FOI: Govt spends £130k/yr on confusing climate polling


11:30 am - September 10th 2012

by Leo Barasi    


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The Department of Energy and Climate Change has started a new tracking poll on public attitudes to a few of their issues. The first wave was out earlier this year (details and results here), and wave 2 should be out soon.

It won’t be much of a surprise that I’m generally in favour of polling. DECC’s poll is on an important topic, conducted not to create headlines but so the government can better understand what the public think.

But I’m increasingly of the view that it’s been badly put together and is costing too much public money.

Thanks to FOI I know that four waves of the poll – one year’s worth – will cost the taxpayer £130,945 + VAT. The reason it’s so expensive is twofold: it’s being done by face-to-face interview and it’s repeated every three months.

There’s not much point asking more often than, say, once a year, how much people know about carbon capture and storage or whether they like renewable energy. They just aren’t going to change very quickly.

But my main issue is on the quality of the questions. More here on why it has confusing questions.

At a time when every penny of civil service spending is supposed to be scrutinised, and some important and valuable services are being cut or are on their way out, I’m surprised that this poll has been given so much money.

I’m also surprised that it’s ended up including questions that serve no useful purpose – in the process frustratingly missing an opportunity to answer two of the most frequently recurring questions in opinion on climate change.

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A longer version of this post is here.

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About the author
Leo is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He manages communications for a small policy organisation, and writes about polling and info from public opinion surveys at Noise of the Crowd
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Story Filed Under: Environment ,News

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Reader comments


£131K + vat strikes me as rather good value, if you are going to poll at all; and your quibbles about the questions are highly debatable.

Moreover, compared to the billions that we are squandering on inefficient, ugly and bird-/bat-unfriendly wind turbines (when ultimately we’ll have to build more nuclear power stations), your complaint about £131k + VAT looks as petty as it is misplaced.

I thought you were for more government spending?
I am getting confused.

3. Chaise Guevara

@ 2 Andreas

“I thought you were for more government spending?
I am getting confused.”

Perhaps we could get the Teletubbies to explain it to you?

Drop in the ocean compared to this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19489251


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jason Brickley

    FOI: Govt spending £130k a year on climate polling http://t.co/hqEj4Cvn

  2. sunny hundal

    FOI by @leobarasi finds govt is wasting £130k/ year on climate polling, with confusing questions http://t.co/WAiIr2fO

  3. Will Nichols

    Government spending £130k a year on climate polling, according to FOI by @LeoBarasi http://t.co/waS2kBVg

  4. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – FOI: Govt spending £130k a year on climate polling http://t.co/K8nvyGh4

  5. Green LibDems

    Government spending £130k a year on climate polling, according to FOI by @LeoBarasi http://t.co/waS2kBVg

  6. James Murray

    Government spending £130k a year on climate polling, according to FOI by @LeoBarasi http://t.co/waS2kBVg

  7. Earth Notes

    Government spending £130k a year on climate polling, according to FOI by @LeoBarasi http://t.co/waS2kBVg

  8. Gods & Monsters

    FOI by @leobarasi finds govt is wasting £130k/ year on climate polling, with confusing questions http://t.co/WAiIr2fO

  9. R M Wragg Sykes

    FOI by @leobarasi finds govt is wasting £130k/ year on climate polling, with confusing questions http://t.co/WAiIr2fO

  10. suerose

    FOI: Govt spends £130k/yr on confusing climate polling | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/wPNtPIj4 via @libcon

  11. suerose

    More taxpayers money wasted FOI: Govt spends £130k/yr on confusing climate polling | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/wPNtPIj4 … via @libcon

  12. christian

    Q1: Do you like the world? Q2: Do you like the climate? http://t.co/XVN3XDFa via @leobarasi





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