Citizenship Survey axed to save £4m despite opposition
UK— The Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) is pressing ahead with cancellation of the Citizenship Survey in spite of opposition to the plans from other government departments, voluntary organisations and academics.
Opponents of the move, among them the National Statistician Jil Matheson, fear that the loss of the survey will set back work in areas such as equality measurement, measuring wellbeing and the pursuit of the ‘Big Society’. There have been complaints that it would remove a key source of information on perceptions of public services,with the Place Survey having already been axed.
But CLG said: “As part of the current drive to deliver cost savings across government and to reduce the fiscal deficit, research budgets are being closely scrutinised to identify where savings can be made. In this climate, the department has therefore concluded that, going forward, the Citizenship Survey results are not of sufficient importance to users to allow the survey to continue.”
CLG lost 40% of its administration budget in the government’s spending review. The annual cost of the Citizenship Survey, run by Ipsos Mori and TNS BMRB, is £4m.
The survey was established in 2001, initially running every two years but moving on to a continuous design in 2007. It involved face-to-face interviews with 10,000 adults in England and Wales, plus an ethnic minority boost sample of 5,000 and a Muslim boost sample of 1,200.
Issues covered by the survey include respondents’ views about the local area, community cohesion, racial and religious prejudice and discrimination, identity, values, civic engagement and volunteering and charitable giving.
CLG said that in the absence of the Citizenship Survey it would expect “other providers who have a priority need for data of this type to take steps to provide it themselves, in the academic or external market”.