British Social Attitudes (BSA)
Information about taking part in the survey
Since 1983 British Social Attitudes has been tracking the views and opinions of the public on the big issues facing the nation.
Every year, we invite the British public to share their views on a range of topics such as work, equalities, welfare, health and how the country is run.
Households are randomly selected from across England, Scotland and Wales to take part in the study. This way we are able to get a truly unbiased picture of attitudes in Britain.
If your household has been selected to take part, you will receive an invitation letter in the post. In 2023, up to two members of your household can take part by completing our online survey.
Your answers are combined with others and then used by a number of charities, government departments, public bodies and researchers to understand what the British public really thinks about the issues of the day. The more people who take part in this study, the more accurate the results will be. We are very keen to hear the views of people from all different backgrounds and circumstances.
Find out more about what taking part in the survey will involve below.
Frequently asked questions
What is the British Social Attitudes survey?
British Social Attitudes is the longest-running study of public attitudes in Britain. Since 1983 this highly respected study has been tracking the views and opinions of the public on the big issues facing the nation. It's the only survey of its kind.
Every year we ask people from across Britain what they think about a range of topics like health, welfare and how the country is run. This means that we can not only show what people in Britain think about important issues today, but we can also show how opinions and views have changed over the years.
Why have I been selected to take part?
Your address has been picked from the Postcode Address File. This is a list of every address in Great Britain. It is held by the Post Office and is available to the public.
In order to get a truly unbiased picture of people's attitudes, we randomly select addresses from a publicly available list of postcodes. That way, everyone has an equal chance of taking part.
Whoever you are, whatever you think, your opinion is important to us.
Why take part?
British Social Attitudes is the only study of its kind. The study is respected by the media, politicians and charities. By taking part you will be helping us to uncover the views of people in Britain today. What we find out is used to inform policy and make a difference to the lives of people across the nation.
The findings of the study will be featured in the news, on television and radio, and will be discussed in Parliament. In previous years, the survey has been widely used by national charities, government departments, public bodies, academia and independent researchers.
Taking part is an opportunity to shape what's debated in Parliament and what's talked about online and in the newspapers. We rely on your help to ensure that the opinions and views of people like you are represented. It doesn't matter if you have a strong opinion or not - we are interested in whatever you have to say.
Who funds British Social Attitudes?
This year, the survey is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, Nuffield Trust, King’s Fund, the International Social Survey and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
What will I receive for taking part?
As a thank you, we will send a Love2Shop shopping voucher to each person in your household who takes part.
It’s easy to say no, but we hope you won’t. We’re not asking for money, just that you spare a little time to share your thoughts and opinions.
We will never ask for your bank details or passwords.
If your household has recently received a letter asking you to take part, you can participate by completing the British Social Attitudes online survey. Follow the link printed on your letter to access the survey. Up to two adult members of your household can take part in the study.
If your household hasn’t been selected to take part, thank you for your interest, but unfortunately, we can only talk to those people whose households have been selected.
Can I take part if I can't complete the online survey?
You can also complete the survey over the phone, by speaking to one of our telephone interviewers. Please phone us free on 0800 652 9295 to complete the survey or to make a telephone appointment. We can be completely flexible about when you take part.
What will you ask me about?
The interview itself is really relaxed – we will ask you about a range of topics including work, pensions, NHS services, disability and mental health in the workplace as well as other topics. For many questions you will be asked to pick from a selection of common answers. And don’t worry – you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to.
You don’t need any special knowledge to participate – we want to hear what you think about the major issues affecting Britain today. And it doesn't matter if you don’t have a strong opinion – we are interested in whatever you have to say. If you don’t know much about an issue – it’s still important for us to know that.
Do I have to answer all the questions?
Taking part is voluntary and you do not have to answer any questions you don’t want to. You can skip a question without giving an answer and move to the next one. You can stop the survey at any time.
What will happen to my answers?
We will treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence and in accordance with UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. The results collected are used for research purposes only. Your answers will be combined with others and any information that could directly identify you will be removed before we analyse and share the data.
We publish the findings in a report which is free to download. Any reports written will not identify anyone who took part in the survey. An anonymised version of the data is provided to funders and archived with the UK Data Service, where it is accessible to people for research purposes only.
Your answers will not be identifiable in the data. You will never receive any junk mail as a result of speaking to us. We never pass on your details to other organisations for commercial purposes. You can read more about how your data will be used at the foot of the page in our Privacy Notice.
Where can I get more information?
If you have any questions at all, you can get in touch with us by phone or by email.
Due to the nature of the study and the wide range of topics approached, sensitive topics might occasionally be included in the survey. If you would like more information or support on any of the topics covered in the questionnaire the following organisations may be of help:
Citizens Advice Bureau
For advice on a range of issues. They have offices all over the UK and you can also access advice on their website.
For more information and support for mental health. Mind also provides links for other support networks.
A disability equality charity that provides emotional support and practical advice.
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Offers advice and guidance around equality issues.
For information and advice on a range of housing problems. https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice
You might also find relevant information regarding your specific situation on the government’s website.
For information on claiming benefits visit https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits.
Each nation within the UK provides its own health information which includes advice plus details of local services.
- England www.nhs.uk
Contact number: 111
- Scotland www.nhs24.scot
Contact number: 111
- Wales 111.wales.nhs.uk
Contact number: 111
The purpose of processing your information
The British Social Attitudes survey is designed to capture a representative picture of the attitudes of the British public towards issues of interest to the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and its funders.
This study provides important information about public attitudes across a range of different subjects. It is used by government departments, academics, charities and consultants to understand what the public thinks.
A number of different government departments and public bodies fund the survey by paying to ask questions.
Your personal data will only be used for research and statistical purposes. This means you will never receive any sales or marketing calls as a result of taking part in the survey.
Participation is not a statutory or contractual requirement.
The legal basis for processing
The legal basis for processing the data is ‘legitimate interest’.
The data controller
The National Centre for Social Research is the data controller for the British Social Attitudes survey.
Sharing your personal information
An anonymised version of the data set is provided to funders and archived with the UK Data Service, where it is accessible to people for research purposes. Your answers will not be identifiable in this data.
Data retention period
Your name and contact information will be deleted when the data is published and no later than November 2025.
The rest of the collected survey data will be securely stored for an indefinite period. They are made available for use in scientific studies by researchers, students and others interested in opinion and social attitudes in the UK and other countries.
If you have any queries, contact us:
Data Protection Officer
NatCen Social Research
101-135 Kings Rd,
Data Protection Officers are responsible for upholding your rights and making sure we process your information correctly.
Concerns about how we are using your information
If you have any concerns about the processing of your information, contact the Data Protection Regulator:
Information Commissioner’s Office