Following the conclusion of an extensive programme of research and a three-month public consultation, the National Statistician has made a recommendation to the Board of the UK Statistics Authority on the census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales. The National Statistician has recommended a predominantly online census in 2021 supplemented by the further use of administrative and survey data.

The Board of the Authority has accepted and endorsed the National Statistician’s recommendation. Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, has today written to Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, to commend the National Statistician’s recommendation to the Government.

In 2010, the UK Statistics Authority asked the National Statistician and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to review the future provision of population statistics in England and Wales in order to inform the Government and Parliament about the options for the next census. Over the last three years, ONS has undertaken research into new ways of counting the population, reviewed practices in other countries, engaged with a wide range of users, completed a three month public consultation , and commissioned an independent review of methodology led by Professor Chris Skinner of the London School of Economics.

Under the Census Act 1920, it is now for the Government and Parliament to determine the arrangements for census-taking in England and Wales in the future. Speaking today, Sir Andrew Dilnot said: “I am very grateful to colleagues in ONS for all their hard work over the last three years to complete a thorough and extensive review of the future provision of population statistics in England and Wales and the options for the next census. “Along with the Board of the Authority, I welcome the National Statistician’s recommendation and commend it to the Government and Parliament”.

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