Active Lives Survey

Frequently Asked Questions

About the survey

Why is this survey taking place?
The Active Lives Survey has been designed to gather information to help various government agencies decide how to invest in organisations and projects that will be of benefit to you, your family and your community.

The survey includes questions about a range of issues, such as how long you have spent doing certain leisure activities and other questions about your lifestyle.

Who is this actually from?
The Active Lives Survey is being carried out by Ipsos, an independent survey agency, on behalf of Sport England and the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities.

Sport England is a non-departmental public body under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Its role is to build the foundations of a community sport system by working with national governing bodies of sport, and other funded partners, to grow the number of people doing sport; sustain participation levels; and help more talented people from all diverse backgrounds excel by identifying them early, nurturing them, and helping them move up to the elite level. You can find out more about Sport England on its website:

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is the national public health agency working to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing, supporting people to protect and improve their own health. For more information visit:

When is the survey sent out?
The survey is sent out every month.

Why is this survey happening again?
The Active Lives Survey measures the number of adults taking part in sport and leisure activities across England. Providing the most comprehensive and authoritative picture of culture and leisure participation in England, the Active Lives Survey is central to Sport England's measurement of its own strategy and the performance of key partners.

Who designed the questionnaire?
The core of this questionnaire was developed by Ipsos in conjunction with Sport England.

What is Ipsos?
Ipsos is a registered and independent survey organisation and strictly adheres to the Market Research Society's ethical code of conduct. Ipsos who you may have previously known as Ipsos MORI is the second largest research organisation in the UK. Ipsos was awarded the new international process Standard ISO 20252 and the International Standard for Information Security ISO 27001 by the accredited assessment body Marketing Quality Assurance (MQA), the first survey agency in the world to achieve both of these standards. For more information about Ipsos please go to

Taking part

Why was I sent a questionnaire?
You have been sent a questionnaire because you were randomly selected from the postcode address file (PAF). PAF is a collection of over 29 million Royal Mail postal addresses and 1.8 million postcodes. About 40,000 to 60,000 addresses in England are selected monthly for each wave of the Active Lives Survey.

There is only one person aged 16 or over in my household, can I share the second password or questionnaire with a friend or relative?
If you are the only person aged 16 or over, then we only want you to complete the questionnaire. We choose households to take part in the Active Lives Survey at random. It is important that everyone has an equal chance of being chosen to take part so please do not share your questionnaire with anyone who does not live in your household.

There are more than two people aged 16 or over in my household
If there are more than two people aged 16 or over in your household, then any two of those people can complete the questionnaire.

I don't have access to the internet but I want to take part
We will post a paper version of the questionnaire approximately four weeks after the first invitation letter along with a prepaid envelope to allow you to post it back to us at no extra cost to you.

Why haven't I received a questionnaire and how do I get one?
The questionnaire is being sent to a random selection of people in England. To ensure the survey is valid, Ipsos cannot send questionnaires to people who have not already been selected at random to take part in the survey.

I am not involved in any physical exercise. Can I still take part in the survey?
The aim of the Active Lives Survey is to measure activity levels across England. Regardless of how active you are, your response would be valuable and appreciated as it can help us better understand the needs of people in various circumstances.

Who should I contact if I don't want to take part?
Taking part is completely voluntary, but we hope you will take part as this will give us the best possible picture of sport and leisure participation in England. If you do not wish to take part, you do not need to do anything, although you may still receive up to three reminders from us. If you would like to avoid receiving further reminders about the Active Lives Survey, you can opt out of this survey by either:

Calling Ipsos' survey helpline on 0808 129 6801

OR emailing Ipsos at

Please be ready to provide your unique 14-digit reference number, address and postcode so we can opt you out of further communication. The reference number is located on the top of the letter and the bottom of the first page of the questionnaire. You do not need to post back your letter or questionnaire.

Do you contact people in any other way to take part in the survey?
The Active Lives Survey is a voluntary survey that you can complete online or as a paper survey (which will be sent to you around four weeks after the initial invitation). No one will approach you at home or by telephone to ask you to complete the survey. Of course, there will be a range of other surveys being conducted by Ipsos or other research companies at any one time, some of which may ask similar questions to those within this survey. If someone does say they are calling or visiting you specifically asking you to complete the 'Active Lives Survey', it is strongly recommended that you do not speak to them or let them into your house, and that you contact the police.

If you have any further questions about being contacted for the survey, you can contact the Ipsos survey helpline on 0808 129 6801.

How much are calls to 0808 numbers?
All calls to 0808 telephone numbers are free when made from a standard UK landline phone or mobile.

Completing the survey

How do I complete the survey?
You can complete the question online by following the instructions in the letter you have received or via the paper survey you've been sent in the post. If you have not received a paper questionnaire yet, you will receive this around four weeks after the initial invitation.

