The Public Administration Select Committee reported to the House on Too soon to scrap the Census
in its Fifteenth Report of Session 2013-14, published on 17 April 2014. The Government Response was received on 18 July 2014 and is published in this report as Appendix 1. The UK Statistics Authority's Response was received on 21 July 2014 and is published in this Report as Appendix 2.
Here you can browse the report which was ordered by the House of Commons:
ONS has released a new 2011 Area Classification for Output Areas (2011 OAC), produced by University College London on behalf of ONS.
With this three-tier classification, the release includes, cluster codes and names for the 8 supergroups, 26 groups and 76 subgroups in the classification for all UK output areas, together with supporting material, including a map for the supergroups and groups, a methodology note, pen portraits describing each of the supergroups/groups/subgroups, and radial plots showing the value of 60 Census variables used to produce the OAC.
Read the latest outputs from researchers, alumni and friends at UCL CASA
, including some insightful mapping and tools produced from 2011 Census releases.
The DataShine mapping platform is an output from an ESRC
Future Research Leaders Project entitled “Big Open Data: Mining and Synthesis
“. The overall project seeks to promote and develop the use of large and open datasets amongst the social science community. A key part of this initiative is the visualisation of these data in new and informative ways to inspire new uses and generate insights.
Phase one has been to create the mapping platform with data from the 2011 Census. The next phases will work on important issues such as representing the uncertainty inherent in many population datasets and also developing tools that will enable the synthesis of data across multiple sources.
Simply said, ENGAGE is a door for researchers that leads them to the world of Open Government Data. By using the ENGAGE platform, researchers and citizens will be able to submit, acquire, search and visualize diverse, distributed and derived Public sector datasets from all the countries of the European Union.
Register on the ENGAGE Platform and join a growing and active community of users who rely on Open (Government) Data for their research:
On 12th May 2014, John Pullinger was today named as the next National Statistician, replacing Jil Matheson who retires at the end of June after five years in the role.
In his new post, he will be head of the Government Statistical Service, and chief executive of the UK Statistics Authority – the watchdog body set up to safeguard the production and publication of official statistics.
An independent report for government on how feasible an open address gazetteer would be, written by Katalysis, was published on the 13 February 2014. Following the publication the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills provided a period for interested parties to comment on the report.
The period for comment closed on the 14 March to which 17 representations were received. The document, which can be found under the link below, contains each of the responses in full with the agreement of the irrespective authors.
This report is on the inquiry by House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) into the future of the census. It follows the publication by ONS of the recommendations of the National Statistician after a national consultation. The Inquiry agrees that the decennial census should be kept.
Witnesses emphasised, among other things, the great financial benefits to business provided by census data and these have been quantified. The Committee recommends that the ONS now scope and set out a more ambitious vision for the creative and full use of administrative data to provide rich and valuable population statistics, which could potentially be more accurate and up-to-date than the census, and cover new topics. It also recommends that the Government now embark upon a public information campaign to communicate the benefits of increased data sharing for statistical purposes, and the safeguards which will be in place to protect people’s personal information and privacy. The report includes formal minutes of the proceedings.
ONS has published three new releases of data from the 2011 Census.
- Detailed Characteristics on Approximated Social
Grade for 2011 Census Merged Wards and Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs)
in England and Wales
- Detailed Characteristics on Travel to Work for
local authorities in England and Wales
- Local Characteristics on Travel to Work for
Output Areas in England and Wales
All tables from these three releases, and from previous
releases of Local and Detailed Characteristics are available on the Nomis
In 2010, the UK Statistics Authority asked the National Statistician and the ONS to review the future provision of population statistics in England and Wales in order to inform the Government and Parliament about the options for the next Census. Over the last three years, ONS has undertaken research into new ways of counting the population, reviewed practices in other countries, engaged with a wide range of users, completed a three month public consultation and commissioned an independent review of methodology led by Professor Chris Skinner of the London School of Economics.
The Board of the Authority has accepted and endorsed the National Statistician’s recommendation and Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, on 27th March wrote to the Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, to commend the National Statistician's recommendation to the Government.
