Questionnaires will be distributed to 17,000 local households giving people the chance to help shape the 2011 Census, which in turn will help shape the future of the local area.
To ensure the smooth running of the process, around 33 people will be recruited for local census teams.
The census, carried out every ten years by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is an estimate of the population of England and Wales and its results are used to make sure local communities are correctly represented and receive appropriate funds and services, such as transport and housing.
The selected households will be asked to fill in their questionnaires of 56 questions on Census Rehearsal Day which is Sunday 11 October 2009, just over three weeks away. By taking part, residents of Birmingham who receive a questionnaire will play an important role in helping ONS make sure that everything will run smoothly in the 2011 Census, including testing the new online questionnaire.
Commenting Stephen Hughes, Chief Executive Birmingham City Council and regional champion for the census said: “The census plays an important role in planning future services for Birmingham residents as the results are used by central government to help allocate the money we and other local organisations have to spend on areas like transport, housing, health and schools.
“The Birmingham test is a valuable opportunity to make sure the correct processes are in place for the 2011 Census; we strongly encourage people receiving questionnaires to complete and return these to help shape census preparations”
To help manage the test, Cathy Burnett has been appointed census area manager for Birmingham. She will be tasked with managing the team of around 33 census co-ordinators, collectors, distributors, and special enumerators who will be recruited in the local area. The team will be working closely with the local authority and community groups to support the test.
Commenting on the test, Glen Watson, ONS Census Director said: “This is our chance to road test all of the work we have done to make sure we get a high quality snapshot of the population of England and Wales when we come to do the 2011 Census itself. Returning the questionnaire is really straightforward – and it can be done securely online too, using a unique code. So our message to people is, help us to help you by making the test a real success, in turn this will enable us to ensure we make the best possible population estimate in 2011.”
Facts about the 2009 Census test programme
- The small scale test in Birmingham will include 17,000 addresses and will utilise some of the procedures and processes being delivered within the rehearsal
- In parallel to the test, a rehearsal is taking place in three other areas – Lancaster, the London Borough of Newham and Ynys Môn – Isle of Anglesey
- In total, around 140,000 households in these three areas will be asked to take part on 2009 Census Rehearsal day, 11 October 2009
- These areas represent a cross-section of the population and include a broad range of housing types
- Everyone is asked the same questions on the same day in order to take a snapshot of the population at one moment
- The census questionnaire is easy to fill in, confidential and can be filled in online for the first time
- The results of the rehearsal and test will not be published but used to improve procedures for 2011
- There are 56 questions in total, 14 are about the household and its accommodation and 42 questions are for each individual member of the household to complete
- Most questions can be answered by a simple tick
- Taking part in the 2009 Census Rehearsal and test in Birmingham is voluntary. Everyone will be obliged to take part in the 2011 Census
For more information on the 2009 Census Rehearsal or to request a copy of the census questions in braille or alternative languages, please visit www.census.gov.uk or telephone 0300 0200 901.
British Sign Language video clips and audio recordings are also available on the site.