Leader's column: Getting ready for Census 2021

In her latest column, Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington talks more about this year's Census, which is fast approaching.

In my column 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 is supporting local residents to fill out the 2021 Census on March 21. 

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. 

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 impact of coronavirus. 

But the Census has direct consequences on the public services we provide as well, as the results are used to allocate funding and resources for things such as 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. 

This year’s Census will 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. 

That being said, we 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, email, social media or text message. 

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 one-to-one help and advice while taking into account all necessary precautions against coronavirus.  

Please look out for your online access code and further information about how this year’s Census will be carried out over the next few weeks. 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. 

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