Tuesday, 5 April 2011

End of General Lifestyle Survey? Consultation

There will be changes made to the General Lifestyle Survey (GLF) due to the decision to source EU-SILC data from the Family Resources Survey. The ONS propose merging the GLF with the opinions survey. If you use GLF and are concerned about changes, please see more detail below, and consider responding to the consultation.


2011: The GLF health, health determinants and use of health services question blocks will be removed or reduced in 2011 if the NHS Information Centre withdraws funding.
2012: Subject to the results of a public consultation, the GLF will cease to exist in its current format and will be replaced with a new combined Opinions / GLF survey.

ONS presentation at GLF User Meeting, March 2011

From 2012, the European Union requirement for Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) will be met using the Family Resource Survey (FRS) for respondents in their first year (the cross-sectional component) and a new telephone based survey for respondents in their second to fourth year (the longitudinal component). Currently, the EU-SILC requirement is met by the General Lifestyle Survey (GLF). The move from the GLF to the FRS will result in significant benefits in terms of cost savings and greater harmonisation between poverty indicators used by the UK and the EU.

EU-SILC covers housing, employment, income, state benefits, material deprivation and general health. Therefore, after 2011, the GLF will not need to collect these topics for the EU requirement. This provides an opportunity to review the GLF data collection with respect to existing and future data needs. ONS is currently consulting on this and specifically, its proposal to stop the existing longitudinal GLF survey and to replace it with a new cross-sectional survey, which would be a combination of the ONS Opinions and GLF surveys. The Opinions survey has many similarities with the GLF, in terms of the sample design, sample size and data collection methodology.

As part of the ongoing consultation, the ONS would welcome comments from GLF users about the combinations of variables that they need in order to conduct their research. ONS would also welcome comments from users about how their data requirements might be met using a new Opinions / GLF Survey or through existing sources. For example, ONS requests users’ input on the content and design of a new survey.

The NHS Information Centre has put forward a proposal to cancel its funding of the health, health determinants and use of health services questions on the GLF from Apr 2011 onwards because of budget reductions. If this proposal is accepted questions that cover these topics will be removed later this year.

Given this new information, you may wish to reply to the GLF consultation document (even if you've already done so previously): www.ons.gov.uk/about/consultations/open-consultations/eusilc-integration-into-frs/ 

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