Taking Part Survey

This series brings together all documents relating to Taking Part

Applies to England

Update to the Taking Part Survey

The Taking Part survey was DCMS’ flagship survey for many years, collecting data on how adults and children engage with our sectors. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented face-to-face fieldwork taking place in the 2020/21 (yr 16) survey year and therefore provided an unavoidable break in the survey time series. With the survey contract up for renewal, DCMS has successfully commissioned an interim push-to-web social survey; the Participation survey, to provide data on adult’s engagement in DCMS sectors during 2021/22 at a county and regional level (with an option to extend for 2022/23 and 2023/24). We are pleased to announce that we will be working with Kantar as our survey supplier.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the Participation survey, please contact us at the email address below.

Whilst this interim survey is being prepared and run we continue to review the survey needs of the department and its stakeholders to inform a DCMS survey strategy. As part of this review we invite our stakeholders and data users to help shape our future business and social survey plans and welcome views, particularly around:

  • Population coverage including:
  • Business sectors
  • Age of population (e.g. adults, young people, children)
  • National coverage (e.g. England only, UK wide etc)
  • Mode of survey design including digital exclusion considerations
  • Geographic granularity of data (i.e. at what geographic level are meaningful estimates most useful)
  • Regularity of data reporting
  • Demand for longitudinal data collection

If you would like to share your views then please email by 12th July. Your views will then be considered alongside the needs and requirements of internal DCMS users and our public bodies to inform the survey strategy for future years.

Stakeholder feedback - Taking Part survey

The recent statistical consultation on evidence needs the Taking Part survey is currently addressing, potential improvements and the impact of a change or discontinuation has now closed. The DCMS surveys team are now analysing the responses and will publish a summary of the findings here, which will be used to inform future work.

The consultation on removing questions from the Taking Part Survey ran from November to December 2019. We have published a response here.

The DCMS surveys team continue to welcome feedback on the survey. Please feel free to drop us a line at

The Taking Part survey

The Taking Part survey is a continuous face to face household survey of adults aged 16 and over and children aged 5 to 15 years old in England. It has run since 2005 and is the main evidence source for DCMS and its sectors. The survey’s main objectives are to:

  • provide a central, reliable evidence source that can be used to analyse cultural, digital, and sporting engagement, providing a clear picture of why people do or do not engage.
  • meet the needs and interests of everyone who uses Taking Part data.
  • underpin further research on driving engagement and the value and benefits of engagement. The survey is commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and three partner organisations (Arts Council England, Historic England and Sport England).

Information for survey participants

Participants in the survey are randomly selected from addresses from the Post Office’s list of addresses in England, this ensures results reflect the experiences and views of the whole population. You can find more information for survey participants on the Taking Part: survey participants page.

What the survey covers

The Taking Part survey collects data on engagement in:

  • arts
  • museums and galleries
  • archives
  • libraries
  • heritage
  • sport

It includes information on frequency of participation, reasons for participating, barriers to participation and attitudes to the sectors.

The survey also gathers information on demographics (e.g. age, education), and related areas including: social media use; free time activities; volunteering; charitable giving; and TV and internet use.

In March 2016 DCMS published a strategy outlining proposed developments to the Taking Part survey over the next five years, this includes details of changes to content and methodology.

How to access survey data

Survey data are available in three forms:

Statistical releases

Latest statistical releases for the Taking Part survey can be found on the Taking Part survey statistical releases page.

Statistical releases are National Statistics publications and include biannual releases on trends in key data, published in July and December each year, as well as a series of Focus on reports which look at specific topics in more detail. Dates of upcoming releases are published in the DCMS Official Statistics Release Calendar

Online data analysis tools

A suite of tools has been published to enable users to produce bespoke tables and explore the survey beyond the information available in the headline reports. These tools are in development, and are being published at this stage to allow users to feed into the development process. For more information visit the Taking Part Survey: Data Analysis Tools.

Record-level data

Record-level Taking Part datasets can be accessed via the UK Data Service, University of Essex. These include data from 2005/06 to present, covering adult, child and longitudinal data. Please note that datasets are available for not-for-profit educational and research purposes only.

Further research

Additional research and analysis has been carried out using the Taking Part data by a range of organisations. DCMS funded research is published on

User engagement

To continuously improve the survey DCMS undertakes a series of user engagement surveys and events. Further information can be found on the Taking Part: user engagement page.


To receive updates about Taking Part, including highlighting publications and user events, you can subscribe to the Taking Part newsletter.

Additional Information

All the questionnaires and technical reports from the adult and child Taking Part surveys are published on

A list of ad-hoc statistical releases on the Taking Part survey that have not been included in our standard publications is available here.


We are always interested in hearing your views on the Taking Part survey. Please contact us by email at

Published 31 August 2016
Last updated 24 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Update to the Participation Survey.

  2. Extension of consultation period

  3. Addition of consultation on Taking Part survey review

  4. Addition of link to consultation response for the Taking Part survey

  5. Close of consultation on removing questions from Taking Part

  6. Addition of consultation description

  7. First published.