This page explains how we manage the release of information from the Scottish Household Survey, including arrangements for publication of summary results and access by users to the SHS database.
SHS and National Statistics
Outputs from the Scottish Household Survey are part of National Statistics. As such, the management of the survey and the release of information is governed by the National Statistics Code of Practice and Protocols. For further information, please refer to:
In support of this, Statistics Reform is the Scottish Government's programme to improve statistical services in Scotland. This programmes identifies needs to recognise more clearly what statistics are needed to meet public needs, ensure that we have standards appropriate to Scotland for managing statistics, and developing new arrangements for the sharing and production of statistics across all levels of government - not just central government.
The SHS fully supports the commitment to enhancing the quality of our statistics, through continuous improvement of our processes.
Internal data access and management prior to publication
The SHS contractors provide the Scottish Government with a cumulative dataset. This contains the results for the main part of the survey for the calendar year up to a particular quarter (provided three months after the end of that quarter).
Once this has been received and some basic data validation carried out, that quarter's data (and any revisions to the data for any previous quarters) are made available on the SHS database to Scottish Government lead analysts to allow them to carry out analysis and explore data for quality assurances purposes.
Because the processing of the more specialised Travel Diary data is more complex, the contractors supply them to a later timetable. In consequence, the Travel Diary results become available at a later stage in the year.
As with all National Statistics data, any other access to and use of the data within the Scottish Government is restricted as set out in the Scottish Government Compliance Statement on the published NS protocol.
Release timing and arrangements
Following initial validation checks on the data, a short Quarterly Trends Statistics Publication Notice is published on the SG website. This gives a brief summary of some of the key trends from the survey, and may also include a brief note on some questions added recently to the survey. This ensures that we meet the National Statistics requirement for orderly release as soon as possible after compilation.
Once we have published this key summary information, SHS data for the quarter are publicly available and can be used to answer requests for information, for example from policy colleagues, members of the public and in response to Scottish Parliamentary Questions.
The timetable for the provision and publication of the main survey data for the first three quarters of the calendar year is therefore:
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Data provided to Scottish Government
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by 1 July
by 1 October
by 1 January
Statistics Publication Notice published
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As indicated earlier, the timetable for the Travel Diary data is later.
The arrangements for the publication of the data for the final quarter of the calendar year (and hence for the calendar year as a whole) are different: there is no Statistics Publication Notice for the fourth quarter.
Following delivery of the final quarter's data for a year, the first release of SHS results for the year as a whole is the Annual Report, which is published in August. This gives a more detailed description of key trends from the survey, and is accompanied by a detailed Technical Report that describes the survey methodology and issues affecting interpretation of the survey data.
Access to SHS database
Annual SHS datasets are made available for users, mainly through the deposit of anonymised datasets to the UK Data Archive and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA). Our aim is to deposit the annual SHS datasets with the Data Archive and CoSLA within a month of publication of the Annual Report. For more information, please see:
Again, because of the specialised nature of the data, and the complexity of the processing required, the Travel Diary data are deposited later.
For further information or requests for specific analyses or extracts from the database, please contact the SHS Project Team.
Other publications from SHS data
SHS supports a wide range of statistical and other analytical publications by the Scottish Government. National Statistics outputs which draw on SHS data also comply with the National Statistics Code of Practice and Protocols. For further information please see: