20 Feb 2011

How to fill in the Census?

Several years ago the Green party had a campaign to try and stop the £450 million census (see my blog here). Well the day, Sunday March 27th 2011 is now rapidly approaching. Interestingly it seems that virtually all now agree (incl Whitehall) that the census is useless for government planning but it is too late to cancel!! Another case of you should have listened to Greens!

"There are, I believe, ways of doing this which will provide better, quicker information, more frequently and cheaper." The Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude last summer
Anyway Green and indeed other concerns go deeper and in this blog I cover a bit of what NO2ID have to say about the Census. Photo: Ludlow Green, Ruscombe

NO2ID will be asking for all the raw census data to be destroyed, to stop it being shared for other uses, and are strongly suggesting that people only fill in the minimal information - ie not answering any
voluntary questions. This makes sense to me.

To counter this there are plans by the Census team to tackle any negative media re the Census - see here. This year's list of questions is the longest and most intrusive to date - and amazingly unlike in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the absoluteconfidentiality of personal information is no longer guaranteed by law in England and Wales. This was changed by the last government: Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 section 39: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/18/section/39

No2ID write: "Raw census data may be acquired by the police, the intelligence agencies, immigration authorities, tax inspectors, DWP investigators, foreign governments or private sector or academic 'approved researchers', etc. There is more ethnic profiling than before. In Scotland, the census is asking about both 'Gypsies / Travellers' and 'Polish' ethnic backgrounds.  Unlike the questions on religion, these ethnic ones are mandatory, with a fine of up to £1000 and a criminal record for failing to answer.  (Despite there being over 390,000 self declared Jedi recorded on the last 2001 census, more than the number of professed Sikhs or Jews, there is no tick box for Jedi.)"

You now, for the first time, are expected to state your employer's name, their main activity, their address, and the location you work at, including postal address and post code.  This applies to everyone, whether they work for Tesco, for the intelligence services, or are witnesses fleeing organised crime. How convenient for criminals and foreign governments to have all such information in one place..."

See more about the questions about your work at:


Philip Booth said...

See Guardian:

This covers the Green party's decision to not boycott the census at this time....although Stop the War Coalition look set to call for a boycott.

Philip Booth said...

See one view of how to fill in the form at:

Anonymous said...

For your info! Do check it out.