The survey is provided on a secure website created and managed by the researchers: ScotCen for primary schools and Ipsos Mori for secondary schools.

This privacy notice explains how and why we collect data through the Children’s Wellbeing Surveys, how we use it and what we do to protect the information collected.

Why has my child been chosen to take part in this survey?

All pupils in P5-S4 within the Scottish local authority areas participating in RCS will be asked to complete the surveys. The information from the surveys will enable communities to make better-informed decisions about services for children.

Who is collecting the data?

The Scottish Government is the data controller for the Children’s Wellbeing Surveys and the linked survey and administrative dataset.

ScotCen Social Research, an independent research organisation (more information about ScotCen can be accessed here:, are the data processors for the primary school pupil survey.

Ipsos MORI, also an independent research organisation (more information about Ipsos MORI can be accessed here: are the data processors for the secondary school pupil survey.

If you would like to contact the RCS team at the Scottish Government then you can do so on:

Telephone number:  0300 244 4000

Address: Child and Adolescent Wellbeing Research, Children and Families Analysis

If you would like to contact the RCS team at ScotCen then you can do so on:

Telephone number:  0131 240 0210

Address: Scotiabank House (2nd Floor), 6 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4AW

If you would like to contact the RCS/SALSUS team at Ipsos MORI Scotland, then you can do so on:

Telephone number:  0131 226 8677

Address: Ipsos MORI Scotland, 4 Wemyss Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6DH

The Children’s Wellbeing Study has been reviewed by the NatCen Social Research Committee and the study has been considered to meet ethical guidelines.

What does taking part involve?

The P5-S4 surveys are questionnaires completed by pupils privately online. It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete for the primary survey and 25 minutes for the secondary. The results from the surveys are brought together with other local authority information and this will then be used to improve services in your local area. This is called data linkage (more information about this is provided below).

When will the surveys take place?

The school surveys for phase 3 took place between January and April 2019. There are no surveys taking place at the moment.

What happens if my child is off school on the day of the survey?

Schools were encouraged to follow up with these pupils to ask them to complete the survey on a different date.

Does my child have to take part?

No. Taking part is entirely voluntary. Even if you are happy for your child to take part, they do not have to take part or to answer all the questions and they can stop at any point in the questionnaire if they do not wish to continue. You may not wish your child to take part in the survey. There will be an information letter with an opt out slip to complete and return to the school if you do not want your child to take part. If your child doesn’t take part they will be given an activity to do on the computer while other pupils complete the survey. No services or help will be withheld because your child doesn’t take part.

Why should my child take part?

The surveys are part of a wider programme, called Realigning Children’s Services (RCS), designed to improve services for children and young people and to make your local area a better place for children to grow up.

What information will be collected?

The questions included in the surveys are all well-established and have been ethically approved for surveys with children of this age and found to be associated with wellbeing. Some of the topics include: local area and activities for children, health, life satisfaction, school enjoyment and relationships with family and friends.

The survey answers will also be linked to some local authoriity administrative records (more information about this is provided below).

What is data linkage in the Children’s Wellbeing Surveys?

Data linkage as part of the Children’s Wellbeing Surveys is done to better understand the wellbeing of pupils in your local authority and the support they receive. It combines pupils’ survey responses about their wellbeing with information about the support they may receive from social work and education services. This will identify, on aggregate, groups of children that are experiencing poor wellbeing and are not formally supported, thereby allowing better targeting of services.

Is the linkage process safe?

Yes. The survey and data linkage method has been successfully applied in the previous waves of the surveys and is secure and safe. It follows the Scottish Government Guiding Principles for Data Linkage, the Government Statistical Service (GSS) guidance on statistical disclosure control and makes use of the infrastructure of the Scottish Informatics Linkage Collaboration (SILC).

National Records of Scotland, the electronic Data Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS) and the local authority are all involved in the data linkage process. However no organisation will ever have access to personal data, survey responses or linked data.

