Households across Dorset will soon be asked to take part in the 2021 Census.
The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every 10 years since 1801, with the exception of 1941.
It will be run predominantly online, with all Dorset households receiving a letter in late February with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablet devices.
Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at Office for National Statistics, told KeeP 106: “A successful census will ensure everyone from local government to charities can put services and funding in the places where they are most needed.
“This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. That’s why it is so important everyone takes part and we have made it easier for people to do so online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.” Census day will be on March 21, but households will receive letters with online codes allowing them to take part from early March.
Although the census is ‘digital first’, paper questionnaires and a range of support will be available for those who need it. A trained census team will be available to help people complete the census over the phone via a free phone contact centre. All details will be provided in the letter.
Dorset Council’s Digital Hotline is also offering support to people who may wish to get online for the first time to complete the census. Their group of volunteer Digital Champions can be reached by telephone on 01305 221048 Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays, 10am-midday.
A census field team will follow up with households who have not completed their questionnaire after census day. The census field operation will be carried out without anyone needing to enter a home. All contacts with the public will be socially distanced and census field staff will be equipped with PPE in line with government guidance.
Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.