Preparations are under way for a massive national information gathering exercise, the census, to take place on March 21, 2021.
A report to Wealden Council’s scrutiny committee, which met on Monday, said direct contact should be made with households about the exercise, which takes place every ten years, at the end of February.
It said census materials were being printed and community engagement staff recruited but the aim was to make this census ‘digital-first’ with as many people as possible filling in their questionnaires online.
The report said: “The Census 2021 campaign website is already online, providing information for the public and stakeholders.
“From February paper questionnaires will be dispatched to invite people to take part. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) expects up to 75% of households to complete the census by the end of April without the need for follow-up, either through letters or visits from census staff.
“From the end of March field staff will be carrying out follow-up visits to encourage response where people have not completed the census.
“Census Coverage Survey and non-compliance work will take place in May and June.”
The council report says the census is the largest statistical exercise that the ONS undertakes and it produces statistics that inform all areas of public life and underpin social and economic policy.
“It provides a wealth of information at small geographies to inform local planning and decision-making. A significant proportion of the metrics for profiling Wealden are derived from the national census.
This Uckfield News story from 2018 gives you an idea of the type of information gleaned and how census information is used. In this case it was for the then Draft Local Plan, since thrown out by a planning inspector because of ‘significant failings’.