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Census Forms

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 603W, on census forms, how many households received census forms; what assessment he has made of the impact of households returning forms (a) early and (b) late; and if he will make a statement. [114607]

The information falls within the responsibility of the National statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Matthew Taylor, dated May 2003:

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent further question concerning the 1991 Census.(114607)
The delivery of census forms for the 1991 Census took place between 12 and 18 April 1991, although in some areas, particularly inner cities, forms were being delivered up to Census day—21 April 1991.
In the 1991 Census, forms were collected by enumerators during the collection round between 22 and 25 April. However it was anticipated that a number of forms would be posted back direct and measures had been put in place to deal with direct postal returns. Just over 1,000 forms were returned prior to Census day and these were transferred to the processing office for inclusion in processing. The early receipt of these forms had no impact on the 1991 Census.
During the collection round, the timing of which was originally extended until 29 April in inner city areas, enumerators checked the forms briefly for any omissions, and issued further forms where contact had not been established or where there was some uncertainty about the occupation of the accommodation. Where households were absent a form was left asking the householders to complete and return the form to the local field staff. Due to the large number of uncollected forms, mainly from non-contacts and in inner cities, the collection period was extended into May in some areas and specially targeted postal facilities were introduced in the very worst areas to allow forms to be returned direct to OPCS (now ONS). Forms continued to be received in this way until early July.
A processing order of Counties and Regions had been agreed in advance, and the late returns did cause some problems, particularly for Inner London and counties early in the processing order, because it was necessary to insert the forms into their correct position prior to processing. Information about those households known to be present but for which no form was received in time to be included in the processing was imputed.