We are an independent, non-ministerial agency that reports directly to Parliament. We are the UK's largest producer of official statistics and a recognised National Statistical Institute (NSI). We are trusted to collect and protect information. The census asks questions about you, your home and the people who live in it. That is personal information that we keep safe and confidential by law.
How we keep your information safe
We have a strict security regime that follows government standards. This includes physical and IT security measures to protect your information, covering people, processes and technology.
You can find out more about how we keep your information safe by watching the Your data and security playlist on our YouTube channel.
The statistics will not show it is you
We publish statistics from the census so that local councils and central government can better understand the needs of the people living in different areas. We anonymise all information before we publish statistics, so none of your personal details are released.
Your actual census record will be kept secure for 100 years. Only then can it be seen by future generations. For example, in January 2022 you will be able to see what people put on their census forms in 1921.
The law protects you
All our systems, staff and suppliers, and the way we do things, must protect your confidentiality by law.
Laws in place that cover protection of your information include:
- Data Protection Act 2018
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Census Act 1920
- Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007
We must follow these to the letter.
Data Protection Impact Assessment
We have published a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) (PDF, 728.8KB) for Census 2021. A DPIA has been undertaken to help us identify and minimise the data protection risks for the census. The published version has been shortened so as not to include any detail that may present any security or data protection risks.
A Privacy Impact Assessment for the Initial Research Stage (706.6 kB pdf) was published in March 2015. The assessment considers guidance issued by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the advice of privacy advocates, stakeholders and users.