Peterborough residents reminded to fill in Census as officers door-knock over Easter

Residents in Peterborough are being reminded to fill in their answers to the Census with officers knocking on doors to make sure the forms are completed.

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 4:05 pm
Census Day was March 21

The Census is important for the planning and provision of key services including GP surgeries, school places and hospital beds, and so far millions of households across England and Wales have given their responses with Census Day of March 21 having passed.

Field officers are already out and about and will visit households who have not submitted their Census this Easter weekend. The operation will reach its peak next week so more officers will be knocking at doors where records show there has been no response.

Nicky Warnock, Census engagement manager for Peterborough said “Even though Census Day was March 21 you still need to complete your Census questionnaire if you haven’t already done so.

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“Census data is really important for the local community - it is vital for the local authority who rely on it to access funding for local services. If you don’t take part in the Census the council don’t know what you and your families’ needs are now, or will be in the future e.g. school places, doctors surgeries etc.

“It’s also really important for charities too - they use the data to plan services and evidence the need for funding.

“Rest assured your data is safe - you can’t be identified by the information that you give, and when the data is released it is statistical data only (your name and address are removed). It is impossible for anyone to look at a particular address and know anything about you or your family - Census data is always at an area level, not at an individual household level.

“If you need help to complete your Census form you can get help locally or via a telephone helpline. There are two Census support centres in Peterborough - PARCA, who are based at Unity Hall (telephone: 01733 563420) and Gladstone District Community Association (telephone: 01733 566343).

“If you pop your postcode in at https://census.gov.uk/en/find-a-support-centre/ it will bring up your nearest support centre. PARCA and GLADCA can book an appointment for you to complete your Census over the phone or in person at their offices.

“There is also a national helpline - advisors can help with telephone completion, paper questionnaires, accessible options and language support (telephone: 0800 141 2021). You can also ask a friend or family member to help you, I’ve helped my friends and family who have had questions or couldn’t get online.

“You may be visited by a Census officer if you haven’t completed your form - they are working across Peterborough and can provide paper questionnaires and offer help and advice to residents. Officers will carry an ID badge and will only call between the hours of 9am and 8pm.

“They will never ask for any form of payment (any fines are issued by the courts, not by the field team).

“Finally, don’t forget that it is a legal requirement to complete your Census form because the information is so important. Peterborough is a fantastic city and it’s growing rapidly - every Census form helps paint a picture of what the local area will need to make it even better in the coming years.”

“Census 2021 has gone brilliantly so far,” Office for National Statistics director of operations Pete Benton said. “The overwhelming majority of people across England and Wales have already taken part and we’ve heard some great stories, from those completing their 10th census to those completing their first.

“But, for us to have the most accurate picture of the whole population, we need everyone to fill in their questionnaire. By doing so you will be helping shape the local services in your community – the bus routes, school places, the hospital beds.

“You can do it easily online, but for those who want help we have a range of Census support centres open across England and Wales, and paper forms are available for those who need them.

“Everyone is required by law to respond to the Census and if you do so now you won’t be fined.”

The questionnaire takes around 10 minutes to fill in per person in a household.

The role of field officers is to give help and encouragement to those who have not yet filled in their questionnaire online or on paper after Census Day and direct them to the support services they need.

Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, be equipped with PPE and work in line with all government guidance.

They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit. They also carry ID to show they are genuinely working on the Census.

The Census is a unique survey of all households in England and Wales. To be truly representative it needs everyone to be counted.

“That includes people with second homes,” Mr Benton said. “If you’ve not been to your caravan, holiday let or city commuter pad because of lockdown you still need to complete a Census for all your properties – even if there’s no-one there – so that we get an accurate picture of the entire housing stock.

“And if you’ve moved out of a home in London or another city and into a second home in a more rural location during the pandemic you need to complete a census for both properties.

“All students need to be included in the Census too. They should complete it for their usual term-time address. If they’re currently living at their home address they will need to be included in the Census for that household too.”

All households will have been sent a letter in the post in early March with instructions for taking part. If you have lost the letter or have a second address you have not visited, go to census.gov.uk to request an online completion code for your address via SMS text message.

You will also find all the help you need online, or you can visit a local census support centre where you can get help to fill out your form.