Working Paper No. 115
The DWP commissioned NatCen to explore the reasons for discrepancies between benefit receipt as reported by respondents in the Family Resources Survey (FRS) and DWP administrative records and to report on ways in which these discrepancies could be reduced.
The study involved: focus groups with NatCen FRS interviewers; cognitive interviews with FRS respondents whose individual survey responses were found to be different to their administrative records and a review of other surveys’ approaches to collecting information about benefit receipt.
The review identified two key factors that affect the accuracy of the answers respondents give to the FRS benefits questions.
- The question order and language used to describe individual benefits does not reflect how respondents think about and describe the benefits they receive.
- There are respondents who do not know or do not have the necessary information to answer specific questions about individual benefits.
The NatCen report makes a number of suggestions aimed at improving the accuracy of information collected about benefit receipt. These suggestions focus on:
- re-ordering the lists of other benefits to group similar types of benefit together on one card (specifically putting all the disability and health-related benefits on one card)
- changing the descriptions of benefits to better reflect the names by which respondents know them
- improving interviewer training.
The Department used this report to design a pilot to test the suggestions above before implementing these changes to the FRS benefit block.