How we find you

How do you find us if we move?

We need to keep in touch with as many of you as possible to make sure Next Steps continues to represent the diversity of your generation. So, if we find out that you’ve moved, we will try to find out your new address.

We first try to contact you through the direct links you have given us, such as phone numbers, email addresses and your postal address. If you have given us details of your social media profiles, we may also try to contact you by sending you private messages via social media.

If that doesn’t work, then we will try to contact any family members or friends whose details you have given us. If we still haven’t found you, we will check the electoral register and the telephone book, both of which are public records and available electronically. We may also try to find you using internet searches, by looking on social media sites and by using information held by government department and agencies.

All of this tracing is usually done before the survey starts so that we can provide interviewers with your current email address, telephone number or home address. However, if we have not been able to locate you, or if the interviewer finds out you have moved, then they will also try to find out where you’ve moved to. As well as trying to make contact by phone and in person, the interviewer may also call at your old address to speak to the new residents and call on neighbours. When we are looking for you, we won’t reveal to other people, apart from your family and friends, that you are part of Next Steps.

 

Do you use information held by Government to find us?

We try to trace study members using information held by government departments and agencies.

We securely transfer the personal details (name, sex, date of birth, and last known address) of study members to NHS Digital who use these details to identify our study members using the NHS Personal Demographic Service (PDS), a database which holds details of users of health and care services in England. Once study members are identified on the PDS, NHS Digital periodically send us up-to-date addresses.

NHS Digital will also inform us if you have died or moved out of the country.

Next Steps has also tried to trace study members using using the National Pupil Database and the Individualised Learner Record held by the Department for Education. The National Pupil Database contains the addresses of all state school pupils in England, which are collected through schools. The Individualised Learner Record collects information on learners and their learning at further education colleges, sixth form colleges, independent learning providers and voluntary and community organisations in England. We may use other government databases in the future.

This kind of personal information is not given out routinely by government departments and agencies. Special permissions are needed, and this is only done after a careful review of why this information is needed, ethical issues and data security procedures. For the information coming from the NHS, special approval under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 from the NHS Confidentiality Advisory Group and NHS Digital Data Access Advisory Group is needed.

 

Do you use the internet and social media to find us?

Sometimes we try to find study members using publicly available information on the internet and social media. This may involve carrying out internet searches, for example using Google, and searching on Facebook and other social media sites. We also know that it can be difficult to identify people accurately on the internet and social media. So, whenever we are searching in this way, we will not reveal the name of the study in case the person we contact isn’t one of our study members.

If you have given us details of your social media profiles, we may also try to contact you by sending you private messages via social media.

 

What do I do if I move?

It would be very helpful (as well as saving us time!) if you could contact us to let us know where you have moved to. This is simple to do. All you have do is either call us via the Freephone telephone number (0800 977 4566), or email us at nextsteps@ucl.ac.uk. Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.

 

What if I leave the country?

If you move abroad please let us know your new contact details, including your address, telephone number and email address so that we can keep in touch and send you letters and updates.

You can contact us with these details by Freephone (0800 977 4566), or by email (nextsteps@ucl.ac.uk). Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.

It is not usually possible for study members living abroad to take part in the surveys. However, you can re-join the study and be included in the next round of interviews if and when you return to the UK.

In the future, it may be possible for study members living abroad to conduct the survey remotely through web or telephone interviews.