The Families and Children Study (FACS)


April 2001 to September 2002

PSI researchers:

Alan Marsh

Sandra Vegeris

Background, summary and aims

Background and Aims

This is the third wave of a panel study that began in 1999. The study was designed to measure the effectiveness of government work incentive measures designed to 'make work pay', in particular the introduction of Working Families' Tax Credit in October 1999, and the Children's Tax Credit in April 2001. It was designed to measure the effects of policy on living standards, and child poverty.

Study Design

The first two waves of the panel study were of low-income families. The third wave is extended to all families with children. The method being used is face to face interviews, using CAPI, and conducted by the National Centre for Social Research. Interviews last 60 minutes with the main respondent, and 20 minutes with the partner (if any). To date half the interviews have been with lone parents; at wave 3 this will fall to about 1/3 given the extension to higher income couples with children. In addition to the panel survey, the survey has boosters to make it representative in each contemporary year.

Importance of Research

The survey is the main vehicle for government to assess progress against targets for reducing child poverty by half by 2010, and completely by 2020. It is also the main means that Inland Revenue is relying upon to evaluate the effectiveness of WFTC and other tax credits being introduced.

Related publications / project outputs

Families and Children Study: Work and Childcare

Families and Children Study 2001: Report on Living Standards and the Children