‘Transforming the census- to 2021 and beyond’: Winchester, 28-29 June 2016


2 September 2016: The full QA Panel Session responses have now been published, including answers to the whiteboard questions not covered on the day.

The aim of the conference was to inform stakeholders about the latest research, get feedback on the statistical design of the 2021 Census and Admin Data Census, and reinforce confidence in CTP’s delivery of a successful programme.

ONS presented research and plans around the move to a predominantly online census in 2021, and the potential move to an admin data based census after 2021. This included making the best use of all available data sources that are needed to produce better statistics for making better decisions. The agenda for the event can be found on Eventbrite. A list of the organisations represented at the conference can also be downloaded.

We are grateful for the valuable feedback and contributions provided by the many stakeholders who attended. This will add considerable value to our planning of the 2021 Census and beyond.

If you would like to be involved in the Census Transformation Programme, or need further information on the conference or the programme, please email us.

The main themes discussed

The main themes to emerge from the thoughts and questions voiced at the conference are listed below and remain the topics for discussion and research. ONS welcomes an open dialogue with our stakeholders, so if you would like to contribute to these topics please email us.

Census content and outputs

  • considering what potential changes in the questionnaire design might deliver for users - focus group discussions on user requirements for new topics such as volunteering and gender identity
  • the differences between census and administrative data definitions of households in the context of an address frame for the 2021 census and for producing household estimates in an admin based census

Census and wider ONS transformation data collection

  • understanding and dealing with non response to online data collection methods - who are most likely to not respond?
  • issues around understanding and measuring over coverage for the 2021 Census
  • wider digital transformation in ONS and throughout government - how other National Statistics Institutes are digitally developing their census

Administrative data research

  • how other data (eg utility data, business registers and local authority information) may be used to help understand activity and address types, in order to build an enhanced address register for the benefit of both the 2021 census and an admin data census
  • how the quality of admin data based estimates can be measured and assessed against user requirements
  • gauging confidence (based on our latest assessment) in our progress towards an Admin Data Census