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Why would an ONS Survey ask about 1 employee only?

Why would an ONS Survey ask about 1 employee only out of 30 the business employs?

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I always worry about these ONS surveys where they focus on one employee of an organisation. Is the ONS being used as a tool by other Government Departments to snoop on people. Asking for their home address and personal details, working hours. Seems suspect. Any thoughts?

Replies (13)

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By accountaholic
20th May 2022 13:22

I wouldn't worry about it.
I've seen surveys about the same person repeatedly over a period of years, and others just one time. I've no idea why certain names are picked out.

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
20th May 2022 14:31

I have a PSC client that gets one every year, sent by post, with a second copy sent if they ignore it. Complete waste of time!

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By Hugo Fair
20th May 2022 14:42

Which ONS survey are you talking about (that asks for details of only one employee)?

The full list is at the bottom of https://www.ons.gov.uk/surveys/informationforbusinesses/aboutonsbusiness...

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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
20th May 2022 17:48

I still get these every month from ONS - I just answer 'not sure' top every question!

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By More unearned luck
20th May 2022 19:04

I'm curious, who chooses the employee in question, the ONS or the employer? If the former how does the ONS know that your client employs Alexey Stakhanov? Does the ONS get data from HMRC? What are the selection criteria? Perhaps the most productive is one of them.

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By noodles
20th May 2022 20:14

I get one to complete about myself each year. No idea why I got picked.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
21st May 2022 19:31

Are you "required" to provide the information or merely "requested" ?

If required, provide it. If requested, please yourself.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By DKB-Sheffield
21st May 2022 21:07

It's required (apparently)

"Under the provisions of Section 4 of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947, failure to return the completed questionnaire could result in a fine of up to £2,500"

I admit, I've not read s4 of the STA 1947, nor do I have any stats on how many £2,500 fines were issued (suspect very few, given I also believe very few £5,000 fines are issued for non-submission of a CS01 - "it's the cheapest way to dissolve a company" often being banded about - including on here!), or what the actual level of compliance is.

What I do know is that where clients have ignored them in the past (sending them in with their annual accounting info some 18 months after the request), they've received a few reminders, followed by complete radio silence (and no further requests the following year!).

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
RLI
By lionofludesch
21st May 2022 23:50

Whether or not that's true, I'm not sure that I'd be comfortable recommending not responding on that basis.

I might provide the information and let the client decide, I suppose.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By DKB-Sheffield
22nd May 2022 00:33

Oh no... it wasn't a recommendation! Just an observation.

(I'd also never recommend defaulting on CS01 filing to close a company for that matter!)

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Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
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By Hugo Fair
22nd May 2022 11:10

Of course. And, as per the link I provided near the start of this thread, the penalties with ONS can get worse:

* Most ONS business surveys are conducted under Section 1 of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947, so your business is required by law to provide the information requested.
* There is no appeal process, nor can you be exempt from selection for ONS business surveys.
* Failure to comply could lead to prosecution at a Magistrates Court with a fine up to a maximum of £2,500 (last updated by section 17 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991). [If this happens you will still need to complete the questionnaire.]
* All business surveys have a deadline by which data must be submitted in order for it to be used for statistical purposes. Although ONS itself does not levy fines for late receipt of data, failure to supply data in a timely way could ultimately result in court action which could result in penalties of up to £2,500.
* To knowingly provide false information [or to provide it recklessly] is an offence under the Section 4 of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947 which can result in legal action.
On conviction, penalties incurred can vary from a maximum of £4,000 and /or three months imprisonment, to an unlimited fine and two years imprisonment!

Not sure how a range can be from a maximum to something greater than that ... but I'd rather not find out the hard way.

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Routemaster image
By tom123
23rd May 2022 07:47

I always assume ONS pick outliers in some way?

I currently work in a school, and have just done the survey for one of our invigilators, who has ad-hoc hours.

The survey was "Annual Survey of Hours and Employment"

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Replying to tom123:
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By Hugo Fair
23rd May 2022 09:06

Your 'outlier' concept is unlikely since that would only skew results, which are meant to "monitor the economy, and monitor the government's performance and gain a better understanding of the UK economy".

"Businesses are selected from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), which is a register of businesses in the UK that are registered for PAYE, VAT or with Companies House.
Selection depends on several factors, for example, number of people employed, how many other businesses are operating in the same industry and the size of those businesses."

So, however the mysterious algorithms perform within the selection process, the intention is to maximise balance and integrity within the results. Clear as mud!

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