Census will help plan future local services, says council - The Rugby Observer

Census will help plan future local services, says council

NEXT month’s national census will be used to help local services to fully meet future needs, says Rugby Borough Council.

The council is working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to carry out the 2021 census, which aims to understand the needs of communities and help plan and fund future public services like transport, education and health.

The census, taking place on March 21, will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, aiming to ensure decisions made following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Mannie Ketley, Executive Director of Rugby Borough Council, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important it is that health services and local authorities have up-to-date and high quality data about their communities.

“By completing their census forms all of Rugby’s residents can help make sure that local public services are well funded and focused on the communities that we serve. Accurate data means that we are better able to work with residents to shape our communities and do what’s right for Rugby.

“The ONS has made comprehensive plans to run the census safely and I am pleased that the council is able to support them.”

Isobel Pemberton, Census Engagement Manager for Rugby, is part of a diverse Census engagement team reaching communities across the borough, who speak a wide range of languages including Polish, Latvian, Urdu, Bengali and more. She said: “Census 2021 will be crucial in giving a snapshot of life in the 21st Century and during these unprecedented times.

“Information from the Census makes a difference to the life of every single person in Rugby as Census data is used to plan things that are important in everyday lives for all our families, things like maternity services, apprenticeship schemes, new bike lanes and nursery spaces locally.

“Because these things matter to all of us, everyone must complete the census. But the data is made anonymous and personal information is locked away for 100 years, so it cannot be seen by government officials dealing with applications you’ve made or payments or services you receive.”

Warwickshire County Council’s customer and transformation spokeswoman Coun Kam Kaur is anticipating a good return for the Census 2021.

She said: “Census data provides us with a crucial source of insight into our local communities. It’s really important that we understand the demographic, social and economic characteristics of our residents so that we can anticipate demand for services and design them accordingly.

“This is one of the few ways we get to learn more about the population of Warwickshire and a good participation rate will make a real difference.”

Households will begin receiving letters with online codes in March explaining how they can complete their online census. People can also request a paper questionnaire if they’d prefer to complete the census that way. In areas where lower online completion is expected, around ten per cent of households will receive a traditional paper form through the post.

The census can be completed over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS’ free phone contact centre. The ONS also aims to provide in-person support to complete the census online through Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so.

The main census field operation will begin after Census Day, contacting those who have not responded. Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses, will always be socially distanced, and will wear PPE and work in line with all government guidance. They will operate in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

Census 2021 will include questions about sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. For the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

Visit www.census.gov.uk for more information and advice.

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