On 28 June we will be publishing the first results from the new National Survey for Wales. This survey is one of the Welsh Government’s main ways of knowing about what people think about their local area and public services – information that can’t easily be captured from other sources. It also gives us vital information about people’s wellbeing, their health and their lifestyles. The results are used by Welsh Government and a range of other users such as local authorities and the third sector to measure progress, identify and understand issues, and take action.
The new survey brings together five existing surveys previously run by Welsh Government and its sponsored bodies: the National Survey 2012-15, Welsh Health Survey, Active Adults Survey, Arts in Wales Survey, and Wales Outdoor Recreation Survey. The new National Survey allows much richer analysis across topics currently included in separate surveys. It means that people across Wales spend much less time taking part in our surveys.
Changing to face-to-face interviews (from primarily self-completion questionnaires for the Welsh Health Survey and from telephone interviews for the Welsh Outdoor Recreation Survey) could lead to different results. This could make monitoring change over time, including for a number of indicators and targets, more difficult. We have carried out testing work to help us understand any effects of the change in method, and will be publishing the findings alongside the first survey results.
Are the results reliable?
Yes! The National Survey covers a representative, random sample of over 10,000 people across Wales. This is survey research of the highest quality: it covers a cross-section of people, not just those who are easier to reach or who have a strong view they want to express. So we can be confident that the results are reliable.
But, what is a representative, random sample? This can be understood by thinking about the height difference between men and women: it wouldn’t be necessary to measure the heights of all men and all women to find out whether there is a difference. A randomly-chosen sample of a few hundred people will give a very good indication with much less effort (and cost) than measuring everyone.
The survey is large enough to give robust results for Wales and even for smaller groups, such as at local authority areas or for people in particular age groups. Even if the group of interest is much smaller than the overall population: say, a few hundred people in a local authority.
What’s being published?
The first results from 2016-17 will be on our web pages from 28 June 2017. They will cover a selection of key results from across the survey:
- Satisfaction with public services such as health, social services and education
- Sense of belonging to the local area
- Well-being and loneliness
- Personal health
- Sports participation
- Internet access
- Welsh language
After that, on 29 June we’ll publish results on population health topics (smoking, drinking, exercise, obesity, and diet).
We’re also putting together a series of quizzes allowing you to answer some of the questions from the survey, compare your answers with the survey results, and explore results in your local authority.
From July onwards, a series of more detailed reports will be available on our web pages, each focusing on a particular topic in more depth.
The survey also provides valuable information for the Well-being of Future Generations national indicators. As well as publishing relevant results for these on our web pages, data supporting the national indicators will be available on our open data platform StatsWales.
If you would like to see what topics have been included in the National Survey, from 2012 to 2018, we have just published an interactive “Question viewer” which allows you to explore the questions. On 28 June, we’ll publish a similar “Results viewer” which will let you see results for survey questions that were included in 2016-17.
Find out more
There is plenty of information about the survey, including results from previous years, on our web pages. If you can’t see what you are looking for, or if you want to know more, please get in touch with us: email@example.com.
Post by Chris McGowan, National Survey team