An Order in Council is made, after Parliamentary approval, prior to each Census, specifying the date when the Census will be taken, the people who are required to fill in the forms, and the people to be included on the forms. It also sets out the topics on which questions will be asked.

The Census Order 2000 was made on 15 March 2000. The Census (Amendment) Order 2000, which allowed for particulars on religion to be stated in the 2001 Census, was made on 13 December 2000.

Separate Orders were required for England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

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