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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Getting Ready for Census 2021

Thursday, 04 February 2021

In my blog at the beginning of the year, I mentioned a number of projects taking place in 2021 that will help shape the future of Tameside. The first of these, and the one that may have the biggest impact of plotting the direction of the borough going forward, is supporting local residents to fill out the Census on 21 March.
 

A national survey of all the people in England and Wales which takes place every ten years, the Census is unique in that it gives us the most complete picture we have of what our country looks like. This is because, while most other surveys gather information from a limited sample of people, in the Census everybody answers the same questions at the same time. Despite the ongoing pandemic, we have received confirmation that this year’s Census will go ahead, in part because the data we gather will help us understand the true extent and impact of coronavirus. But the Census has direct consequences on the public services that national and local government provides as well, as the results of the survey are used to allocate funding and resources for things such as new housing, doctor’s surgeries, schools and transport links.

The Census also provides a vital historical snapshot of our country, and can help us understand how it has developed and changed over the decades. When the first Census was carried out in 1801, supposedly to identify how many able-bodied men there were in the country that could be enlisted into the army to fight Napoleon, the population of England, Scotland and Wales was recorded at 9 million. By the time of the last Census in 2011 that had grown to over 63.2 million. The questions asked in the Census have also changed significantly since the 1800s. Information about names, age, sex, education, job and place of birth were not recorded until 1841, and 2011 saw the introduction of questions on civil partnerships, second homes and immigration. This year’s Census will also survey whether respondents are armed forces veterans for the first time, as well as containing voluntary questions on sexual orientation and gender identity for those aged 16 or over.

However the biggest change to the Census in 2021 is that, because of the ongoing march of technology, this will be the first where the majority of people will be expected to fill it out online. Whereas Census forms were previously delivered to people through the post, this year households will get a letter with a unique access code that will allow them to log on and complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. That being said, we do appreciate that there will be many who can’t or won’t be able to fill out their Census form online. The Office for National Statistics, the government body that runs the Census, will be offering paper copies on request as well as assistance to anyone who needs it through their website, phone, e-mail, social media or text message. People are being encouraged to get help from their friends and family to complete the Census. The Council will also be helping to run a number of Census support centres in our local libraries. These will be by appointment only, and will provide hands-on and in-person help while taking into account all necessary precautions against coronavirus. 

Please keep your eyes and ears open for the next few weeks as we receive further information about how this year’s Census will be carried out, and please fill out your form as completely and as quickly you can when you get your code at the end of March. Not only will you be helping to inform the decisions that will shape Tameside for the next decade to come, you’ll also be taking part in a small piece of national history.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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