Scottish household survey: privacy and data protection

Privacy notice and data protection impact assessment (DPIA) from the Scottish Household Survey team.

Privacy notice

The Scottish Government takes the security of your personal data very seriously. This statement sets out why we need your information and how we will use it.

Why we need to collect this information

The information from the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is used to make or evaluate policy and decide how services are delivered, to improve the lives of people in Scotland. The survey collects information on a wide range of different topics, including transport, sport and physical activity, internet use, culture, the environment, volunteering and views on the local area and services. It also provides information on the physical condition of housing in Scotland, including energy efficiency and fuel poverty. The information is used by the Scottish Government and other relevant organisations, including local councils, to help make important decisions that affect us all.

We are legally allowed to process information collected in the survey because it helps us to undertake our “public task in the public interest”. Relevant laws include section 5 of the Science and Technology Act 1965 and section 2(2)(r) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988.

Some of the information we collect in the survey is ‘special category data’ – for example, questions about ethnicity, religion or health. You can be confident that we ensure that any use of this information is proportionate and necessary for statistical or research purposes under the General Data Protection Regulation (article 9 Sections (2)(g) and (j)).

How we collect the information

A professional interviewer from Ipsos will carry out the interview. They all carry an official identification card, with a unique identification number. Your household may also be selected for a follow-up visit by a trained surveyor, to assess the condition and energy efficiency of your home. Appointments for these visits are organised by CA Design Services.

What happens to the information you give us

Your answers are treated with care and with full respect for your privacy, in accordance with data protection legislation. We will not publish the survey results in a form that can reveal your identity. Survey reports are about the population of Scotland in general, not about individual people.

The information is used for non-commercial statistical and research purposes only. We do not share or use your information for commercial or marketing purposes. The information collected in the survey (but no information that would allow you to be identified) is made available via the UK Data Service for use by approved researchers, such as academics. Such researchers may also request access to more detailed data that is not available through the UK Data Service. These requests are scrutinised by the Scottish Government and – if approved – are governed by Data Access Agreements issued by the Scottish Government. These formal agreements set out strict requirements for the processing and safekeeping of personal data.

All information you supply to us will be stored in a restricted access file. Personal details, like your name and address , will be known only to the team processing the survey results at Ipsos, Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Scottish Government. They are stored separately from your survey answers.

In the future, the Scottish Government or another organisation may want to invite you to take part in ‘follow up’ research. If you give us your consent, your details (i.e. your name, contact details, and relevant answers you have given during the interview that allow us to establish if you are eligible for the follow up research) will be passed on to the Scottish Government or other research agencies, with the permission of the Scottish Government. This information will be used to contact you and invite you to participate in the follow up research. You will then be free to refuse if you do not want to take part. You also have the right to withdraw consent at any time for your details to be used to invite you to participate in follow up research.

You may provide us with your phone number or email address, for the purpose of contacting you to take part in a phone or Microsoft Teams video interview. This information will be processed on Ipsos Office 365 servers located in the European Economic Area (EEA). Your survey responses will not be processed or stored on Ipsos Office 365 servers. This information will be deleted within 30 days of taking part in the survey, unless you provide consent for us to retain your contact details for the purpose of further research projects. After deletion, your details will be permanently removed from Ipsos Office 365 servers within 31 days.

Contacts for further information

To contact the Scottish Household Survey Project Team at the Scottish Government, please email:  

To contact the Scottish Government’s Data Protection and Information Assets team, please email: or read about how we use your personal data. 

If you have any concerns about how your information is being used, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the supervisory authority responsible for data protection in the UK.


Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)



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