Response 697870617

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Introduction

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Individual
Ticked Organisation

What is your name or your organisation's name?

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Scottish Government

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:

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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Please do not publish my response at all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
Employment status of the highest income householder
Household income from employment and other sources
Ticked Health /disability
Ticked 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
Internet access
Recycling
Savings and household finances, including housing costs (mortgage and rent)
Ticked Children in the household (childcare, schools, and travel)
Other - please indicate
Please select all that apply
Ticked Key adult characteristics
Ticked 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)
Ticked Education - qualifications
Ticked Employment/economic activity
Ticked Transport – Travel Diary
Transport – use of private/public transport, congestion
Ticked Perceptions of local government and services
Ticked Participation in sports activities
Participation in cultural activities
Ticked Environment – access to the outdoors, green space, land use
Environment – climate change
Internet access and use
Ticked Volunteering
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
The SHS is a key resource in monitoring the impact of a range of Active Scotland workstreams and measuring our progress in increasing population activity levels. We use SHS data to monitor our progress against the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework. Each of the outcomes has a number of indicators associated with it, which were chosen to reflect the broad nature of each outcome and were matched against a set of criteria, including: that it must be robust data, collected in a systematic way, provide national as well as local level data, be comparable across local authorities and of sufficient scale and detail to enable analysis by protected equality groups. 10 out of 19 of our indicators come from the SHS, including indicators on sports participation, perceptions of leisure services, greenspace accessibility and active volunteering. In addition, several of the indicators are legacy indicators which we are committed to track till at least 2018. Given limited financial and legislative levers, a robust evidence base is an important asset for reaching consensus on proposed activities, and for holding ourselves and those we fund to account.

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
The Scottish Health Survey also asks about sports participation, however, estimates are not available at local authority level. As local authorities have responsibility for leisure service delivery and many of the other delivery areas relevant to sports and physical activity, a robust data source and meaningful sample size is important. We have used data obtained through the Sustrans Hands Up Survey on active travel to school, and Audit Scotland data on access to leisure services, but now use SHS data for these to enable better equality analysis.

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
The majority of relevant questions would change from currently being asked annually to being asked every two years with biennial reporting at both national and local level. Several biennial questions on volunteering would remain biennial and largely unaffected by option A. At a national level, our primary interest is in monitoring trends over time and being able to conduct subgroup analysis, particularly in relation to assessing progress on equalities. Year to year the proportions do not change markedly, therefore, biennial reporting could be reasonable. The slight reduction in sample size would have minimal effect of precision to detect change and would also have lesser effect on ability to do subgroup analysis. For example, sports participation (without walking) currently has a confidence interval of +/- 1.1%. Under Option A, this would change to a precision of around +/- 1.2%. However, the reduced frequency could affect assessment of impact from specific large scale events such as the Commonwealth Games or major policy implementations and depending on the length of a strategy or policy plan, they may often only have two sets of data by which to assess effectiveness. At a local level, the sample size reduction may make it more likely that survey years would need to be combined for meaningful sub-group analysis. This would mean combining non-consecutive years and when results are published, some of the contributing data will be up to three years old by that point. This makes this option potentially less attractive for local level use.

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
Option B would reduce the overall sample size and potentially affect topic coverage. The main effects on relevant questions would be to reduce the level of precision and reduce the ability to make subgroup analysis on a single year of data. For example, sports participation (without walking) would move from a confidence interval of +/- 1.1% to +/- 1.4 to 1.5%. This will make it less likely to be able to detect change between consecutive years and change may only appear biennially or less often. This would result in a similar situation to option A, but with the option of combining consecutive years to boost precision. Many of the protected characteristic groups fall within the portion of the population that is least active, therefore, to conduct subgroup analysis, two years may need combined. Again the results in effect become biennial but with increased precision. At a local level, precision would be increased, which is useful for inter-authority comparison, but the averaging will be less useful within individual local authority areas. If the survey is seen to be less useful to local authorities as a result they may choose to commission more of their own surveys, reducing the value for money of the SHS.

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

What is the reason for your option preference?
We do not feel able to state a preference as both Options have pros and cons depending on the question of interest, whether looking at national or local level data and what types of analysis are required. In our opinion there is no clear winner.

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
Our main concern here is that all questions that are relevant to evaluation of the Commonwealth Games are grouped and asked in time to contribute to next report due provisionally in early 2018.

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
Ticked ii. By reducing breadth of larger topics
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.
Option 9ii would be the first choice rather than losing any questions or asking of a one third sample. We would be interested to know the scope for negotiating replacement questions as part of this consultation.

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?
Provision on annual estimates with a high level of precision.

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
Ticked iii. A reduction in SHS topic coverage
iv. Other – please state
Please explain why.
Option iii would be considered where there is duplication with other survey data sources, but only if other sources were able to provide the same quality of data and at the relevant local geography.

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.
As noted above, the main concerns would be around ability to continue to analyse sub-group data and fulfil equality commitments, targeting the groups most at risk of inactivity, many of whom align with the protected characteristics. In addition, much of the levers for change relating to physical activity, sport, leisure and community planning are at a local level, so it is important that the data retain the confidence of local authority officers.

Section D - Any other comments and information about your organisation

14.. What sector do you work in?

Please select one item
Ticked Central government
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
Housing
Environment
Transport
Income and wealth
Communities
Ticked Sport
Culture
Young People
Equalities
Other – please state