For ISTAT it is important that households know properly the surveys that the Institute carries out and their purpose. This is because the data collected through the surveys are a collective good and have public value; furthermore, better knowledge can promote households’ participation and improve the quality of the data.
To this end, especially in recent years, increasing attention has been paid to disseminating information linked not only to the data provided but also to the production process and the collective interest to which the statistical information responds.
To ensure adequate information and be guaranteed the respect of statistical privacy, the families that take part in the sample receive an informative letter; they can also contact a toll-free number to ask for clarifications on the survey.
The letter: Istat’s first contact with households
ISTAT’s first contact with the selected household takes place through the information letter signed by the President, sent to the households a few days before the interviewer’s visit (and the interviewer who goes to the household takes a copy with him to show to the household in case he has not received it). One of the purposes of the letter is to notify the family of its participation in the survey and to assure them of the authenticity and reliability of the survey.
To achieve these goals, the letter:
- provides information about the contents of the survey;
- specifies that the extraction was carried out with a random method from the lists of municipal registry offices;
- points out that participation is mandatory;
- highlights the importance of the survey and of household participation;
- briefly explains the methods of collecting information;
- communicates the availability of the toll-free number;
- reassures on the respect of privacy and the most strict anonymity.
The letter is addressed to the holder of the family form (ISF) but contains an invitation to communicate its contents to all family members.
The toll-free number
The letter indicates a toll-free number (800 123 508) to which families can refer for clarification or information on the survey. The number is, of course, free of charge and is accessible from Monday to Saturday from 8.30 to 21.00.
Like the letter, the number is an essential tool for improving communication with citizens.
This tool has been particularly effective in:
- reassuring families about the authenticity of the survey;
- rassicurare le famiglie sull’Ente che sta effettuando l’indagine;
- offering guarantees in terms of data confidentiality;
- providing additional information on the purpose of the survey.