How to use the LS

It is the ONS' policy that the LS be used as easily as is consistent with maintaining the confidentiality of the data. The necessity for confidentiality means that all analysis of individual records must take place on the ONS computer and only statistical abstracts or tabulations can be released to the user. To ensure this, ONS monitors both requests to use the LS and the resulting analysis.

For this reason formal channels have been established for requests for access to the LS for research purposes, and two teams of support staff have been identified to assist users: the ONS LS Unit and CeLSIUS.

Potential academic and governmental users (i.e. those working or studying in the UK Higher Education sectors or government offices) should initially approach the CeLSIUS team. If you are interested in using the LS, please follow our Step-by-step guide to using the LS.

Other users should contact:

Microdata Analysis User Support (MAUS), Room 4200E, Segensworth Road, Titchfield, Fareham, Hampshire PO15 5RR

Tel: +44(0) 1329 447871 

Email: maus@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Where are the data accessible?

The LS databases are kept under high security at ONS. Only ONS or CeLSIUS staff can directly access the LS databases to produce data extracts. If you are staff or student in a UK higher education institution, CeLSIUS staff can extract your data, run your analyses and release results to you. These results will be in the form of tabulations, models or aggregated datasets; individual-level data is never released.

Alternatively, users can go to ONS to analyse individual-level data directly. ONS or CeLSIUS staff will extract a dataset suitable for your purposes which you can analyse in the ONS office in Pimlico, London. It may be possible for users to visit ONS offices in Titchfield (Hampshire) or Newport (Wales) instead, but this is not guaranteed. Results which can be released from any ONS office will be subject to the same constraints as mentioned above - they may be tabulations, models or aggregated datasets but not individual-level data.

In both ways of working the process is iterative and fresh extracts can be made or fresh analyses carried out, as your research ideas develop.

How do I find out about the variables in the LS?

Most researchers begin by checking the questions asked in the census forms. The 2,800 plus variables available in the LS, up to and including the 2001 Census, are described in this online data dictionary. A provisional, revised version that includes some 2011 Census variables is available here in zipped form - you will need Microsoft Access software to use it. 

The "metadata" (information about data) in the data dictionary include details of the range of each variable and relevant references to the LS Technical Volume (LS series no. 7) and other publications on the source and quality of the data.

Page last modified on 26 feb 15 14:25 by Joanne Tomlinson