Response 679990014

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Introduction

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

Please select one item
(Required)
Individual
Ticked Organisation

What is your name or your organisation's name?

Name/orgname (Required)
Falkirk Council

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
(Required)
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Please do not publish my response at all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
Ticked Health /disability
Ticked Transport – cars, fuel spend, and bicycles
Ticked Accommodation - type of property, tenure, housing aspirations
Ticked SHCS social survey - use of heating, repairs, adaptations
Ticked SHCS social survey - energy efficiency and renewables
Ticked Internet access
Ticked Recycling
Ticked Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent)
Ticked Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel)
Ticked Other - please indicate
Other:
We use all the information collected and published for one purpose or another
Please select all that apply
Ticked Key adult characteristics
Ticked Health/disability and caring responsibilities
Ticked Accommodation/housing experiences
Ticked Neighbourhoods and community safety (including perception of local crime rate and local police performance, harassment and discrimination)
Ticked Education - qualifications
Ticked Employment/economic activity
Ticked Transport – Travel Diary
Ticked Transport – use of private/public transport, congestion
Ticked Perceptions of local government and services
Ticked Participation in sports activities
Ticked Participation in cultural activities
Ticked Environment – access to the outdoors, green space, land use
Ticked Environment – climate change
Ticked Internet access and use
Ticked Volunteering
Ticked Other - please indicate
Other:
We use all the information collected and published

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
We use the SHS for general background information on our area for planning and service delivery purposes. We publish an annual report on our website showing results from the SHS for Falkirk for that purpose. In particular we are interested in information for which there is no other source, such as on internet access and satisfaction and perception information. We often turn to the SHS for information which is unavailable elsewhere when preparing area profiles and for answering requests for information. We use the SHS for monitoring information for our Community Plan/Single Outcome Agreement. In particular we have indicators on households with a bank account; people stating their neighbourhood is a good place to live and percentage of adults who smoke. We use the SHS for monitoring information as part of the Local Government Benchmarking Framework which are 8 indicators recording satisfaction with council services: schools, social work, libraries, parks, museums, leisure facilities, refuse collection and street cleaning. We use information from the house condition question for developing policies in our Local Housing Strategy and for other housing service delivery and policy purposes. We use the SHS for the HNDA and the LHS and as evidence for any other papers/strategies we need to produce such as EQIAs. The SHS is important in understanding community priorities and experiences, in order to shape policies and practice, and in tracking the impact of policies. It provides an outline of the experiences and needs of the population over time We tend to use Census information first where that is possible and then use the SHS data when the Census data is older.

