Why we ask demographic questions
Why do we monitor?
The reason why we ask you these questions is so we can:
- understand you and what you need from our services
- understand better what action we might need to take to improve customer access and experience
- find solutions and make changes
- treat everyone fairly and appropriately
- in consultation, it’s also used so that we can see who in the community is responding to our consultation activities
Your answers help us to make evidence based decisions and identify adjustments based on fact, rather than assumption. Importantly this ensures that your council tax is being spent on the right things.
Your answers are completely anonymous and confidential – your responses will be combined when shared on the consultations result page and any personally identifiable information (such as postcode and email address) will be removed before publication.
If we do ask for any personal details, they will only be used for the purposes stated on the questionnaire and we will ask for your permission before re-contacting you.
The questions in the ‘About You’ section are always optional – we will never force you to provide information about yourself that you are not comfortable in giving and the information is not shared with any of our services
What do the questions mean?
We ask for your age to make sure that we don’t stop anyone from using our services because they are too young or old. It also helps us to see the age breakdown of who is responding to our consultations and see if the responses are representative of the area.
We ask whether you are male or female to make sure that our services meet the needs of everyone. It also helps us to see the breakdown of who is responding to our consultations and if the responses are representative of the area.
People's ethnic backgrounds describes how they think of themselves. This may be based on many things. For example:
- family history
Ethnic background can also include nationality or country of birth. It is not possible to list all of the ethnic groups living in Central Bedfordshire, so we have used the list from the census. It also helps to see a breakdown of who is responding to our consultations and if the responses are representative on the area. We provide an ‘other’ option so that you can describe yourself in a way that you feel comfortable.
Religion and belief
People's beliefs describe how they think of themselves and how they choose to live their life. This can impact people’s choices for our services such as school choice, registrar services, and healthcare. It is not possible to list all of the religions/beliefs of residents in Central Bedfordshire, so we have used the list from the census. It also helps to see a breakdown of who is responding to our consultations and if the responses are representative on the area. We provide an ‘other’ option so that you can describe yourself in a way that you feel comfortable.
In law, the definition of disability is: “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry our normal day-to-day activities”. An ‘impairment’ is an “injury, illness or condition that causes a loss or difference of physical or mental function. Disability comes from barriers in society that impact on this impairment.” Long term is “more than 12 months. ‘Day-to-day’ activities include getting washed or dressed, reading or writing, household tasks, having a conversation, walking or travelling, and socialising.” We ask about disability as you might need to access services differently compared to able-bodied residents.
It may seem very personal to ask questions relating to sexual orientation, but there is evidence which indicates that lesbian, gay and bisexual people may sometimes be very wary of accessing public services and the treatment that they will receive. We therefore need to try to check if this is the case locally.
There is evidence which indicates that people who are proposing to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) to reassign their gender by changing physiological or other attributes of gender can experience discrimination and may be reluctant to access services. It is therefore important that we check that we are meeting people’s needs.
Sometimes we ask what your occupation is (if you’re employed, on long-term sick, etc.) This is so that we can ensure services are accessible to our residents.
Sometimes we ask if you are a carer (if you provide unpaid support to family or friends). We ask this because carers often experience ill-health, mental stress and difficulties with work or education because of their responsibilities. They may also access services differently due to caring commitments.
Sometimes we ask if you are a member of the armed forces. This also includes anyone who has served in the UK reserve / auxiliary forces. We ask this because people who are or have served in the armed forces may experience a higher prevalence of physical and mental health problems, alcohol misuse and increased risk of self-harm and suicide. People leaving the forces can find it hard to move into civilian life and to find suitable employment and accommodation. They may also access services differently due to serving in the armed forces.
If you would like more information, please contact us:
Telephone: 0300 300 5334
Remember: it’s all confidential and anonymous. We ask you these questions so that we can improve our services for you.