1. Introduction

After the census, we at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) run the Census Quality Survey (CQS) in England and Wales for a small number of households who responded to the census. The survey asks the same questions as the census. The CQS is a telephone survey rather than self-response. You will be asked the survey questions by a trained interviewer. We then compare the census responses with the CQS responses. Your answers to the CQS will help us work out the overall accuracy of the census self-response. This helps us to understand the quality of the Census 2021 statistics.

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2. Why is this survey important?

The Census Quality Survey (CQS) is important to make sure Census 2021 results are as accurate as possible. Accurate census results mean that organisations have better information about the services your community needs.

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3. Why should I take part?

Taking part in this survey is just as important as completing the census. The information you give will be compared with the information you provided for Census 2021. This helps us to check that people have understood the questions correctly, making the statistics as accurate as possible. Accurate census statistics mean that local authorities, charities and other organisations have better information about the services your community needs.

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4. Taking part in the survey

How do I take part in the survey?

If your household is chosen to take part in the survey, you will receive a letter from us about the Census Quality Survey (CQS). To be able to complete the telephone survey, we need you to provide your contact telephone number. There are two ways you can provide your number:

Our interviewers will call you to complete the survey.

How long will it take to complete the survey?

The length of the survey will depend on the number of people living in your household. We would recommend allowing 15 minutes, but we will be as quick as we can.

What questions will I be asked?

The CQS interviewer will ask you questions from Census 2021. Please don't worry, the interviewer isn't there to check your answers, and they will not know what you put on your census form.  

What if it isn't a convenient time when the interviewer calls?

If one of our interviewers calls at an inconvenient time, they will call back at another time to complete the survey, or you can arrange an appointment. Our interviewers are available during weekdays and evenings, and on Saturday mornings.

Can I complete the survey on behalf of someone in my household?

The CQS will ask questions about the household and the people who live there. One member of the household will complete the household questions. Each member of the household, aged 16 years or over, will be asked their own individual questions. For the members of the household who are aged under 16 years, another member of the household can answer for them. If not everyone is at home we can start the survey and ring back to finish it, or you can arrange an appointment.

Can I complete the survey in Welsh?

If you would like to complete the survey in Welsh, please phone us free on 0808 196 1267 to let us know.

Can I complete the survey in another language?

If you need an interpreter, please phone us free on 0808 196 1267. We will ask for your language and arrange for an interpreter to call you back.

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5. Who is carrying out the survey?

The Census Quality Survey (CQS) is carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). We’re the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics. We compile independent information about the UK's society and economy, which provides evidence for policy- and decision-making. This information also helps to direct resources to where they are needed most. We also ran Census 2021 in England and Wales. We do not work for any political parties. We’re not a money-making organisation.

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6. Why have I been selected?

We chose your household from those that took part in Census 2021. We need households that have completed the census to take part in the Census Quality Survey (CQS) to make sure the Census 2021 results are as accurate as possible. The answers you give in the CQS will represent other households like yours and help us to understand the quality of our statistics.

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7. Do I have to take part?

The Census Quality Survey (CQS) is very important, and we need your help to make it successful. No-one has to take part if they do not want to. However, to paint an accurate picture of our society, it’s vital that we interview as many selected households as possible, with individuals from all walks of life.

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8. How will the information be used?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) collects information from your survey under our statutory objective to promote and safeguard the production of official statistics that serve the public good.

We compare the information from the Census Quality Survey (CQS) with the information from Census 2021. Your answers will help us work out if people have understood the questions on their census form. This then helps us to understand the quality of the statistics that we produce. Accurate census statistics mean that local authorities, charities and other organisations have better information about the services your community needs.

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9. Is the survey confidential?

Personal information you give us is only used to measure the quality of the statistics produced from Census 2021. All information collected by the Census Quality Survey will be subject to the same strict security and confidentiality controls as data collected in Census 2021.

All our systems, staff and suppliers, and the way we do things must protect your confidentiality by law.

More information about how we process your personal information and your rights under data protection legislation can be found on our Data protection page.

For more information on your census data and security please visit the data and security section of the census website.

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10. Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any queries about taking part in the survey, please phone us on 0808 196 1267.

The opening times for the phone line are:

Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm

Saturday 8am to 1pm

You can email accessibility@ons.gov.uk if you have accessibility requests.

We'd appreciate your suggestions on how we can improve the CQS or any of our other surveys. It would also be great to hear from you if you're happy with the service you've received. You can email us at surveyfeedback@ons.gov.uk to do so.

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