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Changes to measuring respondent burden imposed by statistical surveys across the GSS

The Code of Practice for Statistics provides producers of official statistics with detailed practices they must commit to. It also provides producers of non-official statistics with a framework they can voluntarily comply with.

Within the Code, Practice V5.5 requires producers of statistics to monitor the burden on those providing their information (the respondents). In order to achieve this for statistical surveys (PDF 24KB) we need to estimate compliance costs incurred by businesses, local authorities, households and individuals responding to each of the department’s statistical surveys (using the methodology outlined in guidance on calculating compliance costs (PDF 170KB)).

This information was previously collected by the GSS Best Practice & Impact Division as part of the Online List of Government Statistical Surveys data collection, but this has now been discontinued. Departments are now responsible for publishing their own estimates of compliance cost for their statistical surveys.

The compliance costs for individual surveys should be provided to users within the Background Quality Reports that accompany statistical bulletins. Departments should also consider publishing an annual survey compliance cost report. An example of this approach can be seen for HM Revenue and Customs who produce an annual estimate of costs incurred by businesses in completing HM Revenue and Customs statistical surveys. This new approach will enable more timely estimates to be provided to users as well as giving users access to the information at source.

The Best Practice & Impact Division is currently developing guidance on how producers can ensure they comply with practice V5.5 of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

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