Response 1024527182

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Ticked Organisation

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Citizens Advice Scotland

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
Ticked Your response along with your full name
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Please do not publish my response at all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
Ticked Employment status of the highest income householder
Ticked Household income from employment and other sources
Health /disability
Transport – cars, fuel spend, and bicycles
Accommodation - type of property, tenure, housing aspirations
Ticked SHCS social survey - use of heating, repairs, adaptations
Ticked SHCS social survey - energy efficiency and renewables
Internet access
Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent)
Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel)
Other - please indicate
Please select all that apply
Key adult characteristics
Health/disability and caring responsibilities
Ticked Accommodation/housing experiences
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
Other - please indicate

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
CAS use the fuel poverty statistics to monitor energy efficiency and fuel poverty levels in Scotland. The statistics regularly inform policy decisions and provide a basis for undertaking specific consumer research. We are currently using the data from the main 2012-14 SHCS variables to produce a report called 'Off-gas consumers: Information on households without mains gas heating' which will provide detailed information on the circumstances of off-gas consumers in Scotland, for example where they live, the types of homes they live in and their household characteristics.

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

Please select one item
Ticked No
Please list alternative evidence sources for each topic
In terms of fuel poverty statistics there are no comparable figures. For off-gas research there are some overlaps with the DECC non-gas data map however this is not sufficient and provides differing information.

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
Given the pressing fuel poverty eradication deadline less frequent reporting and monitoring of these figures would have a detrimental impact on monitoring the impact of energy efficiency schemes and of fuel poverty figures.

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
The sample size for the physical surveys is already at a minimum with respect to regional and modelled sub-regional estimates of fuel poverty and the detailed breakdowns of fuel poverty and energy efficiency. The household interview 'social survey' sample size, at 10,700, is considerably larger and currently allows the presentation of household statistics for each financial year. This is important for describing trends in tenure, demographic and attitudinal characteristics and housing flows since they are likely to change more quickly than housing conditions. We consider it would be better to bring the household survey sample down by 30% and make it a continuous rolling survey, rather than change the whole survey from an annual to a biennial survey. This option would allow for the continuation of annual household statistics, but also bring about a large reduction in the size of the household sample. This option would reduce the household interview sample size each year and would result in a savings in the costs of the survey element of the SHS (i.e. social survey and physical survey combined). This is likely to be larger than the savings achieved by moving the SHS to a biennial survey.

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?
CAS would prefer the Scottish Government to not cut the SHS – indeed we would prefer expansion of the survey to collect data on home temperatures and actual fuel tariffs. However, if savings have to be made we consider the above option to be the best option for doing this is to reduce the sample size of the household interview element to a similar size to that of the physical survey. It would also allow virtually all of the SHS long-established procedures to be retained. We can provide further detail on the thoughts behind this if requested.

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

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

Please select one item
Ticked Two year rolling average basis every year
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)

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
Ticked 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
iv. Other – please state
Please explain why.
We consider it would be better to bring the household survey into line with the physical survey and make it a continuous rolling survey, rather than change the whole survey from an annual to a biennial survey.

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.
We consider our proposal will provide a bigger saving than the alternative options of moving to a biennial survey, pausing the survey for one year or reducing the number of questions asked. It would also allow the government to effectively monitor its progress on reaching the fuel poverty targets, as well as make sure future statistics on fuel poverty and housing conditions in general are compatible with previous years’ statistics.

Section D - Any other comments and information about your organisation

14.. What sector do you work in?

Please select one item
Central government
Local government
Other public sector (e.g. NDPB)
Higher/further education (excluding students)
Ticked 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
Ticked Housing
Income and wealth
Young People
Other – please state
If other, please specify
Consumer, regulated industries, welfare