Working together to deliver a successful Census 2021

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) – which runs Census 2021 – is working with councils in Northamptonshire to deliver a successful census and help local services to fully meet future needs.  

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to local organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. 

Census results inform where public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries. 

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, the inequalities people are experiencing, and it will ensure the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Gwen Rhys, one of Northamptonshire’s ONS Census Engagement Managers, said, “I’ve been talking to lots of individuals, community groups and parish councils over the past few months and everyone is excited about being part of this year’s census. 

“The online form is easy to complete and takes no more than 10 minutes per person, and there is help available for anyone who needs it. Everything is explained in the census Information Packs households will receive next month.” 

Theresa Grant, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council has been tasked with creating two new unitary councils which will take over from the eight existing councils in the county from Thursday, 1 April. 

She said: “Information gathered in the Census is used by local councils to ensure recommendations to politicians are based on sound evidence.

“Therefore, as we prepare to launch the two new councils, I would urge every householder to take part in the Census, speak to neighbours and friends and encourage them to take part so that future decisions are made with the very best information.”  

In March households will begin receiving information packs which will explain how to complete the census and will also include a code to allow them to do so online. 

People can also request a paper questionnaire if they would prefer to complete the census that way.  

In areas where lower online completion is expected, around 10 per cent of households will receive a traditional paper form through the post.

There is plenty of help available, with people also able to complete the census over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS’ free phone contact centre. 

The main census field operation will begin only after Census Day, contacting those who have not responded. 

Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and work in-line with all government guidance. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

Census 2021 will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Any information that is published following the census is fully anonymised by ONS, which is an independent organisation, separate from the government. 

This means no-one from government departments or private organisations that provide people with services will be able to see their answers. 

After 100 years, census records are released so future generations can learn about their history.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit census.gov.uk.