Working together to deliver a successful Census 2021 

Published February 11, 2021 at 14:00

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) – which runs Census 2021 – is working with Rossendale Borough Council 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 outputs 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, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible. 

Claire Stock, the area’s Census Engagement Manager, said, “I have been working with Rossendale Borough Council since October to promote the importance of the census and to alleviate any worries the local community may have.” 

Neil Shaw, the council’s Chief Executive, said “The census takes place every 10 years and is not only a key means of collecting important statistical information accurately, but drives a number of issues that affects everyone’s lives. This includes how much funding many public bodies are allocated”. 

Households will begin receiving letters with online codes in March explaining how they can complete their online census. People can also request a paper questionnaire if they’d prefer to complete the census that way. In areas where lower online completion is expected, around 10% 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 ONS also aims to provide in-person support to complete the census online through Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so. 

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 PPE and work in line with all government guidance. 

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. 

Results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations. 

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit 

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