Coronavirus (COVID-19): Impact on Scottish Household Survey and Scottish House Condition Survey

Impacts of COVID-19 on Scottish Household Survey.

This document is part of a collection

An update on the Scottish Household Survey and Scottish House Condition Survey, which provide information on the characteristics, attitudes and behaviour of people in Scotland, and on the physical condition of Scotland’s homes.

Shift from face-to-face to non-contact methods

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all Scottish Government face-to-face interviewing, including the Scottish Household Survey (SHS), was suspended in March 2020.

In October 2020, a contact-free telephone/video approach to the SHS was successfully piloted, and was subsequently rolled out to the remainder of the 2020 sample. The 2021 SHS continued to use this method. The 2022 SHS will use face-to-face interviewing, but householders will also have the option of a remote (telephone or video) interview, if this is what they would prefer.

Following the suspension of face-to-face interviewing in March 2020, there was no further physical survey (Scottish House Condition Survey - SHCS) data collection in 2020. The 2021 physical survey was carried out by an external-only inspection, supplemented with alternative sources of data (e.g. from the Energy Performance Certificate) and the householder providing information to surveyors via telephone. 

The external+ approach was designed to provide as reliable as possible estimates of key statistics, including on fuel poverty, energy efficiency and external repairs, while maintaining no contact with the household. No data was collected on internal aspects such as room repairs and aspects of housing standards. The 2022 physical survey will return to full in home surveying from April 2022.

Impact on 2020 survey data

The results of the 2020 SHS were published in January 2022.

Due to the change in approach for the 2020 survey, the results of the SHS 2020 telephone survey are not directly comparable to SHS results for previous years, and results for previous years were not presented in the report. The 2020 results were published as experimental statistics (as opposed to National Statistics), and an accompanying methodological report provided an explanation of how the change in approach may have impacted the data. 

Around 3,000 households were interviewed for the 2020 SHS telephone survey, compared to around 10,500 for the 2019 SHS. Due to the smaller sample size, we were not able to provide 2020 data broken down in as many ways as usual. For example, we were not able to provide data for individual local authorities.

No SHCS physical survey data was published for 2020.

Impact on 2021 survey data

Around 10,000 households were interviewed for the 2021 SHS telephone survey. The results will be published in April 2023. The results will not be directly comparable to SHS face-to-face survey results for previous years.

The results of the 2021 SHCS will be published in May 2023. The full number of external+ physical survey inspections (3,000+) have been carried out across Scotland, which should allow key breakdowns of the available statistics to be presented. SHCS local authority statistics require three years of survey data, and further consideration is being given to how to present local authority level analysis given the lack of data for 2020 and the change in approach for 2021.



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