Statistical Survey Control

The collection of data by government departments and their arm’s length bodies (ALBs) causes a burden on data suppliers. The practice of survey control has been developed to keep this burden to a minimum.

What’s included?

The current scope for survey control in Northern Ireland includes all statistical surveys of businesses, households and individuals, conducted by, or on behalf of, Government departments or agencies where there is potentially a burden, or a perceived burden, on those approached to participate.

What exactly is a statistical survey?

A statistical survey is any structured inquiry designed to obtain aggregated data (which may be qualitative or quantitative) where the individual or corporate identities of the respondents are in themselves of little significance.

How is survey burden controlled?

Survey control practice is coordinated, and reported, by NISRA and its Survey Control Liaison Officers (SCLOs) in each department.

Annually, SCLO’s are required to collect information on statistical surveys deemed as falling within the remit of NISRA Survey Control Unit (SCU) annual guidance. Departmental Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) are also included in this exercise. The annual reporting period covers 1 April - 31 March.

Advice on reducing the burden of your survey(s)

Simple tips:

  • Reduce the number of questions asked – include only what is needed
  • Make sure you’re using all the data from the questions you ask
  • Ensure the value of any question asked outweighs its burden to respondents
  • Check that questions are still required from previous years
  • Check that any new questions are not already asked in another survey

Latest report

Access the link below for the latest publication reporting on the Burden to Business, Households and individuals of completing Statistical Surveys. This includes a departmental breakdown for The Executive Office.


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