Every ten years, for over 200 years, every household in England and Wales has been required to respond to the Census. The Census provides population statistics that are used by planners, policy makers and researchers, including SAHSU. Improvements in technology and in government data sources offer opportunities to either modernise the existing census process, or to develop an alternative census method that re-uses existing administrative data already held within Government. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is currently consulting on these options and have narrowed the choices down to two approaches for census-taking in future:
- once a decade, like that conducted in 2011, but primarily online or
- using existing government data and compulsory annual surveys.
No decision has yet been made by ONS and they have undertaken a consultation (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/about-ons/get-involved/consultations/consultations/beyond-2011-consultation/index.html) from which ONS will publish their findings in 2014. SAHSU is strongly supportive of continuing the once a decade census and has provided a response to the ONS consultation (below).
You can download the full SAHSU response here: SAHSU ONS Census response
The Academy of Medical Sciences has also replied to the consultation and their response can be viewed at http://www.acmedsci.ac.uk/policy/policy-projects/ons-census-consultation-response/.