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Working together to deliver a successful Census 2021

The Census is coming

Published: Tuesday, 23rd February 2021

The Office for National Statistics – which runs Census 2021 – is working with the Borough Council of Kings Lynn & West Norfolk to deliver a successful census.

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to local organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Census Engagement Manager Paul Walmsley says: “The level of advice and support given to me from both the borough council and local community groups has been exceptional, I and the ONS team are determined to achieve the best possible Census for all in Kings Lynn and West Norfolk.”

Lorraine Gore, Chief Executive of the borough council added: “Our area has seen many changes over the last decade and the census will help inform how the borough council can shape and improve the future of west Norfolk for our residents and businesses. I would encourage you to take part.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions people may need to complete the survey in a different way to last time. Please look at the census letter when it drops on your doormat to see how you can take part.”

Ged Greaves, Census liaison manager at the borough council, said: “There are still many ways that people can complete the census. It’s vital that we all take time to complete it. Census information helps a wide range of people and organisations whether public, private, voluntary or community to do their work. The Census provides the information needed to plan and run services such as schools, health and well-being, roads, libraries and economic development. It also helps allocate funds to make sure services get to where they are needed most. All information is anonymised.”

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 10% of households will receive a traditional paper form through the post.

There is plenty of help available, with people also able to complete the census 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 only after Census Day, contacting those who have not responded. Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, wear PPE and work in line with all government guidance. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

Census 2021 will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, 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.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit

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