Big Advice Survey Data

You can download all the Big Advice Survey Data from this page. The Big Advice Survey was conducted across the UK between 1st December 2014 to 31st March 2015. It provides current and unparalleled insight into the types of problems the UK general public is experiencing and its responses to them. It also provides valuable insight into the relationships between advice and health, types of service delivery, mental health, access (including viability of digital delivery) issues, levels of public legal education and how advice services might be delivered and coordinated in the future to best serve their purpose

Copyright, licensing and certification

Big Advice Survey Data is open data. It is made available here under the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and License v1.0 whose full text can be found at: This licence removes all restrictions from the downstream use of the Big Advice Survey Data. The Big Advice Survey Data is self-certified under the Open Data Institute Certification Scheme. You can view the Big Advice Survey Data certification here:


Quality control and reliability

We give no assurances as to the quality or reliability of this data. Data users are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the efforts we went to creating the Big Advice Survey, such as the Survey Logic, the Change Log and our work on Protecting Privacy

Crediting, community norms and using the data

There are no restrictions on our data. However, should you wish to credit us then please feel free to credit or refer to any or all of the following:

You do not need to credit or refer to us in order to use our data

We are not resourced to provide assistance interpreting or further manipulating the data for you. If you have questions about how to do X or achieve Y then please feel free to reply to this article and a community member may be able to help you. You may find some of the open data visualisation tools on this page useful. We welcome any news of people using the data in their work

Coding of qualitative data

All qualitative data has been coded to ease interpretation and manipulation. Individual coding frameworks are included within the spreadsheets themselves. Emily Day of Wandsworth CABx created the coding frameworks and designed the Master Spreadsheets. Coding of all the individual qualitative responses was carried out by a team comprised of Alan Clark (South West London Law Centres), Alison Burrell (Brighton Housing Trust), Joanne Jobling (Calderdale CAB), Jude Deakin (Birmingham CAB), Matt Allbones (Derby CAB and Law Centre), Nancy Rawlings (Hillingdon Association of Voluntary Services), Nicola Smith (Plymouth CAB), Robin Charnley (Haringey CAB), Sha-Kera King (Haringey CAB) and Emily and Patrick


BIG ADVICE SURVEY EXEC SUMMARY (PDF 2.5MB). This is the over-arching summary of all the responses to the quantitative (tick box) questions

Master Datasets



Please note, the Masters are big and complex spreadsheets. You will need a good working knowledge of spreadsheets to use them effectively. Depending on what it is you are trying to achieve, a more practical approach might be to use the Executive Summary above and then cross-reference to the relevant qualitative (written text answer) spreadsheets below

We have removed all identifying information from the datasets, including telephone numbers and names. Despite asking that people not leave such information, a surprising number did. Rather than start trying to subjectively edit individual written answers that contained identifying information we took the approach of removing the whole of that individual text response consistently throughout. In the vast majority of cases we were still able to code the response prior to removal

Qualitative responses – individual spreadsheet per open text box response, coded. Please note, we only created coding frameworks for each of these spreadsheets to make them easier to manage and interpret. Feel free to re-code them as you wish or ignore the coding altogether

Q03: [gender] Which of the following describes how you think of yourself – In another way (please say)

Q07: Have you experienced any problems in the last year with any of the areas below? By problem we mean something that was particularly unwelcome or that caused you some difficulty. Please select all that apply or tick ‘None of these’. If you selected more than one please tell us which was the most unwelcome or caused you the most difficulty

Q09: Were any of the following a concern for you when thinking about dealing with the issue [things like handling paperwork or dealing with authorities face to face]. Please tell us a little more about any of these concerns below

Q11: If medical help was sought because of the issue please tell us who was contacted or visited eg ‘doctor’ or ‘hospital’

Q13: Please tell us where you looked for advice, help or support Select all that apply [this spreadsheet contains all the ‘other’ responses]

Q14: Do you think you got all the advice, help or support you needed to deal with the issue(s) – If you answered ‘No’ or ‘Partly’ please tell us why

Q15: What was the main reason why you didn’t try to get any advice, help or support? [quantitative selection choices were provided – this spreadsheet contains the ‘other’ open text responses]

Q16: [Additional to Q15] You can tell us a little bit more about your answer below if you wish

Q17: If you had looked for and received advice at the time do you think you would have had a better outcome. You can tell us a little more about your choice below

Q18: Have you ever contacted an advice agency for assistance eg a Citizens Advice Bureaux, Law Centre or other voluntary sector advice agency – If you answered ‘not sure’ please tell us why you aren’t sure below

Q20: Do you think the general public will need more or less access to advice agencies like Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres in the next five years? There is space below to tell us a bit more about your choice of answer if you would like to [Advice agency and network names anonymised]

Q21: Who do you think should fund organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, Law Centres and other independent advice agencies? You can select more than one answer if you want to – There is space below to tell us a bit more about your response to this question if you would like to

Q22: What would you think if your local advice agency started charging for some aspects of its work eg so it could assist people at court or in tribunals – There is space below to tell us a bit more about your choice of answer if you would like to

Q23: If an advice agency decided it was going charge for some aspect of its work eg assisting clients in court or tribunal which, if any, would you find the most acceptable – There is space below to tell us a bit more about your choice of answer if you would like to

Q24: If you don’t use the Internet please tell us why below eg ‘I don’t know how to’ or, ‘I can’t afford to’

Q26: If you would not be very confident looking for the information online, you can tell us why below

All the best



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