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GSS > Policy and guidance hub > Activity restriction harmonised principle

Activity restriction harmonised principle

Policy details

Metadata item Details
Publication date:9 June 2020
Author:Ollie Nixon
Approver:William Perks
Who this is for:Users and producers of statistics
Type:Harmonisation guidance and principles
Contact:

gsshelp@statistics.gov.uk

What is harmonisation?

Harmonisation is the process of making statistics and data more comparable, consistent and coherent. Harmonised principles set out how to collect and report statistics to ensure comparability across different data collections in the Government Statistical Service (GSS). Harmonisation produces more useful statistics that give users a greater level of understanding.

 

What do we mean by activity restriction?

This principle measures the extent and duration of restrictions in carrying out day-to-day activities if a person has any long lasting health conditions or illness.

This principle does not refer to disability. The way individuals view disability varies and the term itself often makes people think about the most severe physical disabilities. Some individuals with impairments may not identify as being disabled.

 

Questions and response options (inputs)

The harmonised questions on this topic are designed to collect basic information, for use in the majority of surveys. They are not designed to replace questions used in specialist surveys where more detailed analysis is required.

Activity restriction

This question should be asked to all respondents who answered “yes” to the long lasting health conditions and illness question. It should be asked by proxy if a respondent is under 16 or not fit to respond.

Introducing the question

When introducing the question, the interviewer should state:

“This question asks about whether your health condition or illness currently affects your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, either a lot or a little or not at all. In answering this question, you should consider whether you are affected while receiving any treatment or medication for your condition or illness and/or using any devices such as a hearing aid, for example.”

Question Response options
Does your condition or illness/do any of your conditions or illnesses reduce your ability to carry out day-to-day activities?1. Yes, a lot

2. Yes, a little

3. Not at all

Interviewer guidance

Normal day to day activities can include:

  • washing and dressing
  • household cleaning
  • cooking
  • shopping for essentials
  • using public or private transport
  • walking a defined distance
  • climbing stairs
  • remembering to pay bills
  • lifting objects from the ground or a work surface in the kitchen
  • moderate manual tasks such as gardening
  • gripping objects such as cutlery
  • hearing and speaking in a noisy room

The respondent should answer based on their current activity restriction. They should consider any treatment they receive, medication they take or other devices they use (such as a hearing aid).

 

Duration of restriction

This question should be asked to all respondents aged 16 and over who responded “yes” to the long lasting health conditions and illness question and responded “yes, a lot” or “yes, a little” to the activity restriction question. It should be asked by proxy if a respondent is under 16 or not fit to respond.

Question Response options
For how long has your ability to carry out day-to-day activities been reduced?1. Less than six months

2. Between six months and twelve months

3. twelve months or more

 

Using this principle

Equality Act 2010

To measure disability for the Equality Act 2010  you should use this principle together with the long lasting health conditions and illness principle.

Types of data collection this principle is suitable for

These questions measure the extent and duration of restrictions carrying out day-to-day activities if a person has any long lasting health conditions or illness. They are for use in social surveys.

The principle can be used for:

  • interviewer led questionnaires
  • Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI)
  • Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)
  • paper based and online self-completion forms

 

Presenting and reporting the data (outputs)

These tables show the output categories for activity restriction. We are not prescribing a code but have given examples. The coding used should comply with the coding conventions used in the specific survey source.

Restriction carrying out normal day-to-day activities

Suggested variable name: RedAct

ResponseExample code
Yes, a lot1
Yes, a little2
Not at all3

Implications for classifications

Definition Example code
Equality Act: Core currently disabled population1 or 2
Equality Act: Not core currently disabled3
EU-SILC: Not severely hampered in daily activities3
EU-SILC: Not hampered in daily activities to some extent3

Duration of activity restriction

Suggested variable name: DurRedAct

Response Example code
Less than six months1
Between six months and 12 months2
12 months or more3

Implications for classifications

Definition Example code
EU-SILC: Severely hampered in daily activities2 or 3 and RedAct 1
EU-SILC: Hampered in daily activities to some extent2 or 3 and RedAct 2
EU-SILC: Not severely hampered in daily activities1
EU-SILC: Not hampered in daily activities to some extent1

 

Comparability

Outputs that use this principle are comparable with other surveys that also use this principle. However, we would not recommend comparing levels of activity restriction from outputs using this principle with other outputs that use an alternative measure.

Comparability across the censuses

The 2011 Censuses for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all used different questions on activity restriction and none of them produced comparable data on this topic.

The 2021 Census in England and Wales plans to use this principle for activity restriction. However, as this will be different from the questions used in the 2011 Census for England and Wales, the data from these two censuses will not be comparable.

The 2021 Census for Scotland plans to use the same questions on activity restriction as the 2011 Census for Scotland. This  means the data from these two censuses will be comparable.  However the data will still not be comparable with data from the 2021 Censuses for England and Wales or Northern Ireland.

Similarly the 2021 Census for Northern Ireland plans to use the same questions on activity restriction as the 2011 Census for Northern Ireland. This  means the data from these two censuses will be comparable.  However the data will still not be comparable with data from the 2021 Censuses for England and Wales or Scotland.

 

Examples of when this principle has been used

Surveys that used this principle

Use in the census

This principle, together with the long lasting health conditions and illness principle, has been chosen for use in the 2021 Census in England and Wales.

Census questions need parliamentary approval. This will be sought during 2020. It is not anticipated that any of the questions on this topic will change.

More information on the comparability of census data on activity restriction is in the comparability section of this page.

 

 

Development of this principle

A topic group consisting of government departments, academics and external organisations designed the question. Then, various proposals underwent cognitive testing. This testing looked at how respondents react to different versions of the question and checked that the questions correctly capture whether a respondent has a disability according to the Equality Act.

Further information on the development of this principle can be accessed in two Health Statistics Quarterly articles published in Issue 51 in August 2011.

 

Contact us

We are always interested in hearing from users so we can develop our work. If you use or produce statistics based on this topic, get in touch: gsshelp@statistics.gov.uk.

 

Review frequency:

This page will be reviewed annually.

Updates

Date Changes
17 April 2019

This page was published

9 June 2020

This page was reviewed and updated

Documents

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Activity restriction, Impairment and Long lasting illness (PDF, 0.21MB)

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