More information about National Records of Scotland can be accessed here:

More information about eDRIS can be accessed here:

Can my child be identified?

No, children cannot be identified. All analysis of the data, including the linked data, is carried out at the population level, which means that findings are presented for groups of children only and not individuals.

The way the data linkage is done protects the identity of each child. The linkage process ensures no single person or organisation has access to both information that can potentially identify the child and their responses to the survey or information about them from education and social work systems. The pseudonymised-matched data is stored in a secure ‘safe haven’, where only approved researchers can access it. Outputs from the data linkage will have additional safeguards put in place using a disclosure control strategy.

Is the linkage legal?

Yes, the linkage follows relevant legislation. The collecting and processing of this information is a proportionate response to perform a task in the public interest (GDPR article 6(1) (e)). It relies on statutory provisions which include reference to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 including Section 8 (1) and Section 9 (2). Special category data about pupils’ self-assessed  general health, physical activity and diet is processed under GDPR Article 9(2)(j).

Can I withdraw my participation in the study?

Yes, you or your child may withdraw their participation in all or part of the study before, during, or immediately after the survey fieldwork (7th April  2019).

Although the Children’s Wellbeing surveys and data linkage do not rely on consent as the lawful basis for processing, informed consent is a fundamental principle of Government Social Research ethical guidelines. We will therefore take active steps to inform pupils and their parents of the purpose of the data linkage, its legal basis and their rights. We will remind potential participants at all relevant key stages that they may withdraw their participation.

Will anyone see my child’s responses?

No one from the school will see their responses and they won’t be asked to type their name or school’s name into the survey. The survey responses are transmitted electronically straight from the computer to the survey contractors (ScotCen in the case of the primary school survey and Ipsos MORI in the case of the secondary school survey).

Your child will be allocated a login number (this is called a ‘unique identifier’) to allow the data linkage to be secure and confidential. This unique identifier is replaced by a number of other anonymous ID’s to ensure the data remains secure. All the information from the survey will always be confidential and secure (this means nobody outside the study team will be able to see it) and it will be impossible to identify anybody from any published results or archived data.

How will the information provided be used?

There is particular interest in looking at children’s health and wellbeing. Basic analysis within each area will be provided by ScotCen Social Research – the contractor for the primary school survey. As part of the Realigning Children’s Services programme, participating Community Planning Partnerships will also be given wider guidance and support in interpreting and using the survey data. This will focus, in particular, on the limits of the data in terms of sample and sub-sample sizes.

The data collected from the surveys will be reported anonymously and it will be impossible for any individual families or children to be identified. As such the surveys will not follow up on particular responses or directly target services for individual children or their families.  The overall findings of the surveys will be used to improve services in your local area.

Data will be deposited in the UK Data Archive. It is then publicly available via specific access requests and agreements about data use. It will adhere to best practice principles on data analysis and data protection with regard to not making variables/sub groups of less than 10 available.

Is the information I provide online safe?

RCS takes its responsibility to keep personal information secure very seriously.  As part of our commitment to the security of your information, ScotCen Social Research and Ipsos MORI both have regular internal and external audits of their information security and are accredited by the International Standard for Information Security, ISO 27001:2005.

Note that ScotCen and Ipsos MORI will not have access to your child’s personal information (this could be any information that would identify your child such as name, date of birth, address).

How long will you keep my child’s data?

Personal data will only be used to safely and securely link your child’s data.

Data will be deposited in the Data Archive, however this data will not contain any information which would result in your child being identified.

What if I wish to complain?

If you believe we have not complied with your data protection rights you can contact Scotcen

Further information on how to lodge a complaint with the Scottish Government can be found on Scottish Government website:

More information about how the Scottish Government deals with personal data including the complaints process can be accessed here:

You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s office at:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Telephone: 0303 123 1113


Where can I find out more?

If you have any further questions you can go to the contacts page on this website for details of the person to get in touch with.