About the SNS site
1. What does the SNS site allow users to do?
2. What small area data gaps have been filled by the SNS initiatives?
3. Are there any major small area data gaps in the topics covered?
4. What developments have been made to the SNS site over the last year?
5. Are any further developments to the site planned?
6. How do I produce a profile for my area?
7. How do I create a report for a specific area in Scotland?
8. Why can I select some reports and indicators for my area and not others?
9. How do I aggregate data for all the areas I have selected?
10. What is the best way to get data into a spreadsheet or database?
11. How do I create a thematic map of patterns for a specific indicator of interest?
12. Why can I map some Indicators thematically but not others?
13. How is my data classified on a thematic map?
14. How could I download whole datasets for all of Scotland?
15. Is there a limit on the number of Indicators I can select in one operation?
16. How do I print off a table of results?
17. How can I easily find out about all the data being made available through the SNS site?
18. Which organisations currently make their data available through the SNS site?
19. How much data held by these organisations will get released through the SNS site?
20. Is the most recent version of data being released through the SNS site or should I look elsewhere?
21. How do I find supporting information about the data available?
22. What can I do if the data I am looking for is not available?
23. My results often contain both zeros (0) and blanks. What is the difference?
24. How do I find out what data will be added in the future?
25. How often will the SNS site be updated?
26. How do I register my interest so I know when new data is added to the SNS site?
27. How can you be sure that identifiable information on any unit such as an individual, household or businsess is not released?
28. Are there any restrictions on how I use the data once I have downloaded it?
29. How does the SNS site relate to the Scottish Government's ScotStat site?
30. How does the SNS site relate to the National Statistics Neighbourhood Statistics site?
About the site 1. What does the SNS site allow users to do?
The SNS Internet is highly interactive and innovative and allows users to:
2. What small area data gaps have been filled by the SNS initiatives?
- View a standard set of indicators for a set of pre-defined geographies.
- Define their own geographic areas of interest.
- View pre-defined reports on specific topics for their areas of interest.
- Define customised reports from the full range of indicators available.
- View their reports geographically through thematic maps.
- Cut and paste and print the results.
- Allow users to save their work sessions.
There has been significant developments in almost all topics, some of the most notable include:
3. Are there any major small area data gaps in the topics covered?
- Deprivation - The Scottish Government's Index of Multiple Deprivation.
- Education - The SNS has contributed to the development of the ScotXed database which includes pupil level data has allowed data to be aggregated to small area levels.
- Benefits - We have developed with the Department of Work And Pensions a range of key benefit and tax credit indicators.
There are still small area data gaps to be filled. The gaps users have identified as priority are the demographic, crime, community well-being and housing topics. We are continuously looking to develop the range of indicators included and always welcome the views of users.4. What developments have been made to the SNS site over the last year?
The main developments have included:
5. Are any further developments to the SNS site planned?
- The introduction of the data zone geography and a tidy-up of the ad-hoc geographies previously held on the site.
- Improvements to the background mapping to allow users to more easily use the mapping to locate their areas of interest.
- The introduction of function to allow users to save their work sessions.
The latest phase of the project was launched on 6 February 2007. It is envisaged that the project will continue to develop over the coming years.
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General 6. How do I produce a profile for my area?
Use the Area Browser tool to enter a full postcode (eg. IV3 5QD). Then click the "Go" button to generate a local area profile. The information returned relates to the data zone within which your postcode falls. The information presented in the area profile has been selected to provide an overview of key indicators currently available at this level of geography for each topic (eg. population, education etc.). If you want to know more click the Help button in the Area Browser window on the home page.7. How do I create a report for a specific area in Scotland?
If you find that the Area Browser tool is too restrictive in terms of selecting your area or data of interest then try the Area Reporter. If you have not used it before then read the Area Reporter section in the Area User Guide - here you will find detailed instructions on using it. It allows you to select specific areas in Scotland, explore the range of information that is available, and produce reports. Data within the reports can also be mapped.8. Why can I select some reports and indicators for my area and not others?
Unfortunately not all the data is available for all geographies. So, when you select your Geography in Step 1 of the Area Reporter, you are in fact limiting what data is available to you. As the Area User Guide points out, if you are looking for data at the most detailed scale then you are best to choose Data Zones as your Geography. This offers you the widest possible choice of data. Data becomes more limited if you choose Wards for example. You can find out which Indicators are available for which Geographies in the Area Data Guide.9. How do I aggregate data for all the areas I have selected?
