Consultations and surveys

Contacting you for research

What we do

We sometimes commission research organisations to carry out consultations and surveys about council services on our behalf. The research organisation makes contact with thousands of people in the borough. They rely on the goodwill and cooperation of individuals so they can collect representative views and opinions.

You could be contacted by telephone as part of a research study.

When a research organisation calls you on our behalf, they:
  • will not sell, market or provide any details for any goods or services
  • will ask you to take part in a genuine research study

If you do not want to be contacted: 

  • email us your telephone number
  • when we commission future research we'll ask the organisation to exclude that number from their study
  • we will store the phone number on a database and will only use it to let research organisations know not to use it
  • we will not use the phone number for any other reason

Where we get phone numbers from

Telephone numbers are generated using a process known as 'random digit dialling'. This ensures we reach a genuine cross section of the public. A phone number is generated by randomly adding the last set of digits to area codes and exchange numbers. Nothing is known about the phone number apart from the approximate location based on the area code and telephone exchange. The number could be a public telephone box, business or fax machine etc. 

Phone numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or BT Privacy Service

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 affect who can contact you without asking you first (cold calling).

If you have registered your phone number with TPS or the BT Privacy Service, that should stop sales or marketing companies from calling you. But the law does not affect calls made for research purposes. So we could still call you even if you are registered with TPS or BT's service. 

When carrying out research studies we need to make sure that those who take part represent the target audience. If we exclude those registered with TPS or BT's service we could bias the results. We would also take away your chance to take part in a study, the results of which may affect policies or services you use.

Keeping your information safe

We take our responsibilities for the security and confidentiality of your information very seriously. We take every care to ensure that we comply with our legal, regulatory and ethical obligations, including The Data Protection Act 1998.

If we contact you by phone for research purposes, we will tell you:
  • what the research study is about
  • how the information you supply will be used in that research 
  • about your rights to ignore any question you are not comfortable with
  • about your rights to change your mind and not take part at any time during the interview
You will not receive junk mail or unsolicited sales calls as a result of taking part in any of our studies.