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Current Directive

On this page you will find the most recent Directive to be mailed to the Mass Observers. You can download past copies of Mass Observation Project Directives here.

Summer 2018

Part 1: Fire and Rescue Services

For this Directive, we are interested in your thoughts and experiences of the fire service, known as the Fire and Rescue Service. The Fire and Rescue Service has transformed from an organisation that focused predominantly on and was structured around emergency response, to a far more proactive and preventative service. Deaths and injuries have fallen significantly over the past 10 years, during which time, smoke alarm ownership and the preventative activities of the fire and rescue service have increased.


When you think of the Fire and Rescue Service, what words come to mind?
When you think about a Fire and Rescue worker, what image comes to mind? Do you feel that the Fire and Rescue Service are represented accurately in the media?
Please use examples of any particular radio or TV shows (such as Real Rescues on the BBC) or other news reports, or advertisements that come to mind.
Experience of the Fire and Rescue Service

Have you or anyone you know, ever been involved in an incident where the Fire and Rescue Service were called? Could you tell us what happened? What was your/their experience of the event and the rescue workers who supported you/them?

Fire safety

Could you please write about any fire safety advice or guidance that you have ever received? Where and when was this and what did it involve?

Very few people say they are likely to experience a fire, why do you think this might be?


We are interested in trust. How would you describe your level of trust in the service? Would you trust the Fire and Rescue Service to come into your house and carry out a ‘home fire risk check’ for the purposes of keeping you safe from fire? Could you explain what contributes to this level of trust?

Extending the role of the Fire and Rescue Service

The root causes of fire often relate to health and wellbeing issues such as those associated with an ageing population, poor physical and/or mental health and poor housing conditions and there is an argument that suggests by tackling these issues the fire service can reduce the risks from fire

Do you think the Fire and Rescue Service should try to prevent harm from other issues when carrying out home fire safety checks, that could for example, reduce pressures on the NHS as well as reducing the risk from fire?

If the Fire Service were to have wider prevention roles within the community, how would you feel about this? Please share your thoughts on any such roles below:

Examples of particular roles could be:

  • Guidance/support for health care; slips, trips and falls, diabetes, smoking cessation, eye sight, social isolation
  • Advice; dementia, domestic abuse, finance/debt, fuel poverty
  • Medical Intervention: flu jabs.

Do you feel moving beyond the current Fire and Rescue role would affect the level of trust people have?

What do you think would need to happen to ensure it was achieved effectively?

Part 2: You and the NHS

This summer will see the 70th anniversary of Britain’s National Health Service. We undertook Directives in the 50th and 60th years of the NHS to understand your views and experiences about the NHS.

5th July 2018: The 70th Anniversary of the NHS

To start we would like you to write about any efforts you have noticed to mark the 70th Anniversary of the NHS? This might include television programs, radio, newspaper coverage, or public events. What are your views of these?

Your own experiences of NHS health care since 2008

What have been your experiences of the NHS in the last 10 years? Have you been a patient? Do you work for the NHS, or have you contributed to it in other ways?

Have services improved or deteriorated, and in what respects? Has the relationship with NHS staff changed? What other changes have you noticed? Do you have experience of private health care or care abroad that you can compare with care received in the NHS? 

Please also share any experiences of family or friends but please exclude any identifiable information.

Mental Health and the NHS

In recent years it has been argued that mental health services requires the same provision as physical illness services. Have you had any experiences in this area, and have you noticed changes over time? If so, in what way?

Public Feelings about the NHS

It has been said that the National Health Service is the closest thing we have to a religion. Other surveys indicate that the NHS tops the list of things we say we are proud about as a nation. Commonly, people talk about loving the NHS. Do you agree with these sentiments? What are your thoughts about public feelings about the NHS as an institution? Why do you think the NHS attracts the feelings that it does? Do you think feelings have changed over time and why?

Looking to the Past and the Future

To what extent do you think the NHS is still the NHS envisaged by its founders? Have changes made the service better or worse? What are your thoughts for its future? What in your view are the main challenges that it faces, and how might these be overcome?

Part 3: Purses and Wallets

Where do you store your money, bank, credit, loyalty and identification cards? Do you use a purse or a wallet? Perhaps you just keep these vital items in your pocket or on your mobile phone/device.


Start by describing the container that you keep your money etc. in. Where did this come from? How long have you had it?

List the items you have in your purse/wallet and include information about how long you have had these items. Please be careful not to incorporate any personal or identifiable information.
Are there any items that surprised you, or ones that brought back special memories? Are any of these items sentimental to you? Did you throw away any of these items after completing this task?


Have you ever lost your purse/wallet? Or had it stolen? Please describe any relevant experiences. How did it make you feel?


How do you normally pay for your shopping? Do you carry much cash? Or do you pay mostly by card? Have you ever paid contactless payment or on your mobile device (e.g ApplePay or Google Pay)? Please share any thoughts or concerns about contactless payments.
Do you carry a cheque book around with you? When did you last write a cheque?
Has the way in which you pay for items changed in the last 20 years? Please share any memories.

KP/JS Spring Directive No. 112

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