Every 10 years, the UK has a census to count the number of people in the population and to build a detailed and comprehensive picture of the nation. 2021 is the year of our next census and for the first time, people will fill in their census online. To ensure everything goes smoothly, there will be a practice run on 22 October 2019 within a few selected areas and Tower Hamlets has been chosen.
Tower Hamlets residents are being urged to support both the Census rehearsal and the main event in two years. The Borough has been chosen for the practice run for its varied and diverse population groups and types of housing across a mix of urban and rural locations. The results of the rehearsal will help to ensure that plans for the main event in 2021 will be fit for purpose. The more people who respond, the more accurate information we'll have to help us plan for the census.
Why should you take part in the Census?
The census is important and impacts every single person in Tower Hamlets. The information it collects helps health organisations, the government and local authorities plan services like schools, health services, roads and libraries.
- underpin policy-making and council funding allocation from central government
- provide information to help plan and prioritise service delivery
- give a benchmark for estimates of population between censuses
- are unique in providing detailed demographic information about local small area populations
The census rehearsal is already in full swing and residents are being urged to complete their questionnaires online or at community hubs around Tower Hamlets.
The rehearsal will enable the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the people running the initiative, to test some of the systems and processes it has put in place ahead of the digital-first 2021 Census.
This week, households in Tower Hamlets will have received letters in the post with details for how to fill in their census online about who is living in their household on 13 October. However, there is plenty of help available for those who do not have internet access or need support.
For face-to-face assistance completing the census questionnaire online in Tower Hamlets, visit Wigram House Community Centre in Wades Place, Poplar or The Bromley by Bow Centre in St Leonards Street.
Deputy National Statistician Iain Bell said: "The census rehearsal is up and running and we're already getting online responses. Completion is easy, with many ways to take part. You can do it on your computer, phone or tablet and we have people ready to help those who need our support. If you want to respond on a paper questionnaire, you can.
"The rehearsal is to make sure everything is working as it should ahead of the 2021 Census. The census benefits everyone in your community and has been doing so for more than 200 years. Census data will help improve your life, and those of your friends and family for years to come.
"At the heart of the census is keeping information safe, confidential, secure and private – no one can find out individual's details for 100 years."
The more people who respond now in Tower Hamlets, the more accurate information the ONS will have to plan for the success of the national event which helps inform vital public services such as the number of children's school places, hospital and GP services and social care provision.
A range of accessible support is available for members of the public at census.gov.uk. People can also call 0800 141 2021, text 86677 or tweet @census2021help. An interpretation service is also available on 0800 587 2021.
Face-to-face assistance is available Monday to Friday at Wigram House Community Centre from 10am-2pm, at The Bromley by Bow Centre from 9am-5pm.