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Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 14 January 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the timetable for the Census rehearsal is. (246060)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the timetable for the Census rehearsal is.(246060)

The rehearsal for the Census in England and Wales will take place on 11 October 2009 in some 61,000 households in Lancaster, 40,000 in Newham and 34,000 in the Isle of Anglesey.

The aims of the rehearsal are to rehearse the field operations and processing activities for a defined set of addresses; to pilot and evaluate all aspects of the 2011 Census design; to identify aspects for improvement and to develop effective ways of working with local authorities, community groups and other stakeholders.

We are already working closely with the local authorities in these areas to establish effective ways of working together in preparation for 2011 and are currently developing form-tracking and operational systems. Address checking in rehearsal areas begins in February and will continue until the end of April. The award of the contract for recruitment, payment and training of field staff is expected at the end of March. Publicity in rehearsal areas will be launched in April. In June the rehearsal questionnaires will be printed and field staff training will begin. Delivery of questionnaires, primarily by post-out but by hand in some areas and to communal establishments will start in September. Also in September the on line facility and contact centre will be available. Although the rehearsal is voluntary, some of the follow-up procedures will be rehearsed and this will begin soon after 11 October.

The questionnaires to be used in the 2009 rehearsal have recently been released and are available on the website at