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The National Survey for Wales is carried out for the Welsh Government and its partners by the Office for National Statistics.  The survey gathers information on people’s views and lives in order to help develop policies and decide how services are delivered. Each year, the survey involves telephone interviews with about 12,000 people aged 16+ across Wales.

The Welsh Government is the data controller for the research and it receives the information collected. The information is used for research and statistical purposes only, to produce statistical bulletins and research reports. The results of the research are about the population of Wales in general, not about individual people.

Reports based on the survey are published on the National Survey web pages.

Your participation in this research is completely voluntary. However, your views and experiences are important. Welsh Government, local councils, and NHS Wales use the results of the research to take action on issues that affect you and people in your area.

The contact details for the National Survey team at Welsh Government are:
E-mail address: surveys@gov.wales
Telephone number: 0300 025 2021

The contact for this research at the Office for National Statistics is Dani Evans:
E-mail address: dani.evans@ons.gov.uk
Telephone number: +44(0)1633 580047

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 personal data do we hold and where do we get this information?

Personal data is defined under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). It is any information which could lead to a person being identified, whether that information is on its own or is in combination with additional information, e.g. their name, their address, or other details specific to that person.

As part of this research we collect the following personal information:

  • name, address, phone number, email address
  • date of birth
  • sex
  • marital status
  • household relationships
  • national identity
  • ethnic group
  • religion
  • Welsh language skills
  • economic status, including current and previous employment
  • qualifications, education and training, including for children
  • financial status and whether receiving Universal Credit
  • health and illness, including height and weight, and whether pregnant
  • healthcare appointments
  • diet, alcohol consumption and smoking
  • physical activity, including for children in household, and sports participation

The Office for National Statistics sometimes obtains phone numbers from a commercially available source called the REaD Group, who provide a facility to match telephone numbers against the addresses in the sample.

Your answers to the survey are linked anonymously to other data sources as part of the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank for non‑commercial research purposes only, unless you ask for this linkage to not take place (see the explanatory note).

With your agreement anonymised survey information 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 information 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.

Survey respondents are offered a voucher as a thank-you for taking part in the survey.  If you would like a voucher, then the survey contractor will record your details and pass them to their contractor who sends out vouchers. If you choose for the voucher to be sent to you by email then your name and email address will be passed securely to Sodexo Motivation Solutions UK Limited. If you choose for the voucher to be posted to you then your name and address will be passed securely to Park Retail Limited.  These two companies will hold your information safely and will only use your details to send you the voucher.  They will not share your details with anyone else. They will securely delete your details within six months (Sodexo) or one year (Park Retail) of receiving them.

What is the lawful basis for using your information?

We are legally allowed to process information collected in the survey because it helps us to undertake our “public task”.  This means, for example, that the results help Welsh Government and its partner organisations such as local councils and Public Health Wales understand more about the everyday lives and views of people across Wales and so make important decisions on services and government priorities.

Some of the information we collect on the survey is called ‘special category data’ (for example information about ethnicity and health). We are legally allowed to collect this information because it is used for statistical or research purposes.

Participation is completely voluntary. However, research studies such as this are important because they enable us to make decisions based on sound evidence. The information collected in this research, for example, might be used:

  • to find out how satisfied people are with their local area, and about issues in their local area
  • to look at how we can help people who are not using the internet to get access and to feel confident using it
  • to check whether people find it easy to make appointments at the GP surgery, and if not then what particular barriers we need to tackle

How secure is your personal data?

Information collected as part of this study is only stored on secure servers within the UK. The data can only be accessed by a limited number of researchers working on this project.

When conducting surveys, the Office for National Statistics use a survey software programme called Blaise. Blaise is UK GDPR compliant and keeps your data secure.

The Office for National Statistics has procedures to deal with any suspected data security breaches. If a suspected breach occurs that affects your information, the Office for National Statistics will report this to the Welsh Government who will notify you and any applicable regulator where we are legally required to do so.

Personal data provided to Welsh Government is held on secure servers, and is held in an area that is accessible only to the National Survey research team. Your contact details and any other personal data you provide will be stored in this restricted folder. As mentioned above, the information collected is only used for research purposes and to draw conclusions about the general population, rather than focusing on individual people.

The survey results are only reported on in an anonymised form. Reports will not contain any information that makes you identifiable. Reports are published at www.gov.wales/nationalsurvey.

Anonymised survey data is made available via the UK Data Service to officially recognised researchers, such as academics and NHS researchers, and other public sector bodies in Wales.  Such researchers may also request access to more detailed data that is not available through the UK Data Service. These requests are scrutinised by the Welsh Government’s Chief Social Research Officer 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 above, this work may be carried out by an officially authorised third party (e.g. a research organisation or a consultancy company). Any such work is only 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.

How long do we keep your personal data?

The Office for National Statistics holds personal data during the contract period and deletes personal data six months following dataset sign-off. Sign-off takes place around three months after the end of the fieldwork year, which runs from April to the following March.

The Office for National Statistics provides Welsh Government with the full dataset, including personal data only for those respondents who have agreed to be re-contacted.

For respondents who have agreed to be re-contacted, Welsh Government deletes names, phone numbers and email addresses within two years of dataset sign-off. It deletes the addresses of respondents who have agreed to be re-contacted within three years of dataset sign-off.

The NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) also have access to a part of the personal data for a period of three months, solely to allow data linking with the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank at Swansea University.

Individual rights

Under UK GDPR, you have the following rights in relation to the personal information you provide as part of the National Survey. You have the right:

  • To access a copy of your own data;
  • For us to correct inaccuracies in that data;
  • To object to or restrict processing (in certain circumstances);
  • For your data to be ‘erased’ (in certain circumstances); and
  • To lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) who is our independent regulator for data protection.

The contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office are:

Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Phone: 01625 545 745 or 0303 123 1113
Website: www.ico.org.uk

Further Information

If you have any further questions about how the data provided as part of this study is used by the Welsh Government, or you wish to exercise your rights under the UK General Data Protection Regulation, please contact:

The National Survey team
E-mail address: surveys@gov.wales
Telephone number: 0300 025 2021

The Welsh Government’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted at:

Welsh Government,
Cathays Park,
Cardiff,
CF10 3NQ

Email: DataProtectionOfficer@gov.wales.

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.