High Census turnout - but time running out to complete form and avoid £1,000 fine

Peterborough residents are being reminded that time is running out to complete the Census - with those not doing so potentially being fined £1,000 and left with a criminal record.

By Joel Lamy
Sunday, 9th May 2021, 11:47 am
Time is running out to fill in the Census
Time is running out to fill in the Census

So far 97 per cent of households across England and Wales have filled in the questionnaire, above the target of 94 per cent, while all local authorities have seen more than 90 per cent of households respond.

The online questionnaire will close on May 17.

Now the main field operation has ended, around 350,000 households across England and Wales will be invited to take part in the Census Coverage Survey (CCS).

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This short, separate, interviewer-led survey will enable the Office for National Statistics to get a final view of the response rates.

“We’ve had an amazing response to Census 2021. Our information shows 97 per cent of households have responded so far – exceeding our pre-Census target of 94 per cent,” the ONS’s deputy national statistician Iain Bell said.

“Those who have taken part have done so to ensure they are represented for their local area. I’d like to thank everyone who has filled out their form so far as well as all the community groups, organisations and local authorities who have helped us make this Census a success.

“We’re in a great place as we begin our Census Coverage Survey. This is an important part of making sure the Census produces the most accurate population statistics. It asks similar questions to the main Census, just fewer of them, at addresses in a selection of postcodes across England and Wales.

“An interviewer will carry out the survey on your doorstep and it will only take around 15 minutes.

“The CCS is a voluntary survey, but by taking part you will improve the quality of the information the Census gathers. This, in turn, helps to plan and fund local services in your community.”

Although Census Day - Sunday, March 21 – has been and gone it is not too late to respond online. It only takes around 10 minutes per person.

If you have lost the letter or have a second address you have not visited, go to www.census.gov.uk to request an online completion code for your address via SMS text message.

After May 17, only paper questionnaires will be available.

If people refuse to take part, they could be taken to court and issued with a £1,000 fine and criminal record. The census non-compliance operation will begin on May 25.

Extensive community engagement is continuing to make sure all groups of the population are represented in the Census. Students, for example, need to make sure they have completed a questionnaire for their term-time address to help get the services they need in their university town now and in the future.

Students should complete a form even if they were included on their family form at home.

People with second addresses also need to fill out a short form for their properties whether it is a caravan, holiday home or commuter flat.

From May 4, a sample of households will receive a card through the post asking them to take part in the CCS. After that, an interviewer, following the Government’s COVID-19 guidelines, will visit the address and fill in the questionnaire with you on your doorstep.

The interviewer will be able to show an ID badge on a Census 2021 branded lanyard.

Local Census support centres have now closed, but help and paper questionnaires are still available through the Census contact centre on freephone 0800 141 2021 in England and 0800 169 2021 in Wales.