The Government recognises that the investment of time and resources in a national Census is only justified if the results are made accessible to users and meet their needs. This requires a continuing dialogue with users of the Census, conducted under the guidelines of the National Statistics Protocol on Customer Services and User Consultation, one of twelve protocols which describes how the principles and standards of the National Statistics Code of Practice are to be implemented in practice.
One of the ways ONS consulted with Census users was through standing Advisory Groups to represent the interests of the main user communities. These covered central government, local authorities, the health service, the business sector, and the academic sector. There were additional groups to cover Census users in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The topic content of the 2001 Census and the programme of output was developed through rounds of consultation. Proposals were put to many hundreds of user organisations, and revised on the basis of feedback.
There were also other specially convened liaison groups, such as the 2001 Census UK Output Working Group, made up of representatives from the five Census Advisory Groups, which looked at the geographical, production, and dissemination aspects of output.