Privacy Statement

Your privacy is important to us. We take great care in protecting your privacy and the information you provide whilst conducting research with us (whether hosted on our own website, other websites on our behalf or by any other means, including by telephone or face to face).
We are committed to meeting the requirements of the following laws and codes:
• The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
• Data Protection Act 1998 and the new Data Protection Act which will enact GDPR requirements
• Market Research Society’s (MRS) Code of Conduct
• ICC/ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research) International Code on Market and Social Research.
It is not our aim to sell or promote anything. We conduct market research using scientific methods and we commit, in obtaining your co-operation, not to mislead you about the nature of the research or how the findings will be used. Your responses will be treated as confidential unless you consent to being identified.

Our 10 Principles

1. We will ensure that all personal data is collected with customers' consent.
2. We will not use personal data for any purpose other than that for which consent was given, respecting customers' wishes about the use of their data.
3. We will make sure that customers have access to their personal data that we hold, and that we tell them how we use it.
4. We will protect personal data and keep it secure and confidential.
5. We will ensure staff understand that personal data is just that – personal – and ensure that it is treated with respect.
6. We will ensure that the vulnerable and under-age are properly protected by the processes we use for data collection.
7. We will manage our data supply chain to the same ethical standards we expect from other suppliers.
8. We will ensure that ethical best practice in personal data is integral to our procurement process.
9. We will ensure that all staff who have access to personal data are properly trained in its use.
10. We will not use personal data if there is uncertainty as to whether the Fair Data Principles have been applied.

Our Research Invitations & Requests

We will not mislead you about the nature of the research or how the data will be used. If you are invited to take part in research, it will be because:

• You were selected due to holding a product with, following a recent purchase from, or visit to, one of the companies for whom we work
• You have given permission for a company to supply your details to a third party for research purposes
• You have taken part in previous research administered by SMS and given us your permission to contact you in the future for research purposes.
• One of our interviewers has recruited you based on your usage habits and demographics provided by you to them directly.

If you have been contacted by SMS and you do not believe you have given your permission or just wish your name to be removed from the database, let us know and we will remove you from the contact list for that particular research project and inform the relevant organisation who supplied your details
We never knowingly invite children under the age of 16 to participate in research studies without taking measures to ensure appropriate consent from a responsible adult.

Information We Collect

We will collect your information when you conduct research with us.

When we contact you, we generally do so for one of the following purposes:

1. To invite you to participate in research
2. To confirm the details of research you have agreed to take part in
3. To conduct research with you
4. To validate answers/views you gave in a recent research we conducted (if you have consented to us doing so)
5. To update and to ensure that our records of your personal information are correct (applicable to those consenting to being part of an ongoing community or panel)
6. To notify you if you have won a prize draw that we administered or to provide you with an incentive for taking part.

The information we collect can contain your personal opinions as well as personal information such as name, address, postcode, gender, occupation, age, date of birth, email address, telephone number etc. We may occasionally collect sensitive personal information such as political views.
Where relevant to the research being undertaken, we may collect business contact information, such as, company name, job title, and department.
In addition, for online surveys we will record your IP address, which type of browser you are using, your screen size and other basic metrics.
We do not do any invisible processing of data from your computer. We will only collect and use personal information in accordance with this policy to the extent deemed reasonably necessary to serve our legitimate business purposes, and we will maintain appropriate safeguards to ensure the security, integrity, accuracy and privacy of the information you have provided.

SMS makes reasonable efforts to keep personal information in its possession or control, which is used on an ongoing basis, accurate, complete, current and relevant, based on the most recent information available to us. We rely on you to help us keep your personal information accurate, complete and current by answering our questions honestly.
Personally identifiable information collected will be kept for no longer than 6 months from project commencement unless stated specifically at the time of taking part. Non identifiable information you give will be kept for no longer than 5 years.

Who We Share the Information With

We will not sell your personal information to third parties. From time to time we may employ other companies and individuals to perform functions on our behalf. They will have access to the personal information needed to perform their functions, but will not use it for other purposes. They must also process the personal information as set out in this Privacy Policy and as permitted by the UK’s Data Protection Act/laws.

By conducting our research you consent to us transferring your personally identifiable data to other companies within the EEA only for the purposes mentioned above. We shall endeavour to ensure that your personal information is kept confidential and secure.

Processing of prizes/incentives from the result may result in your contact details being passed onto a third party i.e. Amazon, M&S, John Lewis etc. This would purely be in order for the prize/incentive to be sent out to you electronically and would not result in any marketing or follow up.


A cookie is a small text file that may be placed on your device (computer, mobile phone, tablet) when you complete one of our surveys. To complete a survey with us we will use a session cookie. This is a temporary cookie and is removed when you close the browser. This session cookie allows us to give your visit to our website (or one of our third party partners’ websites) a unique identifier so you can complete the survey. You can configure your browser to notify you when cookies are being placed on your computer. You can also turn cookies off and delete those you do not want. Please see your web browsers help section for information on how to do this.


SMS maintains appropriate technical, administrative and physical safeguards to protect information, including, without limitation, personally identifiable information, received or collected by us. We review, monitor and evaluate our privacy practices and protection systems on a regular basis. Only certain employees have access to the personal information you provide us and are only granted access for data analysis and quality control purposes. SMS is not responsible for any errors by individuals in submitting personally identifiable information to us.


If you have any queries concerning this policy, our website or our research, or would like to make a subject access request, please contact us.
If you have concerns regarding how your personal information has been processed by SMS you can make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) via the following options:
Website: Telephone helpline: 0303 123 1113
Our policy may be updated periodically and the latest version will always be available on the Survey and Marketing Services Limited website or available at the point of taking part in online research.
Survey and Marketing Services Limited Privacy Policy last updated 11/01/18.