NEWS10 June 2024

MRS CEO writes to politicians over election survey responsibilities

2024 elections News Public Sector UK

UK – Ahead of the UK’s general election on 4th July, Jane Frost, chief executive of the Market Research Society, has penned a letter to all major political parties to outline their responsibilities when conducting and using research.

polling station sign on a wall

In the letter, Frost said complaints are made to MRS about the misuse or misrepresentation of research as a result of ‘almost every election’.

Frost wrote: “Research data shows that there has been a decline in trust in politics and politicians over the past few years. It must be the wish of everyone to ensure, at the very least, that trust in politicians, politics and our civil institutions be not further eroded by campaigning actions taken by any party or individual over the period of the current General Election, or any other election.

“Unfortunately, nearly every election results in complaints being made to MRS, as the regulator and professional body for market and social research in the UK, about misuse of “surveys” for the collection of personal data or misrepresentation of research results for campaigning purposes.”

Frost also highlighted the potential negative impact on public trust in the research industry if data is misused.

“Our sector succeeds because of the trust placed in the way we handle personal data by the public. Misuse of surveys as data collection tools will drive down that trust and erode our competitiveness,” the letter said.

Frost’s letter to politicians came as the UK Statistical Authority called on party leaders to use statistics responsibly in their general election campaigns.

Sir Robert Chote, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote in a letter to all political party leaders: “When statistics and quantitative claims are used in public debate, they should enhance understanding of the topics being debated and not be used in a way that has the potential to mislead.”