Family Resources Survey
The Family Resources Survey (FRS) is a continuous survey which has been carried out in Great Britain (GB) since October 1992. From April 2002 the FRS has been extended to include Northern Ireland (NI), enabling information to be collected on a UK-wide basis.
The FRS was set up, initially, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with the aim of helping to improve the quality of the information used by Government. In NI the Department for Social Development (DSD) has commissioned Central Survey Unit (CSU) to carry out the fieldwork for the survey. In February 2002 CSU ran a small-scale pilot survey to test some minor changes made to the GB version of the FRS questionnaire. The amendments were made in consultation with DSD and were necessary to ensure certain sections of the questionnaire were applicable to NI.
The survey asks about the living conditions and resources of UK households, focusing mainly on income, receipt of social security benefits, housing costs, care/child care costs and savings/assets. Such information is needed to inform decisions on how the budget available to the DWP/DSD should be shared among the many competing claims on its resources.
Use of the survey
The Government requires information about the effects of its decisions made in relation to taxes and social security benefits on families and individuals, particularly if it is considering any changes to current policy. For example, if a change to taxes or benefits is being considered, the Government could identify, from FRS data, the type of households that might be better off or which might lose out as a result. It could also determine how much, in financial terms, any change would cost or save the country overall. For this reason information is collected from all sections of the population; families with children and those without, retired people, disabled people, those who are in work and those not.
DSD will be following the publication schedule set down by DWP. The UK FRS Report and NI FRS Report are due for release in March/April each year with the HBAI report due in October/November. Links to these reports can be found in the ´Publications´ section.