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Health Survey for England - Stage 2 Child Survey

What is the Health Survey for England?

The Health Survey for England is an annual survey and a major monitoring tool looking at the nation’s health. It is used by the Government to plan health services and make important policy decisions that have an impact on us all.

Who is carrying out the survey?

NHS Digital has asked NatCen Social Research and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL to carry out the survey. NatCen and UCL help design, carry out and analyse data from the survey.

NHS Digital is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (ENDPB), sponsored by the Department of Health and is the national provider of information, data and IT systems for commissioners, analysts and clinicians in health and social care in England. It is responsible for collecting information about all aspects of health and health services and works in partnership with the NHS and other national organisations to help make decisions to improve people’s care and wellbeing.

Why are you writing to me?

We are writing to you as you/your parent or carer recently took part in the Health Survey for England for adults aged 16 years and over. At the end of your/their questionnaire you/they agreed that we could contact you and ask you some questions about you/your child or children.

Who should take part?

If you are a parent/carer of a child aged 0 to 12, we are asking you to complete a paper questionnaire for the child named on the front of the questionnaire. If your child is aged 8 to 12 and if you and they agree, we would also like the named child to complete their own questionnaire.

You may receive separate mailings for any other children in your household who are selected to take part. Please ensure questionnaires are only completed for the child named on the front page.

If you/your child is aged 13 to 15, then you/they will receive an invitation letter addressed in their name. 

What will taking part involve?

  • If you’re a parent of a child aged 0 to 12, you would have received an invitation letter in the post with a paper questionnaire with your child’s name on it for you to complete. You may receive separate mailings for other children in your household who are selected to take part.
  • If your child is aged 8 to 12 you would have also received a paper questionnaire with your child’s name on it for them to complete on their own. Please ensure questionnaires are only completed by the child named on the front page.
  • If you or your child is aged 13 to 15 years, you/your child would have received an invitation with instructions on how to access the survey online. The letter you/your child received includes a unique access code to the survey. The survey can be accessed online using this link: survey.natcen.ac.uk/HSEStage2. There is the option for you/your child to complete a paper equivalent to the online survey. Please note that you/your child should not complete both questionnaires.

The questionnaires should take approximately 5 to 20 minutes to complete. The questionnaires cover a range of health topics like general health, fruit and vegetable consumption and there are also some questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Do I have to take part?

No, taking part is entirely voluntary, you have the right to withdraw at any stage. You can choose to answer some questions but not others.

What if my child named on the questionnaire doesn’t want to do it but another of my children does?

The questionnaire is for the child named on the front of the booklet. By taking part, you and your child will help us monitor trends in child health and plan health services for children. Taking part is voluntary, and you and your child can choose to answer as many or as few questions as you like.

If there are other children in your household, you may receive a separate invitation for you and your child to take part but only those children who you receive an invitation for are eligible to participate.

If the named child does not wish to answer their questionnaire this cannot be transferred to another child. Your child does not have to answer the questionnaire if they do not want to.

What will happen to the information I give?

We will handle your data in accordance with data protection legislation. The survey findings are anonymised and nothing we publish will identify you or your child. The results collected will help inform the planning of future health services for children.

How do I return the paper questionnaire?

Once you have completed the questionnaire, please send the questionnaire back to us in the envelope enclosed with the invitation letter and return it as soon as you can. The envelope is pre-addressed and pre-paid. If you are completing questionnaires for more than one child in your household, please return each questionnaire in a separate pre-paid envelope.

If you / your child is aged 13 to 15:

Is the information I provide safe online?

Yes. The survey is entirely confidential and fully complies with data protection regulation. You/your child will not receive any junk mail as a result of your participation. The information you/your child gives will be treated confidentially and used for statistical purposes only.

As part of our commitment to the security of your information, NatCen Social Research has regular internal and external audits of its information security, and is accredited to the ISO 27001:2013, the international standard for information security.

Do I have to complete the online questionnaire in one go?

It should only take about 20 minutes to complete, but if you are interrupted and need to exit the questionnaire then you will be able to return to it where you left off. The questionnaire will be saved automatically, so you can close your internet browser and return to complete it at a more convenient time. To regain access to the questionnaire, just access the link in your letter, enter your password and you will return to where you left off.

The online questionnaire timed out

To protect the confidentiality of your answers, the questionnaire is closed down if it is left for a period of time. Your answers will have been saved so you can log back in by accessing the link in your letter.

I have completed my questionnaire, but you sent me a letter to remind me to do this.

Thank you for taking part! It might be that you completed the questionnaire after we had checked our records. We apologise, but we will have safely received your answers.

Privacy notice

We will handle your data in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The survey findings are anonymised and nothing we publish will identify you. This study is part of the Health Survey for England (HSE) and is covered by the HSE privacy notice. You can access the privacy notice here.

How can I contact you?

To get in touch with us you can phone 0800 652 2704.