How will my personal information be used?

We try to keep your personal details up to date so that we can keep in touch with you, for instance to send you information on how the data you provide to us in the survey is being used by researchers, and so that we can contact you during each survey.

Each time you complete a survey you are asked to confirm or update your personal details. Between major surveys, we may ask you to confirm or update your personal details through a short online survey or using a paper form.

We hold your personal details (your name, full address, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc) in a secure and restricted administrative database, to which only a small number of authorised staff have access. We never make these personal details available to researchers or to any third parties who might use them for marketing purposes.

  • The mailings that you receive from us for keeping in touch are printed and sent to you by an external mailing company, Copyprint UK. We send them your contact details securely, using an encrypted online portal, to enable them to send out mailings to you.
  • The surveys that you take part are conducted by external organisations contracted by us. NatCen Social Research was the independent research organisation that was contracted to carry out the Age 25 Survey, on behalf of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London. Kantar are conducting the COVID-19 Surveys.  We send them your contact details securely, using an encrypted online portal, to enable them to approach you to take part. Once the survey has been completed, they return us your responses securely, also using an encrypted online portal.
  • When we receive your survey responses, your information is split into two parts for storage at CLS. Your personal details are removed from the survey responses that you provide. Your survey responses are held on a separate secure research database, which do not contain any personal details, and are held together with the survey responses from thousands of other participants. This research data is then deposited with the UK Data Service, which is located in the University of Essex. The data made available at the UK Data Service do not contain any personal details that would enable you to be identified at individual level. They are made available to academic researchers who must register with the Data Service and must work under a strict licence agreement.

In our surveys we sometimes ask you to describe your experiences in your own words. Your responses are included in the survey data we make available through the UK Data Service, so they can be used in research. They may also be used in communications about the research and study data. As with all the information you share with us, your responses to questions like these are de-identified before anyone can use them. You may be able to recognise your own responses, but other people will not be able to identify you through your responses.

The personal information you provide us will not be used to make any decisions (automated or otherwise) which could affect you in any way – it will only be used for research purposes.