In Step 3 of the Area Reporter, once you have generated your results, there is an option at the top of the page to click the "Summarise" box. This allows you to aggregate and disaggregate your data.10. What is the best way to get data into a spreadsheet or database?
In Step 3 of the Area Reporter, once you have generated your results, there is a Download button at the top of the page. Clicking this will prompt you to either open or save the file on your computer. It will be saved as a comma delimited text file which will load directly into other software packages such as spreadsheets and databases.11. How do I create a thematic map of patterns for a specific indicator of interest?
Use the Area Reporter. You need to produce a report or set of indicators in the normal way (see Area User Guide). Once you have generated your results you have the opportunity to thematically map those indicators which are designated as 'mappable' (see question below).12. Why can I map some Indicators thematically but not others?
It is statistically invalid to map indicators which are not rates. For example Hospital admissions with a diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease as a rate per 100000 can be mapped but the Number of crimes and offences recorded by the police is a count and should not be mapped. The indicators listed in the Area Data Guide allow you to find out if indicators are rates or counts and thus whether or not they can be mapped.13. How is my data classified on a thematic map?
The map classification (or legend) is calculated automatically based on either the national quintile range for the chosen indicator or on the quintile range for the areas selected. The national range classification is the default option. The selected areas option allows you to differentiate local variations. The classification used is based on quintiles - there are many other methods such as Equal Interval that are sometimes used when presenting thematic maps. Quintile classification is based on the range of all cases (Rates) being divided into 5 intervals or classes. The range of each class is determined by the distribution of all cases in an attempt to get an equal number of cases into each class. In some cases the data will be distributed in such a way that it is impossible to split the data into 5 equal groups. When this occurs, say when less than 5 areas are mapped or when many of areas selected have the same indicator value, a best approximation approach will be taken. This can lead to less than 5 groups being displayed and for the ranges not to be continuous (one directly following the other). When this is the case even more care should be taken in drawing any conclusions based on the pattern presented.14. How could I download whole datasets for all of Scotland?
The site has been designed to allow users to select a relatively large number of areas and produce reports. There is a maximum limit of 200 areas to avoid overloading the site. If, for example, you need to download data on several topics for more than one geography or all data zones or wards, you should contact the SNS Team who will be able to supply it to you in a suitable form.15. Is there a limit on the number of Indicators I can select in one operation?
Yes, the limit is 50. If you select more than 50 you will be given a message telling you that you have selected too many. If you require to view data for a large number of Indicators it is suggested that you consider creating a series of reports. We also recommend that if you select more than 6 in one operation you will need to scroll across the results page - therefore keeping the number to 6 or less makes the results easier to read.16. How do I print off a table of results?
There should be a 'Print view' button at the button of every results table on the website. Clicking this button will take you to a printer friendly view of the table which can then be printed off by choosing File > Print from your browser.
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Data 17. How can I easily find out about all the data being made available through the SNS site?
Use the Area Data Guide to explore all the data made available through the SNS site.18. Which organisations currently make their data available through the SNS site?
Organisations supplying data to Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics include; the Scottish Government; The General Register Office for Scotland, the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland; the Department of Work and Pensions; Communities Scotland; and the Office for National Statistics.19. How much data held by these organisations will get released through the SNS site?
This site provides detailed local area data. The organisations supplying data for it make other analyses (for example, more detailed tables for the whole of Scotland) available in a range of pre-announced paper and electronic publications (see the links page). They also provide answers to specific requests though their enquiry points. However, they work to a Code of Practice which prevents them from releasing analyses which could identify specific individuals. This can restrict the kind of information they can make available for small geographic areas.20. Is the most recent version of data being released through the SNS site or should I look elsewhere?
The organisations supplying data to this site aim to release information to all users at the same time. So this site should contain the latest version of data for local areas. However, (for example) data for all Scotland may be released before the local area information. So you might find more up-to-date information for high level geographies elsewhere. You can check the release dates for Scottish statistics in the Forthcoming Publications section of statistics area of the Scottish Government's website http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/. The National Statistics Website provides similar information for all National Statistics at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/ReleaseCalendar/currentreleases.asp. You can also contact us by email or phone - for details, see our contacts page.21. How do I find supporting information about the data available?
