes only. This includes the production of statistical bulletins and research reports. Welsh Government outputs are published on the National Survey website.

By taking part, you will be helping the Welsh Government understand the needs of people in Wales and to make sure that money is spent in the right places and in the most effective way. Welsh Government ensures that the data is kept secure and used for non-commercial research purposes only.

Who has access to the personal data collected through the survey?

The Welsh Government holds any personal data for at most three years following final dataset sign-off, and then deletes it.

The survey contractor, the Office for National Statistics, have a copy of the personal data to allow it to carry out the survey and to prepare the final dataset. They delete personal data within 1.5 years of providing the final data to the Welsh Government.

The NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) based in Swansea University also have access to a part of the personal data for a period of three months, until the data linking with Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) is complete. 

Anonymised survey data is made available via the UK Data Service. Accredited researchers, such as academics and NHS researchers, and other public sector bodies in Wales may request access to data not available through the UK Data Service. These requests are scrutinised by the Welsh Government’s Chief Statistician and, if approved, are governed by Data Access Agreements issued by
the Welsh Government. These formal agreements set out strict requirements for the processing and safekeeping of personal data.

Where the Welsh Government undertakes further analysis or follow up research in support of the purposes outlined in section 5, this work may be commissioned to be carried out by an accredited third party (e.g. a research organisation or a consultancy company). Any such work will only be undertaken under contract. Welsh Government’s standard terms and conditions for such contracts set out strict
requirements for the processing and safekeeping of personal data.

Explanatory note

The SAIL Databank is a databank of anonymised data about the population of Wales, which is internationally recognised for the robust secure storage and use of anonymised person-based data for research to improve health, well-being and services. Respondents are able to opt out of having their answers linked. For more information on how to do that or on data linking, please visit National Survey for Wales: data linking