Public Confidence in Official Statistics

Public Confidence in Official Statistics (PCIOS) is a survey of adults in Great Britain.

About the study

Public Confidence in Official Statistics (PCIOS) is a survey of adults in Great Britain. It gathers people’s views on some important sources of data that are used to inform public policy making. This includes things like the census, national crime figures, and data on COVID-19 case numbers. We are interested in whether you are aware of these statistics and how trustworthy you think they are. The survey is conducted by NatCen Social Research on behalf of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). We are currently inviting people to take part in a new online version of this survey.

The survey is not a test of how much you know about statistics! Official statistics are used to inform policies and make decisions that affect everyone. For example: Where should we build new schools? When should we ease social distancing restrictions? What is happening to crime in your local area? We therefore want to hear from members of the public and find out what they think about these statistics.

Who is carrying out the research?

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) are conducting this study for the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA).

NatCen is Britain’s largest independent research organisation studying social affairs. We carry out many important national research studies for Government departments, research councils and charitable foundations.

Find out more about NatCen.

Frequently asked questions

How do I take part?

If you would like to take part in the survey, you can click on the following link:

Here you will be asked to enter an access code to start the survey. Two codes were printed on the letter sent to your home and inviting you to participate. Please enter one of these two codes into the online link to start the survey.

Please note only two adults (18+) can complete the survey per house. If you would prefer to participate on paper, please let us know by calling 0800 652 4569 or email

Why take part?

Public Confidence in Official Statistics (PCIOS) is an important survey conducted on behalf of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). The survey asks people about their opinions and knowledge of different official statistics and has been run face-to-face in 2016 and 2018. It is now being run as an online survey.

What will I receive for taking part?

As a thank you for taking part, you will receive a £10 Love to Shop e-voucher. This can be spent in a variety of online stores including TK Maxx and Argos.

What’s involved?

You will be asked to complete a short survey online. This should only take 15 minutes.

What will you ask me about?

The online questionnaire will ask you about different statistics such as the Census and data on COVID-19 cases.  It will ask you whether you have used these data and whether you think they are trustworthy or not. You will also be asked for your opinions on some public organisations who use these statistics. This is not a test; we’re just interested in your opinions.

Do I have to answer all the questions?

You don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to – you can skip on to the next one. No specialist knowledge of numbers or statistics is needed to answer any of the questions.

How will you deal with my personal information?

We will treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence under the UK DPA 2018 and GDPR. Any personal details will be kept confidential and held securely by NatCen Social Research. The information you provide will not be used for marketing purposes or any purposes beyond this project, and your details will not be passed on to the UKSA or any other organisation. Findings from the study will be written up into a report for the UKSA, which will be published, but no names or identifying information will be included in the report. Your personal details will be deleted once the project is complete (approximately April 2022).

Find out more about who we are and how we protect your personal information.

Where can I find out more?

For anything not covered on here, please call 0800 652 4569 or email


In our privacy notice, we explain the legal basis for data processing, who will have access to your personal data, how your data will be used, stored and deleted, and who you can contact with a query or a complaint.

Read more.