In March, everybody in England and Wales will be asked to take part in Census 2021.
The census is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Everyone will get a letter inviting them to take part in early March.
Census day is Sunday 21 March.
The Office of National Statistics’ Census team held a webinar for Learning Disability England members on 23 February.
This included a Question and Answer session.
We have decided to exceptionally share the resources from this members only webinar with the wider learning disability community.
This is because people have told us how worried they are about getting help to fill in the census during a national lockdown.
The slides have useful contact numbers in them.
If you are not already a member, why not join us? Individual membership is only £12 a year.
Why is the census important?
The census will tell the ONS how many people live in England and Wales and a little bit about them.
This information helps make decisions about services that affect us all.
That includes things like hospitals, schools and police.
The census will also give us important information about coronavirus and how it has affected people.
Getting support with the census questionnaire
The census will mostly be online.
You can get a paper questionnaire if you need one.
Call the free census contact centre on 0800 141 2021 for help.
You can also call the contact centre to fill in your questionnaire over the phone with someone who is trained to help.
If you have a speech or hearing problem you can use the text relay service. Call (18001) 0800 141 2021.
If you use a screen reader, the online questionnaire should work with your programme.
You can ask a trusted person like a friend, family member or carer to help you with your questionnaire.
The Census Community Partnerships team have put together some additional information for family members and paid supporters who will be helping people to fill in their census:
You can go to a local Census Support Centre.
Here you can use the internet and someone will help you if you need it.
Phone 0800 141 2021 to find your nearest Census Support Centre.
Census Support Centres will be open when the coronavirus rules say that it is safe.
We know some Learning Disability England members who came to the webinar are running information sessions locally.
Why not contact your local self advocacy or family carer support group to see whether they are running sessions or offering help?
If your group is running a session, please let us know and we will help you to share that.
ONS keeps your information safe
When you give your personal information to the census, they will not share it with anybody else.
It is against the law for them to share this private information.
What to do if you have further questions
You can find online help at www.census.gov.uk/help.
These pages answer important questions about the census.
The Census team have given these answers to questions asked by members:
Q. Are the contact centre staff trained to speak to people with Learning Disabilities?
A. The contact centre staff are trained to deal with a variety of people. They aren’t specifically trained to deal with people with learning difficulties, disabilities or mental health concerns. But they will know that different people require different needs and support and their aim will be to establish this and offer any extra support that may be required.
Q. How do you get to speak to an advisor? Some people find the IVR (automated bit of the contact centre) very difficult to deal with so how quickly or how do they get through to an advisor?
There are only three options on the IVR, so hopefully this keeps it quite simple. For those respondents that may struggle, even if they don’t press an option on the IVR, they will still get through to an advisor. If they end up pressing another option, there is lots of options that then also state ‘or please hold to speak to an advisor’.