Children of the 2020s Study

Privacy notice for participants in the Children of the 2020s pilot study

The study and your personal data
Children of the 2020s is a national study of around 8,500 children born in England at the start of the 2020s. By following children and their families over time, the study aims to understand how their experiences and circumstances affect their development. The study is being delivered by University College London (UCL) in partnership with Ipsos, on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE). More information about the study can be found here:

This Privacy Notice explains who we are, the personal data we collect, how we use it, who we share it with, and what your legal rights are.

About Ipsos, UCL and DfE

How do you give and withdraw your permission to take part in the Children of the 2020s study?
Children of the 2020s is a voluntary research study. You are under no statutory or contractual obligation to provide us with your personal data. You can decide whether to take part, or continue to take part, or not, and you can change your mind at any time. You can also decide whether you consent to administrative records being added to your data or not and you may change your mind about this at any time as well. You will always be provided with full information about what taking part involves at each stage of the study and how your data will be used. You can contact us using the details at the end of this privacy notice to withdraw from the study at any time if you wish to or to exercise your individual information rights. You can withdraw from participating in a particular survey, adding information from administrative records, or the study as a whole. If you withdraw from the study, any data already collected will continue to be used unless you explicitly request that we delete it using the details at the end of this privacy notice.

What is the legal basis for processing your personal data?
DfE is the data controller as it is the organisation that decides how and why your personal data are processed. UCL and Ipsos are the data processors for this study. The legal basis for processing your data is public task because the data you provide us is collected to help inform DfE policy development and service delivery in the future. Section 83(1)(a) of the Children Act 1989 grants the Secretary of State the power to ‘conduct, or assist other persons in conducting, research into any matter connected with his functions’ under various children’s legislation’. This legislation includes Children and Young Persons Act 2008 whose section 7 places a general duty of the Secretary of State to promote the well-being of children (persons under the age of 18) in England.

The relationship between DfE, UCL, Ipsos and the organisations that we share your data with is set out in the contracts between these organisations. These contracts are in place to ensure that your personal data is protected. The data may only be used for the purposes of this research study.

How has Ipsos got your personal contact details for this study?
At the beginning of the study, Ipsos (the data processor) was securely sent the contact details (parent name, your child’s name, child’s date of birth and address) contained in your child’s Child Benefit Record held by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in order to carry out the research. The DfE (the data controller) has an agreement in place with HMRC in order for Ipsos to securely receive these details. HMRC shared this personal data with Ipsos so we could invite your family to take part in the first survey of the study that took place between June and November 2022.

For subsequent Children of the 2020s Study surveys, Ipsos (the data processor) will invite you to take part using personal data that has been collected in one of the following ways:

What personal data will Ipsos collect about you?
Most of the personal data that we hold has been and/or will be collected during a Children of the 2020s survey and comes directly from you (e.g., full contact details, survey responses, research data). We will be collecting the following:

Why is your personal data being processed?
The table below outlines the different types of data we will be processing as part of this study and why.

Type of Data Why are we processing this?
Your contact details

As this is a longitudinal study, Ipsos collects your contact details (e.g., your telephone number or email address) from you to keep in touch with you and to invite you to take part in future surveys and activities that relate to this research. Your postcode is also used to match data on your local neighbourhood to your survey data.

Your contact details are shared securely with organisations that provide services to us (explained in the ‘who else will have access to your personal data?’ section). They are also shared with DfE for the purpose of adding other information (see below for more information on this) and maintaining the study after the first funded phase is complete. UCL will also request your contact details from you if you register an account on the BabySteps app.

Other people's contact details Where applicable, we may also ask your permission for contact details of your partner and/or the child’s other parent. This is so we can also ask them to take part in Children of the 2020s surveys.
Keeping your records up to date – Contact tracing We ask you for contact details of someone else, usually outside of your household (known as your ‘stable contact’) so that if you move to a new home and we’re not able to contact you, we can contact that person to try to find out where you have moved to.
Survey data

Ipsos, as the main data processor, collects your survey responses with your permission. As part of the study, additional information will be added by DfE from data they hold about you to your survey responses. Also, with your permission, data from NHS Digital will be added to your survey responses. In order to do this, your personal details (name, sex, address, date of birth) will be shared with DfE.

At the end of each survey, Ipsos will share pseudonymised data securely with UCL and DfE for research, statistics and archiving purposes only.

Pseudonymisation is a technique that replaces or removes information in a dataset that directly identifies you such as your name and address and is a security measure taken to reduce any risk of you being identified in our research data. Any analysis is done on grouped data and is not reported as individual answers.

