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Life Opportunities Survey (LOS) FAQ

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Frequently asked questions about the Life Opportunities Survey (LOS).

Why is the survey important?

It will give government a better understanding of the day-to-day problems and barriers people face, such as difficulties using public transport, making use of other services, costs or poor health.

With this information, departments such as the Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions will be able to:

  • measure the level of choice people have over their work and leisure activities,

  • identify the reasons that people find themselves limited in life, and

  • target policies and resources to where they are most needed.

The LOS will be used to inform policy designed to improve opportunities for everyone, and ensure that people can participate in society as much as they would like to.

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Why did we choose you?

As it is not possible to ask everyone to take part in the survey, a sample of addresses is selected to represent the entire country.

Your address is one of these and was selected at random from a list of private addresses held by the Post Office.

You are important for the survey because the random sample is a cross-section of the community.

We are interested in people from all age groups and all parts of the country, whether families or those who live on their own.

We cannot substitute another address for yours as this would bias the sample’s results.

Your contribution is vital to the survey. By taking part you help us provide an accurate picture of how changes in the economy and government policy affect you and the community.

Participation is voluntary and the success of the survey depends on the goodwill and co-operation of those invited to take part.

If you’re happy to take part, you’ll be invited to take part again in the future to see whether your circumstances have changed over time.

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Do I have to take part?

Our work is very important and we need your help to make our studies successful. Every year about half a million people help us by taking part in our studies. No-one has to take part if they do not want to, but for us to paint an accurate picture of our society, it is vital that we interview as many people as possible, from all walks of life.

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Is the survey confidential?

Yes, the information you give us will be treated as strictly confidential as directed by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

It will be used to produce statistics that will not identify you or anyone in your household.

Survey information is also provided to other approved organisations for statistical purposes only.

All such statistics produced are subject to the Code and the same standards of protection are applied to your information at all times.

Your information will be stored securely within ONS during the study, and will then be deleted.

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Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any further queries about taking part in the survey please contact the Survey Enquiry Line on 0800 298 5313 or email

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Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.