Planning for the 2011 Census
- Meeting of The Former Performance and Scrutiny Overview Committee, Friday, 14th January, 2011 9.30 a.m. (Item 110.)
Further to Minute No. C136 of the meeting of Cabinet held on 15th December, 2010, Miles Crompton (Research Co-ordinator) accompanied by Michael Whetton (Census Area Manager) presented the submitted report which set out details of the next UK Census which would take place on 27th March, 2011. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) was working in partnership with local authorities to benefit from their knowledge of local areas. The Council could help ONS to achieve the highest possible coverage in the Borough which would improve the accuracy of local statistics and maximise Government funding determined by census data.
The 2011 Census would offer online completion for the first time, as well as postal response. ONS had begun recruiting staff who would work on the Census with local agencies and communities to maximise response from those who have difficulty in completing the form, or who otherwise did not respond.
The Council and partner agencies were supporting the Census Area Manager to make use of local knowledge, experience and additional sources of data to ensure the success of the 2011 Census.
The 2011 Census would cost the Government £480 million, but there would be no direct cost to Rotherham MBC. During 2010 and 2011 there would be in-kind contributions through officer time to support preparation for, and implementation of, the Census.
The risks involved with the Census largely related to response rate and how accurately the data represented the actual population which were the responsibility of ONS. There was a risk to the Council from an under-count of population because a large amount of Revenue Support Grant was based on Census data. It was, therefore, in the interests of the Council to assist in maximising Census coverage locally.
The report covered:-
- maximising response
- Census content and topics
- population and usual residence
- national identity
- 2011 census data
- Census Operation
- Contribution by Rotherham MBC
- address register
- enumeration and intelligence
- community engagement
- recruitment and logistics
- communications and publicity
- elected members
- Contribution from Rotherham Partner Organisations.
Discussion and a question and answer session ensued and the following issues were covered:-
- engaging the hard to count population
- census timescales
- non responders and chase up activity
- utilisation of Ward Councillors, Parish Councils (Parish Network) and community groups to assist in maximising responses
- online usage and need to gear up community buildings
- future of the Census
- partner organisations
- penalties for non-compliance
- CRB checks for census staff
- potential help from recommendations of previous scrutiny review
- need for a hotline number for elected members
- awareness of disabilities that could lead to non-compliance e.g. dyslexia
Resolved:- (1) That the importance of the 2011 Census to local intelligence and funding, and contribution which the Council and partners could make to its success locally be noted.
(2) That the key role which the Council and local partners could play in promoting the Census, maximising coverage and thereby ensuring the accuracy of data for planning and funding purposes be noted.
(3) That it be noted that Cabinet agreed that Rotherham MBC work with the Office for National Statistics and local partners, as set out in the Draft Census Partnership Plan, summarised in Sections 7.5 and 7.6 of the submitted report.
(4) That, following the completion of the 2011 Census, a further report be submitted on the outcomes, lessons learnt etc.