Every ten years the ONS (Office for National Statistics) runs the census in England and Wales – a nationwide survey of the population and housing. The census is the only survey which provides a detailed picture of the entire population.

It informs many decisions both nationally and locally on issues like diversity, and on the provision of key services in the area where you live like school places, hospital beds, GP’s and dentist’s services, where to build houses and roads, as well as business decisions as to where and what to invest in.

The next census scheduled for March 2021 will be "digital-first". For the first time, the census will be predominantly online, but with help available for those unable to fill in the census online.

In preparation for this, the ONS will be running a Census Rehearsal in October 2019. This "mini-census" will be an end-to-end test of just about everything ONS need to do for the real thing. It will take place in four diverse testing areas across the country (Carlisle, Ceredigion, Hackney and Tower Hamlets). We'll invite households in these selected areas to take part by filling in a census rehearsal questionnaire.

The rehearsal is an important way for ONS to test that all their processes, systems and services are effective and working as they should before the 2021 Census. By running a rehearsal, they aim to make sure that the census runs smoothly and that it represents everyone. 

THCVS is assisting the ONS with getting the message about the census rehearsal out to as many communities as possible.  If you would like the ONS team to get in contact and you have a space that can be used to publicise the rehearsal to your service users, please get in contact with Dipen Rajyaguru, Census Engagement Manager at  dipen.rajyaguru05@field.census.gov.uk