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
No
Please list alternative evidence sources for each topic
Alternative sources depend on the questions. Household composition & characteristics of all occupants - Census Employment status of the highest income householder - no direct comparison, but some information from Census and Annual Population Survey Household income from employment and other sources - information on income from employment in the Annual Population Survey, information on benefits claimants and tax credits on NOMIS and from HMRC Health/disability - Scottish Health Survey, Census Driving Transport – Cars, fuel spend, and bicycles - DVLA, Census Accommodation - Type of property, tenure, housing aspirations - some information from council’s own sources, Census, nothing known on housing aspirations SHCS social survey – Heating patterns, repairs, adaptations - some local information on council’s own stock and adaptations arranged by Council SHCS social survey – Household energy efficiency measures and renewables - no other known source Internet access - no other known source at a local authority level Recycling - council’s own recycling information Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent) - no known information at a council level Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel to school) - some information from our Education Services RANDOM ADULT INTERVIEW Key adult characteristics - Census Health/disability and caring responsibilities - Scottish Health Survey, Census Accommodation/housing experiences - Census on accommodation, survey would be required on housing experiences Neighbourhoods and community safety (including perception of local crime rate and local police performance, harassment and discrimination) - no known source, would need our own survey Education - Qualifications - Annual Population Survey, Census Employment/economic activity - Annual Population Survey Transport – Travel Diary - no known source Transport – Use of private/public transport, congestion - some information in Census, otherwise we would need our own survey Perceptions of local government and services - no known source, would need our own survey Participation in sports activities - some information on those using our services Participation in cultural activities - some information on those using our services Environment – Access to the outdoors, green space, land use - have done our own one off survey in the past Environment – Climate change - no known source Internet access and use - no known source at a local authority level Volunteering - no known source at a local authority level Some of the perception and experience information could be captured in our Citizens Panel but would not be comparable with other councils and would be a burden on the Citizens Panel which might exclude other topics. Generally, there are other sources of information for quite a lot of the socio-economic information, but apart from the Census - which is only available every 10 years - it is not possible to cross tabulate the information in the same way that is possible with the SHS. However, there is no other source of the perception and satisfaction 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
Having some topics every two years would limit the use of the SHS for monitoring purposes for those topics which were only covered every second year where annual monitoring is required, for example for the data collected form the LGBF and for our own Community Plan/Single Outcome Agreement Monitoring Household composition & characteristics of all occupants - There would be little impact as this data would continue to be collected each year. Employment status of the highest income householder - There would be little impact as this data would continue to be collected each year. Household income from employment and other sources - There would be little impact as this data would continue to be collected each year. Health/disability - There would be little impact as this data would continue to be collected each year. Driving Transport – Cars, fuel spend, and bicycles - There would be little impact as this data would continue to be collected each year. Accommodation - Type of property, tenure, housing aspirations - tenure is a topic for which there is relatively limited other sources and which is changing at the moment with the increase in private renting. Monitoring this is important for us so moving to biennial data collection would not be helpful in monitoring change over time. SHCS social survey – Heating patterns, repairs, adaptations - No effect as this will continue to be collected as at present. SHCS social survey – Household energy efficiency measures and renewables - No effect as this will continue to be collected as at present. Internet access - this is a topic for which there is relatively limited other sources, certainly at a local authority level. It is also a growing area of interest as we move to putting more services online. Monitoring this is important for us so moving to biennial data collection would not be helpful in monitoring change over time. Recycling - This is a priority area for the Government and the Council and continuing to have regular updates is important in monitoring community involvement in recycling and targeting those who do not yet recycle. However, it looks as if option A would have relatively little impact on the data collection on this topic. Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent) - this is a topic for which there is relatively limited other sources, certainly at a local authority level. However, it looks as if option A would have relatively little impact on the data collection on this topic. Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel to school) - The information the consultation document in Table 1 Annex A makes it difficult to see what the impact might be. RANDOM ADULT INTERVIEW Key adult characteristics - Small reduction in accuracy due to slightly reduced sample size Health/disability and caring responsibilities - Small reduction in accuracy due to slightly reduced sample size Accommodation/housing experiences - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Neighbourhoods and community safety (including perception of local crime rate and local police performance, harassment and discrimination) - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. These are indicators which we use for monitoring purposes for which there is no other source. Education - Qualifications - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Employment/economic activity - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Transport – Travel Diary - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Transport – Use of private/public transport, congestion - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Perceptions of local government and services - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. These are indicators which we use for monitoring purposes for which there is no other source. Participation in sports activities - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Participation in cultural activities - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly but difficult to assess the effect from information provided in consultation document Table 1 Annex A Environment – Access to the outdoors, green space, land use - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Environment – Climate change - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Also small reduction in sample over two years means data would be less accurate Internet access and use - Would be an issue if characteristics were changing rapidly. Also small reduction in sample over two years means data would be less accurate Volunteering - difficult to assess the effect from information provided in consultation document Table 1 Annex A.

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
Although data would be available every year, it would be based on two years’ worth of data. This could be problematic for topics where circumstances were changing rapidly, for example on internet access. Household composition & characteristics of all occupants - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics Employment status of the highest income householder - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics Household income from employment and other sources - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics Health/disability - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics Driving Transport – Cars, fuel spend, and bicycles - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics Accommodation - Type of property, tenure, housing aspirations - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. SHCS social survey – Heating patterns, repairs, adaptations - No effect as this will continue to be collected as at present. SHCS social survey – Household energy efficiency measures and renewables - No effect as this will continue to be collected as at present. Internet access - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Recycling - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent) - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel to school) - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. RANDOM ADULT INTERVIEW Key adult characteristics - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Health/disability and caring responsibilities - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Accommodation/housing experiences - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Neighbourhoods and community safety (including perception of local crime rate and local police performance, harassment and discrimination) - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Education - Qualifications - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Employment/economic activity - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Transport – Travel Diary - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Transport – Use of private/public transport, congestion - not entirely clear from consultation document Table 1 Annex A but impact likely to be limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Perceptions of local government and services - no known source, would need our own survey Participation in sports activities - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Participation in cultural activities - not entirely clear from consultation document Table 1 Annex A but impact likely to be limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Environment – Access to the outdoors, green space, land use - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Environment – Climate change - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Internet access and use - Impact limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics. Volunteering - not entirely clear from consultation document Table 1 Annex A but impact likely to be limited to using two years’ worth of data if there was change in the underlying characteristics.

