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Working together to deliver a successful Census 2021 

Rugby Borough Council is working with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to carry out the 2021 census and help local services to fully meet future needs.

Understanding the needs of communities helps everyone from central government to local organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries. 

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Mannie Ketley, Executive Director of Rugby Borough Council, said:

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important it is that health services and local authorities have up-to-date and high quality data about their communities.

“By completing their census forms all of Rugby’s residents can help make sure that local public services are well funded and focused on the communities that we serve. Accurate data means that we are better able to work with residents to shape our communities and do what's right for Rugby.

“The ONS has made comprehensive plans to run the census safely and I am pleased that the council is able to support them.”

Isobel Pemberton, Census Engagement Manager for Rugby, is part of a diverse Census engagement team reaching communities across the borough, who speak a wide range of languages including Polish, Latvian, Urdu, Bengali and more. She said: "Census 2021 will be crucial in giving a snapshot of life in the 21st Century and during these unprecedented times.

Information from the Census makes a difference to the life of every single person in Rugby as Census data is used to plan things that are important in everyday lives for all our families, things like maternity services, apprenticeship schemes, new bike lanes and nursery spaces locally.

“Because these things matter to all of us, everyone must complete the census. But the data is made anonymous and personal information is locked away for 100 years, so it cannot be seen by government officials dealing with applications you’ve made or payments or services you receive.”

Households will begin receiving letters with online codes in March explaining how they can complete their online census. People can also request a paper questionnaire if they’d prefer to complete the census that way. In areas where lower online completion is expected, around ten per cent of households will receive a traditional paper form through the post.

There is plenty of help available, with people also able to complete the census over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS’ free phone contact centre. The ONS also aims to provide in-person support to complete the census online through Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so. 

The main census field operation will begin only after Census Day, contacting those who have not responded. Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, wear PPE and work in line with all government guidance. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

Census 2021 will include questions about sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations. 

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit

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