Taking Part: information for survey participants

What you need to know about being part of the Taking Part survey.

Applies to England


Taking Part aims to find out how people spend their time and their views on the leisure activities and facilities available to them. It also helps with understanding people’s lifestyle choices and the reasons why they do and don’t participate in activities like:

  • sport and physical activity
  • visits to museums, galleries and heritage sites
  • use of libraries and archives
  • arts events and activities
  • volunteering and charitable giving.

Being chosen for interview

Addresses are randomly selected from the Post Office’s list of addresses in England, so that the results reflect the experiences and views of the whole population. If your address is selected you will receive an introductory Taking Part letter and a Taking Part leaflet by post.

A few days after these have been sent, an interviewer will call at your address. If it is an inconvenient time they can arrange with you to return another time.

Everyone’s views and experiences are valuable to Taking Part, even if you do not participate in any activities or you do not think that your views are relevant. If you don’t participate in any activities, we are keen to know the reasons why not, such as cost, lack of access or interest.

The interview

A professional interviewer will come and conduct the survey in your home. The interviewer will select who to interview on the doorstep. If there is more than one person in your household aged 16 or over, the interviewer will randomly select one person from those available and will only interview them. If the randomly selected person is aged 16 or 17 and still living with parent(s) or guardian(s), consent will be required.

The interviewer is able to enter your answers to the survey questions straight onto a laptop. The interview should take around 45 minutes, depending on the answers given.

A small proportion of interviews are checked to ensure that the interviewer acted in a professional manner and that the information given was recorded accurately. You may receive a phone call or letter to confirm this.

The interviewer

All interviewers involved in Taking Part work carry photo identification.

Currently two organisations are working on the Taking Part survey. You can contact the relevant organisation to check that the interviewer who calls at your home is one of our interviewers using the contact details provided in your advance letter or leaflet, or using the contact details given below. The organisations are:

  • Ipsos MORI
  • NatCen Social Research

Interviewing children for the survey

As part of the survey we are also talking to children. We need to understand how much time they spend doing sports and cultural activities both in and out of school so that we can improve the opportunities available to them.

If the person chosen for interview is the parent or guardian of a child aged 5-10, we would like to ask them about their child’s interests. If there is a child aged 11-15 at the address, we would like them to take part in their own short interview. The interviewer will ask for permission from the parent or guardian before doing the interview.

The child interview will be considerably shorter than the adult interview (approximately 10 minutes for a 5-10 interview, and 20 minutes for an 11-15 interview).

The Taking Part Web Panel

At the end of your interview you will be invited to join the Taking Part Web Panel, so that you can continue to tell us about the things you do through short online questionnaires. If you agree to join the panel, you will receive an email or text asking you to go online and complete a 5 minute Welcome Questionnaire. After this you will be asked to complete four short questionnaires per year. These will cover the things you do in your spare time and how you feel about them. You will receive gift vouchers as a thank you after completing each additional questionnaire.

Your participation is completely voluntary, but we hope you will be able to help us. By joining the web panel, you will help us understand how and why the activities you participate in and your views change (or stay the same) over time.

Even if you do not want to join the web panel, the information you have provided in your initial interview will still be very valuable.


The statistics produced will not identify you or anyone in your household. Your answers will be combined with those of all others who take part in the survey. Your name and address will only be known to the team processing the survey results at Ipsos MORI and NatCen Social Research, and to the Taking Part survey team in DCMS (for example using postcodes to group together the answers for everyone living in particular areas). We will not pass on your details to any other organisation without your agreement. De-identified survey information may be provided to other government departments, and approved partner organisations or researchers for statistical purposes only. As organisations change over time, it is not possible to give a complete list of all of DCMS’s future partner organisations, but these currently include Sport England, the Arts Council for England, and Historic England. All information will be processed in compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation for the performance of official authority and public interest.

Who is conducting the survey

From 1 April 2016, Ipsos MORI and NatCen Social Research are carrying out the survey on behalf of The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and three of its partner organisations:

These partner organisations have a role in the processes of national government but are not part of a government department.

Ipsos MORI is one of the best known survey organisations in the UK. It carries out research studies in the areas of social and public policy, covering topics such as sport, culture, health, science, education, crime and employment. Ipsos MORI is a completely independent research agency and abides by the Market Research Society code of conduct in every respect.

More information about Ipsos MORI

NatCen Social Research have been carrying out high quality social research for over 40 years. They are a non-profit organisation, independent of all government departments and political parties.

More information about NatCen


Both organisations have an information line for members of the public who have been asked to do the Taking Part survey:

Ipsos MORI

Tel: 0808 202 4971


Interviewer ID check (office hours) Tel: 020 7347 3268

NatCen Social Research

Tel: 0800 526 397


Interviewer ID check (office hours) Tel: 0800 526 397

Data Protection and Privacy Notice

For general information on how DCMS handles personal data, please read DCMS’s personal information charter.

More detailed information about how your personal data is processed, as well as your rights under the data protection legislation, is available in the Privacy Notice for the Taking Part Survey.

For any data protection queries please contact the DCMS Data Protection Officer: or call 0808 202 4971.

The Information Commissioner’s Office have produced a guide to your rights. If you are not happy with the way we are processing your data, you have the right to lodge a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office about our practices, or you can call their helpline on 0303 123 1113.


For general queries about the questionnaire and survey outputs, please contact the Taking Part team at DCMS:

Published 27 February 2013
Last updated 10 December 2018 + show all updates
  1. We have added a link to the Taking Part privacy notice.

  2. First published.