Do I have to answer all the questions?
Answering these questions is completely voluntary, so you don't have to. We hope you will take part, as this will give us the best possible picture.

Can I complete the survey in another language?
You can also complete the survey in another language by calling the following telephone numbers:

Polish - 0808 129 6802

Punjabi - 0808 129 6803

Urdu - 0808 129 6804

Bengali - 0808 129 6805

Gujarati - 0808 129 6806

Please note that only one response per person can be accepted.

I've made a mistake on the paper questionnaire, what do I do?
We would still like you to send your completed questionnaire even if you have made a mistake. Please just completely fill in the box for the incorrect answer and then select the correct box.

Can I help someone fill in the questionnaire?
Yes, that's fine. If a friend or a relative needs your help in filling in the questionnaire, you can offer help. But the answers should be about their experience only.

How can I claim my £5 gift voucher?
This depends on how you fill in the questionnaire. If you answer using the paper version of the questionnaire, we will post your £5 Love2Shop gift voucher to you approximately six weeks after we receive your questionnaire. The Love2Shop gift voucher can be used in a wide range of high street stores and attractions.

If you have completed the survey online, you will be asked for your email address. We request email addresses because this is the most practical process for Active Lives Survey participants to redeem e-vouchers – should they complete the questionnaire online.

We will then pass your email address to a third-party supplier who will send you an email from within seven days containing a personalised link to a website. You can use this link to select a £5 gift voucher of your choice from a variety of retailers, restaurants and entertainment services.

For more details on where you can spend the voucher please go to Once you have selected your gift voucher it will be emailed to you within ten working days..

If you do not receive your voucher within ten working days please check your junk or spam folder in case the email containing the voucher was filtered out of your inbox.

The online survey

Where can I find my password for completing the survey online?
The password for completing the survey online is printed on the first page of the invitation letter you should have received.

I've lost my login details needed to complete the survey online. Can I have these again?
If you do not complete the survey and you have not contacted us, we will send reminder letters with these details included. Your password will be printed on the first page of the letter. Alternatively, you can email us at and we can find out your login details using your address or unique 14-digit reference number.

Can I take a break part way through completing the survey online?
Yes, when completing the survey online your progress saves automatically. You can close the browser window containing the survey whenever you like - your progress will be saved. When you're ready to continue filling in the survey, simply return to the survey login page via, log in with your details, and you'll be returned to where you left off.

Please make sure you allow 15 minutes between closing the browser and logging back on again.

The paper survey

What happens if I have difficulties completing the survey on paper?
Ipsos provides a survey helpline for participants with difficulties completing the questionnaire. Please call 0808 129 6801.

Participants who prefer not to complete the questionnaire on paper can complete the questionnaire online via the link on Please note however, that only one response per participant can be accepted.

I've lost my questionnaire, can you send me another copy?
You can complete the survey online using the details printed on the front of the letter. We will send two copies of the postal questionnaire with the third letter. If you have misplaced your copy, we unfortunately cannot resend them. However, you will still have the option of completing the survey online using the login details on the front of the letter.

Do I need to send the letter back?
No, you only need to send your completed questionnaire back in the postage paid envelope provided.

When do I need to send the questionnaire back by?
Please return your completed questionnaire as soon as you can.

Confidentiality and data protection

How did you get my address?
You have been sent a questionnaire because you were randomly selected from the postcode address file (PAF). PAF is a collection of over 29 million Royal Mail postal addresses and 1.8 million postcodes. About 40,000 to 60,000 addresses in England have been selected for this wave of the Active Lives Survey.

Will I be identifiable in the results?
No, identifiable individual answers will not be seen by anyone outside of Ipsos. Only anonymous statistical results will be provided to Sport England. No one outside of Ipsos will know who questionnaires have been sent to or returned by. Hawk Incentives will only receive and use your name and address to send you your gift voucher. They will not contact you for any other reasons or pass your data to anyone else.

What precautions for data protection/confidentiality have been taken?
Data will be used for research purposes only and in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Ipsos will securely remove your personal data from its systems after 24 months. A full Privacy Policy, setting out your rights including accessing, amending and deleting data, is available at or on request. Ipsos will store your information securely and keep it confidential. Your name, address and email will be kept separate from your answers and will not be passed on to any other organisation. Only anonymous data will be reported.

Ipsos, the administrator of the survey, strictly adheres to the Market Research Society Code of Conduct and the Data Protection Act, and uses all personal information in a responsible and secure manner. Stringent measures have been taken to ensure personal data is securely stored and seen only by the personnel directly involved in the project. After two years, Ipsos will destroy all personal data securely.

Contact us

If you would like any further details about the survey you can email us at or leave a voicemail message on 0808 129 6801 with your unique 14 digit reference number, which is located on the top of the letter and on the questionnaire.

If you prefer British Sign Language, you can access a video version of these FAQs here: click here