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'Save and return' feature

Support -

The 'save and return' feature allows respondents to come back to their incomplete survey response at a later date without losing the information they've already entered as part of their response.

The user must have cookies enabled in their web browser to use this feature, and the feature is not available for responses that have already been completed and submitted.


Step 1

At the bottom of each survey page, people can select the 'Save and come back later...' button, which looks like this:

Save and return button on survey question page. Button is outlined and has text in brand colours with white background.

In order to use this button, respondents will need to have completed any 'required' answer fields on that page (which is another reason why we recommend only making questions 'required' when necessary).


Step 2

After selecting the button, the respondent is shown some details to make a note of which will allow them to return to their incomplete response at a time of their choosing.

The respondent is also offered the opportunity to receive these details in an email if they provide an email address* (see the note at the bottom of this article for information about how this interacts with the default email address question in the survey).

Please be aware, any email address entered in the field on the 'Save and return' page will not be stored as response data in Citizen Space, it is just used to send the email. This is so responses can remain anonymous.

Save and return page which provides a return link, a response key and the response ID


Step 3

If the respondent has chosen to enter their email address on that page and selected the 'Save and send email' button, they will be sent an email from your Citizen Space site with the subject line: 'Your return code:' followed by their Response ID. This email contains a unique link that allows them to return to their part-completed response any time until the consultation closes, when the link will expire.

Screenshot showing contents of save and return email


Alternatively, all respondents are also shown a link on the left-hand side of the survey pages inviting them to return to a previously saved response:

Text with link says Something missing here? Return to a previously saved response


If they select this link, they will be prompted to enter the details that they hopefully made a note of when they saved their response, their Response ID and Response Key:

Screen to enter Response ID and Response Key



Unfortunately - like a lot of emails - save and return emails can sometimes go into people's junk mail folders, or get deleted by your respondents accidentally.  

If a respondent gets in touch with you to say that they don't have their return details or 'save and return' email, we can sometimes retrieve their incomplete response and send out an email link to them if you contact us via the support email address. However, there are a few things we need to know to be able to safely do this:

  • We need the URL and title of the consultation they were responding to, so that we can get straight to the right place to begin looking.
  • We need some kind of identifying information to be able to accurately find their response. The best thing we could get from you/your respondent would be their response ID, which is given to them on screen when they request a save and return link. If you or they don't have that, we need a way to prove the incomplete response is theirs by matching details given in the response with details they provide to you - this might be:
    • email address - this can also sometimes allow us to check if an email went out to that address
    • respondent's name
    • organisation name
    • the date and time the respondent was responding and requested a save and return link
    • anything unique they remember writing in their response or any other identifying information.

Identifying incomplete responses can be a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack, so the more evidence you can give us, the better. If we can't find a way to be sure a response belongs to that person, we can't risk sending out a save and return link manually as we might be sending someone else's incomplete response details, so this is really important to get right.

Please note, we aren't able to manually generate save and return links once your consultation is closed.


*A note on the default email address question

There are three default questions in each survey in Citizen Space. If you have included the default email address question in your survey and the respondent has answered it, then they will not need to type in their email address again if they select to use the 'save and return' feature, the email address box will be pre-populated with their email address.