The Survey Control Unit (SCU) aims to promote good survey practice, prevent poor-quality or unnecessary surveys and ensure that respondent load is measured and minimised.
It is independent of areas that conduct surveys, and it serves to ensure that survey control procedures are followed by all parts of the GSS, including ONS.
Particular emphasis is placed by the SCU on ensuring that:
- new survey proposals are clearly justified
- alternative sources are thoroughly examined
- regular surveys are subject to periodic review
- the respondent load is clearly measured and minimised
The SCU operate according to principle 6 of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics;
“The cost burden on data suppliers should not be excessive and should be assessed relative to the benefits arising from the use of the statistics.”
The SCU manages a network of Survey Control Liaison Officers (SCLOs) across the Government Statistical Service (GSS), providing advice and guidance to departments on measuring and minimising respondent burden.
SCU also maintain an Online List of Government Statistical Surveys (OLGSS) that currently includes business and local authority surveys. In line with the Code of Practice, the list is being expanded to include surveys of households and individuals from January 2016.
Historically, SCU published the Annual Report on Government Statistical Surveys for Official Statistics of Businesses and Local Authorities.
Following the January 2015 publication, a user consultation was conducted and all future releases of this report have been cancelled. Information on surveys conducted by government departments along with their associated compliance costs can be found in the Online List of Government Statistical Surveys (OLGSS)
For further information, please contact the Survey Control Unit
This area contains useful links for Survey Control Liaison Officers across the GSS
- Respondent Burden Taskforce Guidance
- Hourly Rates
- Role of the SCLO
- Definition of a Statistical Survey
- Identifying official statistics
- Guidance for approving new surveys (including templates)
- Guidance on Calculating Compliance Costs