The National Statistician’s recommendation on The census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales together with a letter of support from the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority were published on 27 March 2014.
In summary the recommendation is:
- An online census of all households and communal establishments in England and Wales in 2021 as a modern successor to the traditional, paper-based decennial census. ONS recognises that special care would need to be taken to support those who are unable to complete the census online.
This would be combined with:
- Increased use of administrative data and surveys in order to enhance the statistics from the 2021 Census and improve annual statistics between censuses.
Together these would make the best use of all available data to provide the population statistics which England and Wales require and offer a springboard to the greater use of administrative data and annual surveys in the future.
Further research is to be carried out over the coming months and years to determine the most appropriate blend of methods and data sources.
A number of supporting documents underpinning the decision were released concurrently, including the findings from the public consultation carried out during the latter part of 2013 as well as a summary of research on ‘Public Attitudes to the Use of Personal Data for Official Statistics’.
The Scottish Government issued a press release on 27 March stating: ‘National Records of Scotland (NRS) has today announced that it intends to focus on planning for a census in 2021 which will be primarily online, while offering alternative modes of completion where necessary’.
In December 2013, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) responded to the consultation on alternatives to the Census.