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

Please select one item
Option A
Ticked Option B
What is the reason for your option preference?
There is actually very little to choose between the two options in relation to the effect which they would have on our information. On balance, the higher sample in option B provided by the two year rolling average and improved precision and better comparisons between authorities outweighs the reduction in the ability to look at short term trends over time for any one council area. The main problem is the existing very small sample size at a local authority level which makes comparisons with other local authorities and with change over time difficult. There are also issues with characteristics which are found in only a small minority of the population but which don’t change much over time. For example, the SHS is our only source of information on sexuality, the numbers who are not heterosexual are small but vary considerably from year to year.

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 options are suggested in the consultation document. A short consultation with users on Scottish Government suggestions would be helpful. No opinion offered.

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.
i. Cut completely and/or reduced in breadth - detailed uses of internet ii. Go biennial - perceptions of climate change iii. Move from full to one third sample .

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)
What is the reason for your preference?
We need data every year for monitoring purposes, so annual publication is important

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
Ticked ii. A reduction in the frequency of SHS data collection
iii. A reduction in SHS topic coverage
iv. Other – please state
Please explain why.
None of these is very palatable, but the least problematic would probably be reducing the frequency of data collection. Although we use SHS data for annual monitoring purposes, less frequent data collection would only mean reducing the frequency at which we could report these variables while retaining the sample size and the number of topics. A reduction in sample size would have a very serious effect on our use of the data. At a local authority level the sample size is already very small and reducing it further would make it almost useless. There may be some scope for a consultation on topics in order to assess which, and in what detail, are used less than others in order to look at reducing the number of topics. The opportunity could also be taken to assess if there are any topics missing.

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. Reduction in the overall SHS sample size - this would have a very serious effect on our use of the data. At a local authority level the sample size is already very small and reducing it further would make it almost useless. ii. Reduction in the frequency of SHS data collection - this would mean that we would not be able to monitor topics on an annual basis iii. Reduction in SHS topic coverage - it would depend on the topics not covered. Often we are interested in headline information rather than the details, for example the number of internet users rather than where and what they are using it for, and the number of smokers rather than how much they smoke.

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
The SHS is a very valuable source of information. However, its usefulness has decreased as the sample size has fallen over the years. It is almost at the stage where it is of little use at all at a local authority level, and that will certainly get worse if the sample size falls further. The SHS sample size is already inadequate for many council areas, these proposed changes will only serve to further undermine its utility at a local level and may render it entirely unusable. Analysis by the Improvement Service has identified confidence intervals of over 10% in some cases for variables which we use for monitoring and this makes them unusable to monitor change over time or to compare with other councils. We would support he views submitted by Cosla and the Improvement Service regarding the SHS and in particular support a proper review of the content of the survey so that it fit for purpose. The consultation document suggested that the consultation was on which of the two options A or B was preferred for the SHS from 2017 onwards, however, the actual consultation questions were much more detailed and covered a wider range of topics, including our detailed use of the SHS topics and the effect on these of each of the options, and options beyond this currently proposed change. I think the consultation document was misleading about the amount of information the consultation was trying to collect and completing the questionnaire was much more onerous than the information in the consultation document suggested it would be. Also this online consultation process is not conducive to circulating responses round colleagues, so the Word copy of the consultation document was used (which then necessitates copying and pasting the collective response and is an unnecessary extra piece of work for the person co-ordinating the consultation). There were differences between the Word document and this online questionnaire. In particular in Q8 the Word document asked a further question "How should this be achieved" for which I collected some comments, but there was no such question on the online consultation document.

14.. What sector do you work in?

Please select one item
Central government
Ticked Local government
Parliament
NHS
Other public sector (e.g. NDPB)
Higher/further education (excluding students)
Third sector (Voluntary and charity)
Private sector
Student
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
Health
Ticked Housing
Ticked Environment
Ticked Transport
Income and wealth
Ticked Communities
Ticked Sport
Ticked Culture
Ticked Young People
Ticked Equalities
Other – please state