UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Community Life Survey Experimental Online Data, 2015-2016: Special Licence Access

Title details

SN: 8125
Title: Community Life Survey Experimental Online Data, 2015-2016: Special Licence Access
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-8125-1
Series: Community Life Survey [Community Life Surveys, 2012/13- : Special Licence Access]
Depositor: Cabinet Office
Principal investigator(s): Cabinet Office
Data collector(s): TNS BMRB
Kantar Operations
Sponsor(s): Cabinet Office


The citation for this study is:

Cabinet Office. (2017). Community Life Survey Experimental Online Data, 2015-2016: Special Licence Access. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 8125,

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Subject Categories

Charities, voluntary organisations and voluntary work - Social welfare policy and systems
Community and urban studies - Society and culture
Social attitudes and behaviour - Society and culture


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The Community Life Survey was first commissioned by the Cabinet Office in 2012-2013. It is a household survey conducted in England, tracking the latest trends and developments across areas key to encouraging social action and empowering communities, including:
  • volunteering and charitable giving;
  • views about the local area;
  • community cohesion and belonging;
  • community empowerment and participation;
  • influencing local decisions and affairs; and
  • subjective well-being
Up to 2015-16, the survey used a face-to-face methodology. Following thorough testing, the CLS moved to an online and paper mixed-method approach from 2016-17 onwards (a paper self-completion questionnaire being available as an alternative to the online survey), with an end to previous current face-to-face method. The objectives of the survey are to: The objectives of the survey are to:
  • provide robust, nationally representative data on behaviours and attitudes within communities to inform and direct policy and action in these areas;
  • to provide data of value to all users, including public bodies, external stakeholders and the public; and
  • underpin further research and debate on building stronger communities
The Community Life Survey incorporates a small number of priority measures from the Citizenship Survey, which ran from 2001-2011, conducted by the Department for Communities and Local Government. These measures were incorporated in the Community Life Survey so that trends in these issues could continue to be tracked over time. (The full Citizenship Survey series is held at the UK Data Archive under GNs 33347 and 33474.)

Further information may be found on the Community Life Survey website.

The Community Life Survey Experimental Online Data, 2015-2016 includes the Special Licence data gathered from an online alternative to the face-to-face survey and comprising a sample of 3,256 adults. Data from a postal version of the questionnaire, which was included in a targeted 50% of second reminder mailing packs, is also contained in the dataset. This questionnaire covered the same topics as the online survey but was reduced in length. Full details can be found in the Web Survey Technical Report which is available in the Documentation section below.

End User Licence and Special Licence data
Users should note that there are two versions of each Community Life Survey Experimental Online Data experimental online dataset. One is available under the standard End User Licence (EUL) agreement, and the other is a Special Licence (SL) version. The SL version contains more detailed variables relating to: social class; ethnicity; religion; sexual identity and lower level geographical classifications.

The SL data have more restrictive access conditions than those made available under the standard EUL. Prospective users of the SL version will need to complete an extra application form and demonstrate to the data owners exactly why they need access to the additional variables in order to get permission to use that version. Therefore, users are strongly advised to order the standard version of the data.

The standard EUL version of the Community Life Survey Experimental Online Data, 2015-2016 is held under SN 8124.

Main Topics:
The survey covers measures that are key to understanding our society and local communities such as volunteering, charitable giving, neighbourhood, civic engagement, social action and subjective well-being.

The Community Life Survey Experimental Online Data: Special Licence Access data file includes the following extra variables:
  • SOC2010 Sub-Major Group
  • Ethnic group: 6 categories
  • Whether practising for each religion
  • Respondent religion: 7 categories (Jewish included in other)
  • Practice status for each religion
  • Ethno-Religious groups: 11 categories
  • Respondent sexual identity: 3 categories
  • Rural and Urban Area Classification 2004
  • ONS Ward Classification: Subgroup (2001 Wards)
  • ONS District Level Classification: Subgroup (2011)
  • Output Area Classification: Subgroup 76 categories.
  • Coverage, universe, methodology

    Dates of fieldwork: July 2015 - March 2016
    Country: England
    Spatial units: Countries
    Government Office Regions
    Observation units: Individuals
    Kind of data: Numeric data
    Individual (micro) level
    Universe: National
    Adults (aged 16 years and over) resident in England, during 2015-2016.
    Time dimensions: Repeated cross-sectional study
    Sampling procedures: Multi-stage stratified random sample
    Number of units: 3,256 cases
    Method of data collection: Postal survey
    Online (web-based) survey
    Weighting: Weighting used. See documentation for details.

    Thesaurus search on keywords

    Administrative and access information

    Date of release:
    First edition: 05 January 2017
    Copyright: Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland
    Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage.
    Additional special conditions of use also apply. See terms and conditions for further information. In addition, the UK Data Service is required to request permission from the depositor prior to supplying the data.

    Please note:
    Since these data pose a higher risk of disclosure than data made available under the standard End User Licence they have additional special conditions attached to them that take the form of a Special Licence (SL). The SL requires the completion of an additional application form, agreement to the conditions of the SL, the signature(s) of the researcher(s), and the explicit permission of the data owners to release the data to the researcher(s). This is to ensure that the guarantee of confidentiality given to survey respondents is protected. SL applications are screened by the UK Data Archive and the data owners and data are only released to those researchers requiring data for statistical research purposes and who can justify their need for the SL data.

    Researchers are required to keep the data under conditions of greater security than required under the standard End User Licence. The Microdata Handling and Security: Guide to Good Practice explains how to meet these conditions.
    Availability: UK Data Service
    Contact: Get in touch


    Title File Name Size (KB)
    Web Questionnaire, 2015-16 8125_cl1516_web_questionnaire_final.pdf 2811
    Web Survey Technical Report, 2015-16 8125_community_life_web_survey_technical_report_2015-16_final.pdf 3089
    UK Data Archive Data Dictionary 8125_ukda_data_dictionary.pdf 509
    Study information and citation UKDA_Study_8125_Information.htm 6
    READ File read8125.htm 10


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