This is available through the Area Data Guide for Reports, Indicators and Geographies.22. What can I do if the data I am looking for is not available?
We have included some links to other sources of information on our links page. You can also contact us by email or phone - for details, see our contacts page. If the data you are looking for is not available at all, you can use the ScotStat network to suggest that it should be developed.23. My results often contain both zeros (0) and blanks. What is the difference?
If a count for the particular indicator/geography has been made and that count equals zero or has been rounded to zero this will normally be shown as a 0. If no information was collected/available for the particular indicator/geography then this will normally be reflected by a blank. If a count was made for the particular indicator/geography but that count had to be suppressed for disclosure reasons then this will also normally be reflected by a blank. Please always check the metadata for the Indicators involved for any possible changes to these general rules.24. How do I find out what data will be added in the future?
The forward programme for release of data will be included on the News page and in the Forthcoming Releases section of the statistics area of the Scottish Government website ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/). You may also want to join the ScotStat register.25. How often will the SNS site be updated?
It is proposed to update the site quarterly to include the latest releases of data.26. How do I register my interest so I know when new data is added to the SNS site?
You should join the ScotStat register (at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/scotstats/), and include Neighbourhood Statistics in your interests. We will email you about developments, including when new data is added to the site.27. How can you be sure that identifiable information on any unit such as an individual, household or business is not released?
To maintain confidentiality and make sure information on a particular individual or household is not revealed, one or more of the following disclosure control methods may have been used on any Neighbourhood Statistics data following the National Statistics Code of Practice.
- Each geographic area has a minimum population and size
- Data presented for defined hierarchical and non-overlapping geographical areas
- The classification in tables may be limited
- Records may be swapped before tabulation
- Small cell adjustment
- Suppression of small numbers
1. Minimum population and area size for a geographic area.
The smallest geography published on the SNS website is data zones and these have been designed to have a population of between 500 and 1000. If this geography were any smaller then the likelihood of being able to publish any information, without identifying units would be small. If it is likely that units could be identified at the data zone level even after other disclosure control methods have been applied then information is only given for a larger geography such as local authority.
2. Data presented for defined hierarchical and non-overlapping geographical areas
If information is published for two different geographies, then it may be possible to subtract one set of tables from the other to obtain statistics for another previously undefined area. This is possible when two sets of geographical boundaries overlap. The greatest risk occurs when small areas from one geography level fit into other areas from a larger geography but do not completely cover the larger area.
3. The classification in tables may be limited
The number of output categories into which a variable may be classified is restricted giving variables such as aggregated age groups or larger geographical areas or averages across several months or years.
4. Record swapping
This procedure adds uncertainty to data by swapping a small proportion of records with similar records in other small geographical areas. The procedure was designed such that the integrity of swapped data was not substantially different among key variables from that of the original data. The percentage of records swapped and the basis on which they are swapped must remain confidential.
5. Small Cell Adjustment
This method adjusts very small counts in tables to add uncertainty to the output in which individual information might have been identified. The definition of a small count must remain confidential so that the protection provided by the adjustment is maintained. Totals and subtotals are calculated from adjusted data to give consistency within tables. However, the same totals appearing in other tables may be different. In some tables the zeros are not altered.
Counts in cells below a certain value or all cells in a table may be rounded to a base such as 3, 5 or 10.
7. Suppression of Small Numbers
If this method is used then at least two cells within a table are suppressed. In a table if a single cell is suppressed it would be easy to estimate its value by subtracting the remaining values in a row or column from the totals, therefore an additional (secondary) cell is suppressed.28. Are there any restrictions on how I use the data once I have downloaded it?
Information on this web site is covered by Crown Copyright. You should consult the chapter entitled "Using the Data" in the Area User Guide. This describes what you can and cannot do with the data.
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Related Initiatives29. How does the SNS site relate to the Scottish Government ScotStat site?
ScotStat is a network for users and providers of Scottish Official statistics. Consulting users and providers is an important part of developing official statistics. On the ScotStat site ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/scotstat/home), you can find out what is happening, take part in discussion, register an interest in particular statistics and be kept informed about statistics which have just been or will shortly be published.30. How does the SNS site relate to the National Statistics Neighbourhood Statistics site?
The National Statistics Neighbourhood Statistics site disseminates data principally for England and Wales. There are small amounts of data available for Scotland although the same information is also available through this site. If you need to source equivalent information for England and Wales then you should go to this site at http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk.
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