BabySteps app

We will also be asking you to take part via the BabySteps app. This secure, user-friendly app will provide valuable data on your child’s learning and development and is also a way for us to stay in touch with you. It is hosted on Amazon Web Services, a secure digital platform. Any personal data you enter into the app will be stored securely on this platform in a UCL-owned account that the UCL research team and their tech support contractor (FullStack, based in the US) has access to. The data gathered as part of activities you take part in on the app will then be transferred to UCL’s secure institutional data store for analysis purposes. Your data will be treated in strict confidence in a secure computing environment for analysis purposes and, like all other aspects of the study, your identity will never be revealed in any published articles or reports. Further information about the app can be found within the app’s privacy notice (found in the support tab) and on the study website:

As you are taking part in the pilot study, the information you provide will be used to help inform the design of the main study and will be held securely by UCL, on behalf of the DfE. It will not be included in any published datasets or reports.

Adding information from administrative records

An important part of the Children of the 2020s study is linking survey answers to administrative data held by government departments and agencies.

In the Age 9 months pilot survey we asked you about linking your survey answers to records held by the Department for Education and the NHS. As this is a pilot study, the purpose of this was to test these questions; your survey answers were not linked to these administrative records.

Ipsos, UCL and the DfE will use your personal data and responses solely to inform the development of the Children of the 2020s study. Your personal details will be treated in strict confidence in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK General Data Protection Regulation. However, like all professional organisations, we are required by law to notify relevant authorities if we believe a child or adult is at serious risk of harm. The study results will be anonymous and not published as you are part of the Children of the 2020s pilot study. You will not be identifiable in any published datasets or reports. We can assure you that any information you provide during this research will NOT be used for marketing, nor will we sell or pass on your information to any third party.

What about online cookies?
Children of the 2020s online surveys will collect some information through the use of 'cookies'. These are small files stored on your computer. These files are used as sparingly as possible and only for quality control, validation and, more importantly, to prevent us sending you reminders for an online survey you have already completed. It is possible for you to delete 'cookies' or to prevent their use by adjusting the browser settings on your computer.

Ipsos also automatically captures information about your operating system, display settings and browser type to ensure that the survey questionnaire is delivered in a form suited to the software your computer is using. Ipsos do not capture any other information from your computer.

Who else will have access to your personal data?
We will only share data that identifies you (e.g., name, sex, address, date of birth) with a few organisations who are helping us to run the Children of the 2020s study. We only share the minimum information needed for them to complete their work.

How will we ensure your personal information is secure?
We will keep your personal data and responses in strict confidence in accordance with this Privacy Notice.

We take our information security responsibilities seriously and apply various precautions to ensure your information is protected from loss, theft or misuse. Security precautions include appropriate physical security of offices and controlled and limited access to computer systems.

We have regular internal and external audits of our information security controls and working practices, and are accredited to the International Standard for Information Security, ISO 27001.

All of your personal data used and collected for this study will be stored securely in data centres and servers within the United Kingdom, and will only be accessed by researchers and interviewers from Ipsos, UCL and DfE or their subcontractors who need to see it for the purpose of conducting the study. If you take part in a Microsoft Teams interview, the email address that you provide will be processed on Microsoft servers located in the EEA. Your survey responses will NOT be processed or stored on Microsoft servers.

How long will we keep your data for?
If you are part of the pilot study, the information you provide will be used to help inform the design of the main Children of the 2020s study and will be held securely by Ipsos and UCL, on behalf of the DfE.

Ipsos and UCL will share the pseudonymised data collected as part of the study with the DfE at the end of each survey through a secure transfer route for research purposes. Your contact details will be stored separately from your survey responses. At the end of the study, Ipsos and UCL will destroy their copy of the data in accordance with standards and procedures set out in ISO 27001. Destruction of data held by Ipsos and UCL will take place within 12 months of the end of the contract between UCL and DfE (scheduled for April 2027) in order to allow time to consolidate the data and check for any errors.

The study team will keep your personal data and responses in strict confidence in accordance with this Privacy Notice.

Your rights

When you contact us to exercise your right, we will:

Contact us about this study and your personal data
You can get in touch with us about this study and how we are using your personal data using the details below. Please include “Children of the 2020s” in the subject line when contacting us.

  Ipsos UCL DfE
By email
By post

Data Protection Officer,
Compliance Department,
Ipsos (market research) Limited,
3 Thomas More Square,
London E1W 1YW,
United Kingdom

Office address:
provided upon enquiry
Office of the Data Protection Officer
Department for Education (B2.28),
7 & 8 Wellington Place,
Wellington Street,
Leeds, LS1 4AW

For more information about how the DfE processes personal data, please see its Personal Information Charter: Personal information charter - Department for Education - GOV.UK (

Get in touch with the study team
If you would like any further details about the study, you can email us at or leave a voicemail message on 0800 056 8184 with your unique reference number (this can be found at the top of any letter you have received from us).

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This privacy notice is updated regularly and was last updated on 11.01.2023.