Assessment of 2021 Censuses in the UK: Phase 1

We are carrying out an assessment of the 2021 Censuses, produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). We will be assessing the extent to which the censuses meet the professional standards set out in the statutory Code of Practice for Statistics.

The assessment will be split into three phases:

  • Phase 1 will consider suggestions which resulted from the 2011 Census phase 3 assessment and compliance against the three pillars of the Code to reflect planning and development at this point in time
  • Phase 2 will again consider compliance against the three pillars of the Code, with more focus on Quality and Value as the census offices progress toward census day
  • Phase 3 will be carried out after the census outputs are published and will involve an assessment of the outputs in light of users’ views.

The Code of Practice covers a wide range of principles around meeting the ‘public good’ such as the quality of the statistics and their need to add value and insight to users. Capturing the views of users and potential users forms an important part of our judgment about the statistics, including how they could be improved. Feedback can be in any form, but it would be particularly helpful to us if you could structure your response around the following areas:

  1. How do you use census outputs, which of them and for what purposes? Please be as specific as possible. For example, if you use the statistics to provide briefing and further analysis to others, it would be helpful to know what the end use is, and in particular what types of decisions are made based on the statistics.
  2. How satisfied you are with the way that the producer teams in ONS, NRS and NISRA supported your use of Census 2011 data and statistics?
  3. Do you feel that outputs from the 2021 Census will provide the insights into the UK’s population that you need? Please consider plans for census outputs and analysis, changes to census questions, and whether you feel that the 2021 Census adequately incorporates improvements or lessons from the 2011 Census.
  4. How satisfied are you with the way that the producer teams in ONS, NRS and NISRA have engaged and consulted with you as they develop their plans for Census 2021? Please mention in particular if you have been involved in any consultation exercises relating to the 2021 Census.
  5. We welcome comments on any other aspect of the 2021 censuses which you think might be relevant to our assessment.
  6. If you think there are other user groups we should be talking to about these statistics, please let us know, or feel free to send them a link to this page.
  7. It will be useful for us to share your comments with ONS, NRS and NISRA to enable them to take account of your views. Please could you advise if you happy for us to pass your comments and contact details on?

We may want to contact you to discuss your views. Please indicate whether you are happy for us to do so and provide contact details. We will keep a record of your contact details, emails and written correspondence with you and notes we record of any meetings with you. These records form an important part of the evidence base to help inform our regulatory judgements. Our Privacy Policy explains how we handle and protect your personal information, your legal rights and who to contact if you have any questions about how your personal information is being used.

You may send your response via email to or, if you would prefer to speak to Marie McGhee (01329 447702), Oliver Fox-Tatum (01633 455 848) or Katy Nicholls (0208 039 0305).

Alternatively, our postal address is:

Office for Statistics Regulation
Room 1.075
Statistics House, Cardiff Road
Newport, NP10 8XG

We look forward to receiving your comments. Where possible please respond by 24 May 2019. However, if you wish you contact us beyond this date we would still welcome your input.

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