NEWS3 March 2021

MRS issues post-lockdown face-to-face guidance

Covid-19 News Public Sector UK

UK – The Market Research Society (MRS) has updated its guidance on face-to-face research in England after the government announced plans to lift Covid-19 restrictions.

Traditional Georgian terraced house with red front door

The new guidance comes into effect from 29th March, when the government’s ‘stay-at-home’ order is lifted for England. Until that date, MRS current lockdown guidance, issued on 6th January, continues to apply.

The guidance states that researchers should only undertake data collection face-to-face if it cannot be achieved through other methods, and this principle should be followed until messaging on working from home and social distancing is reviewed as part of step four of the UK government roadmap.

Last week ( 22nd February), Boris Johnson announced plans to remove England’s lockdown restrictions in stages over the coming months. The proposed fourth step is set to come into effect no earlier than 21st June, when legal limits on social mixing are expected to be removed. 

When face-to-face research is carried out, it should only be in the locations that remain open as a result of restrictions, and in-home research continues to be restricted to the doorstep only.

Researchers should also undertake risk assessments of any proposed face-to-face data collection before beginning the activity.

Current MRS lockdown guidance continues to apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until changes are announced to the restrictions. The Scottish government has not provided fixed dates for when restrictions will be eased. The MRS will update its face-to-face data collection guidance for Scotland when more detail is available.