You asked

Please provide copies of all correspondence, minutes of meetings, and phonecalls held with the following organisations about the proposed guidance for the sex question in the 2021 census since 1 December 2019:


Scottish Trans Alliance

Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES)


Gendered Intelligence

Equality and Human Rights Commission

We said

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request regarding correspondence, meetings, and phonecalls with certain organisations about the proposed sex question in the 2021 Census since 1 December 2019.

We have conducted a search of all information we hold, and the requested information can be found in the attached PDF files. These pieces of correspondence have been redacted to remove personal information, organsations not included in the request, and information outside of the scope of the request.

We set out our recommendations for the 2021 Census in the White Paper 'Help Shape Your Future' in December 2018. To ensure a full evidence base on which to make these recommendations, we engaged with, and considered, evidence from many of those who have an interest in each topic. We used published criteria to evaluate potential question topics and question design and engaged with a wide range of people and organisations to ensure our information base is robust when putting forward our proposals.

The current, well-tested, "male" or "female" sex question had the lowest non-response rate (0.4 per cent) of all questions on the Census in 2011. It is important that the definitions of key questions are retained in order to maintain comparability over time. A major concern was not to reduce the value of the information already collected through the "male" or "female" sex question, which is an essential variable that feeds into population projections. These projections underpin decision-making, planning and resource allocation across central and local government. A core demographic variable, of fundamental importance for a range of census users providing vital information for national and local decision making, sex (male, female) is also one of the 9 protected characteristics in the 2010 Equality Act and the data are used extensively to monitor and measure inequalities.

Our work was often done on the Sex and Gender Identity (GI) topics together.

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