Response 1014717236

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The Scottish Government generally seeks to publish responses to a consultation, in summary and where possible in detail. We would like your permission to publish:

Please select one item
Your response along with your full name
Ticked Your response only (anonymous)
Please do not publish my response at all

Section A - A Use of SHS

1.. What are the main social survey topics that you use in the SHS? Please tick all that apply. Please distinguish between the topics in your following answers.

Please select all that apply
Household composition & characteristics of all occupants
Employment status of the highest income householder
Ticked Household income from employment and other sources
Ticked Health /disability
Transport – cars, fuel spend, and bicycles
Accommodation - type of property, tenure, housing aspirations
SHCS social survey - use of heating, repairs, adaptations
SHCS social survey - energy efficiency and renewables
Ticked Internet access
Ticked Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent)
Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel)
Ticked Other - please indicate
Selections may not be exhaustive; depends on requirements of the organisation.
Please select all that apply
Key adult characteristics
Health/disability and caring responsibilities
Accommodation/housing experiences
Ticked Neighbourhoods and community safety (including perception of local crime rate and local police performance, harassment and discrimination)
Education - qualifications
Employment/economic activity
Transport – Travel Diary
Transport – use of private/public transport, congestion
Perceptions of local government and services
Participation in sports activities
Participation in cultural activities
Environment – access to the outdoors, green space, land use
Environment – climate change
Internet access and use
Ticked Volunteering
Ticked Other - please indicate
Selections may not be exhaustive; depends on the needs of the organisation

2. . What do you use the SHS for? We are particularly interested in how analysis of SHS data is used for informing, monitoring and evaluating policy and practice decisions, including examples of where analysis has influenced decision making. Please be as specific as possible in your answers.

Please explain
I tend not to use the SHS, as sample sizes for the local authority are small. We cannot use the data for any kind of analysis below the local authority level, and that is often of limited value. However, I realise that it is an input into other products that the organisation does make use of. For example, NRS uses the SHS to help inform its sub-national household projection assumptions (regarding household formation and headship rates). The Improvement Service uses SHS data in the Local Government Benchmarking Framework. Also, SHS measures are included in the Menu of Local Outcome Indicators.

3.. Are there any alternative evidence sources available for the topics and/or questions you use in the SHS?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
Please list alternative evidence sources for each topic
Income from earnings is provided by the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), although this does not include income from other sources. We have used other income sources in the past: CACI Paycheck; modelled small area income estimates. The 2011 Census included more detailed disability information than previously, as well as information abuot caring. We have asked questions about satisfaction with neigbourhoods and local services in our Citizens' Panel surveys, which, although they cannot be compared with other areas, allow us to break down results so that we can compare smaller areas within the authority.

Section B - Views on options for 2017

4.. What would be the impact of SHS option A for your organisation’s use of the SHS? Please distinguish between the different topics you use when answering.

Please explain
Minimal impact. It has only been in recent years that we, as a local authority, have had data available annually, so this would be reverting back to a previous situation. The main impacts would be indirect, insofar as it would affect e.g. the Improvement Service's LGBF.

5.. What would be the impact of SHS option B for your organisation’s use of the SHS? Please distinguish between the different topics you use when answering.

Please explain
Minimal impact (see response to Q4).

6.. Do you prefer option A or option B?

Please select one item
Ticked Option A
Option B
What is the reason for your option preference?
The most useful questions are the core questions, and they are protected in this option.

7.. Under option A (biennial) half of the topics would be asked in 2017 (odd year) and half in 2018 (even year) (assuming this is the model adopted for 2018-2021). Do you have any views on what topics should be asked in 2017 and 2018?

Please explain
No opinion.

8.. Under option B (reduction in sample size), a small reduction in full sample topic coverage of around 4 minutes (around 7% of questions) is necessary to maintain current ‘one third sample questions’ at around their present sample size. How should this be achieved?

Please select one item
i. By cutting topics completely
ii. By reducing breadth of larger topics
Ticked iii. By introducing more biennial topics and questions
iv. By introducing more one third sample questions

9.. In order to contribute to the 4 minute reduction, which of the topics which you use do you think could be:

Please be specific as possible in your answers.
The least effective questions relate to questions where the sample of people who have direct experience of the topic is small (e.g. direct experience of social work services). Where such questions are seen of being of questionable value, then maybe it is worth removing them.

10.. Under option B (cut in sample size), would you prefer local authority data to be published on a:

Please select one item
Two year rolling average basis every year
Ticked Two year basis every two years (i.e. 2017 and 2018 data would be published in 2019, 2019 and 2020 data would be published in 2021)
What is the reason for your preference?
The rolling average smooths the data. Having clearly separated data points, albeit less frequently, removes the 'fuzziness' around the data being presented.

Section C - Looking Ahead

11.. Looking ahead to 2018-2021 , the Scottish Government may need to make further reductions to the SHS. If this is necessary, would you prefer any further changes to the SHS to be based on:

Please select one item
i. A reduction in the overall SHS sample size
ii. A reduction in the frequency of SHS data collection
iii. A reduction in SHS topic coverage
Ticked iv. Other – please state
If other, please specify
Either ii or iii.
Please explain why.
The sample size for the local authority is aready small and leads to some doubts about its credibility. If the sample size were to be further reduced, the credibility might also decrease. At some point, it may become necessary to publish results at a national level only.

12.. What would be the impact on the work of your organisation if there were to be a further:

Please be specific as possible in your answers.
i: an increase in the overall sample size would make us less likely to use the data. ii: a reduction in frequency would mean that we would still have data to use, albeit that it would have less currency than at present iii: the impact would depend on what was cut. However, this is likely to have least impact.

Section D - Any other comments and information about your organisation

13.. Do you have any other comments about the SHS or this consultation?

Please explain
At some point, if there is further pressure to reduce the survey sample size, it may be worth reviewing the viability of producing local authority results. If local authority level results are seen as being of value, then a radical rethink of the data collection methods may be required.

14.. What sector do you work in?

Please select one item
Central government
Ticked Local government
Other public sector (e.g. NDPB)
Higher/further education (excluding students)
Third sector (Voluntary and charity)
Private sector
Journalists / media
Other (please specify)

15.. What is the main topic area(s) that your organisation as a whole focuses on?

Please select all that apply
Income and wealth
Young People
Ticked Other – please state
If other, please specify
Local government requriers incorporating many / all of the above.