Chair: Sir Bernard Silverman

13:00 – 13:15
(15 minutes)
Introductions, actions reviewPam Everett
13:15 – 13:30
(15 minutes)
Census actions related to COVID-19Orlaith Fraser
13:30 – 15:00
(90 minutes)
End to end Run-through for Communal EstablishmentsOrlaith Fraser
15:00 – 15:15
(15 minutes)
15:15 – 16:15
(60 minutes)
Measuring Respondent ErrorPete Large
16:15 – 16:30
(15 minutes)
Any other BusinessPam Everett

Attendee List

External Panel Members
Sir Bernard Silverman (Chair)
Prof Natalie Shlomo (External Panel Member)
Prof David Martin (External Panel Member)
Dr Nik Lomax (External Panel Member)
Dr Oliver Duke-Williams (External Panel Member)

Office for National Statistics
Pam Everett (Vice-Chair)
Owen Abbott (ONS Panel Member)
Jas Gakhal (Presenter)
Danielle Burke (Presenter)
Pete Large (Presenter)
Orlaith Fraser (Presenter)
Abu Hossain (Presenter)
Christopher Lydiat (Secretariat)
Harry Wrightson (Secretariat)

Sir Ian Diamond (ONS Panel Member, National Statistician)
Cal Ghee (ONS Panel Member)
Jon-Wroth Smith (ONS Panel Member)
Jennet Woolford (ONS Panel Member)
Gareth Powell (Secretariat)


Agenda ItemActionOwner
[9,1]A68 – Produce paper on COVID-19 impacts on travel to work.Jon Wroth-Smith


1.1 – The panel agreed to close action A52, with communal establishment work covered in item 3 of this meeting.

No actions given.


Communal Establishments (CEs) have a number of unique challenges to them, including unit level addresses and number of bed spaces. ONS are using multiple sources of administrative data to collate information on CEs to ensure accurate classification and enumeration will occur.

Hand delivery will occur to all CEs, with post-outs to special groups. There will be advance engagement with establishment managers to inform them of what to expect and discuss potential barriers or requirements.

Different numbers of maximum follow ups for different classes of CEs were highlighted, with differences in number and priority of follow ups.

A mechanism to track CE returns against expectations was also presented, with 2011 returns used along with other indicators to guide expectations.

Finally, Coverage estimation for small CEs (under 50 bed spaces) was discussed with the panel, along with coverage estimation for large CEs (50 or more bed spaces). The changing of the cut-off between small and large CEs from 100 in 2011 to 50 for 2021 was also discussed.

Discussion & Suggestions

3.1 – The timeliness of gathering the data from establishment managers with legal obligations to fill in CE forms was raised, with ONS stating this occurs during the live operation. ONS also engage with establishment managers beforehand to ensure prompt compliance.

3.2 – The panel questioned who was responsible for ensuring CE responses rate are in line with expectations, along with the rationale for ad-hoc nature of response monitoring. ONS stated that governance of responses from CEs and non CEs are held together. It was also stated that some indicators were to be used on a census operational work tool, so were more formal than ad-hoc.

3.3 – The panel discussed the intended outcomes for questions about students’ term time addresses. The panel emphasised the need to collect data on where individuals actually are, according to statistical and legal definitions of usual address and to emphasise this in questions to ensure data was not being collected on where individuals thought they would have been in the absence of COVID-19.

3.4 – The potential for misclassifying CEs was raised, potentially leading to counting CEs as both CEs and non CEs. The use of Unique Property Reference Numbers was highlighted to the panel as a method to mitigate this problem.

No actions given.


ONS intend to measure respondent error as has been performed in the previous two censuses. A range of methods are being investigated, with telephone interviews highlighted as the preferred method.

Discussion & Suggestions

4.1 – The panel inquired into the use cases for the data, with ONS stating it has been used previously to identify questions that were poorly answered.

4.2 – The pickup rate of telephone interviews was raised, with the panel stating a range of reasons why individuals would simply not answer the phone. ONS stated that in the rehearsal, contact using letters was initiated ahead of the calls, with response rates of around one third.

4.3 – Recipients scepticism to discussing personal information over the phone was raised by panel members. The possibility of allowing individuals to call a number to initiate the interview was raised. In addition, it was mentioned that how telephone numbers were gathered would need to be explained.

4.4 – The possibility of using admin data was discussed, with ONS stating only a small number of variables would be obtainable.

No actions given.

5.1 – The implications of National Records of Scotland (NRS) delaying the census in Scotland was raised by the panel, stating certain pieces of research assume uniformity in time of data collection across the UK.

No actions given.