The recommendation is for a predominantly online census in 2021 supplemented by further use of administrative and survey data. The full recommendation and report of the
consultation can be viewed here:
The statistics published on 21st March 2014 by the Registrar General for Scotland on the Scotland's Census website, present further details from the 2011 Census in Scotland on Ethnicity, Identity, Language and Religion, from national to local level.
An independent review for Government on the feasibility of an Open Address Gazetteer, published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on 13 February, 2014, following the case presented by the Open Data User Group.
The review has determined that open usage would result in substantial and valuable growth in new usage with even greater community benefit. The recommendation is that a basic address product should be free to all users at the point of use under the Open Government Licence, while premium versions would still be sold, leaving current production and maintenance facilities in place.
The aggregate outputs from UK censuses provide detailed, high quality information on a wide range of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of people and households across the UK. They are, however, very large and complex datasets, which can make them difficult to understand and use effectively.
The UK Data Service will be holding an afternoon workshop at the University of Manchester on 20th March 2014 to address these issues. The workshop will focus on aggregate outputs from the UK 2011 Census and demonstrate how new methods of managing and providing access to them have made it much easier to work with them and exploit the valuable information they contain.
For further details on the content of the workshop, ticket prices and how to book, visit: www.census.ukdataservice.ac.uk
Read Peter Mouncey's blog piece regarding his selection of a landmark paper from the International Journal of Market Research archives: The utility to market research of the classification of residential neighbourhoods - Ken Baker, John Bermingham and Colin McDonald, BMRB (published in the Journal of the Market Research Society, Vol.39 No. 1, January 1997).
On 19th December 2013, ONS published 35 Detailed Characteristic tables which covers the topic of qualifications, cross-tabulated with one or more other topics from the census. There are 11 tables produced at MSOA level, 11 tables at merged ward level, 9 tables at merged local authority level and 4 tables at regional level.
All tables are available from the Nomis website and can be accessed at
On 29th November 2013, ONS published Detailed Characteristic tables covering the topics of Labour Market, cross-tabulated with one or more other topics from the census. Tables are provided for 2011 Census Merged Wards and Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) in England and Wales.
There are 35 Detailed Characteristic tables in this release: 28 tables produced at both MSOA, 2011 Census Merged Ward Level, and 7 tables at Merged Local Authority level. 2 tables (DC6210 and DC6215) have been withdrawn from this release. On a final statistical disclosure control inspection there were disclosure issues and revised versions are being considered for inclusion in a later release.
All tables are available from the Nomis website and can be accessed at:
This report from McKinsey & Co shows how open data can help create $3 trillion a year of economic value across seven sectors globally. The seven sectors are Education, Transportation, Consumer products, Electricity, Oil and Gas, Health Care and Consumer Finance. The potential value is shown to be divided roughly between the USA ($1.1tn), Europe ($900bn) and the rest of the world ($1.7tn).
The report is available in pdf, Kindle and eBook format. In a related podcast, the McKinsey Global Institute’s Michael Chui discusses the economic potential of open data and how governments and businesses can unlock it.
Géoportail is a comprehensive on-line service of the French government with maps and high resolution aerial photography from more than 90 sources for France, freely available as open data.
The Working Group has been established to provide an informed and collective response
to the potential discontinuation of the conventional census being currently considered by ONS which would have profound implications for the future availability of data for small areas, and thus for geodemography.
Through collaboration between the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and University College London (UCL), a new 2011 UK Output Area Classification (OAC) is being constructed using 2011 Census data.
Your views are sought on the Preliminary 2011 England and Wales OAC. Please click here
to complete a short questionnaire (that runs until 30 September 2013).
A three month public consultation on the census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales is launched today (23rd Sept) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
After each census, ONS reviews the future needs for information about the population and housing in England and Wales, and how these needs might be met.
The 2011 Census successfully provided population statistics that will be used for the next decade by planners, policy makers and researchers across the public and private sectors. Our population is changing rapidly, and the need to understand these changes will continue.
The Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Beyond 2011 programme is currently reviewing these needs, and how they might best be met in future.
Improvements in technology and in government data sources offer opportunities to either modernise the existing census process, or to develop an alternative census method that reuses existing data already held within government.
Their research has resulted in two approaches for taking the census in
a census once a decade, like that conducted in 2011, but primarily
a census using existing government data and compulsory annual
Both approaches would provide annual statistics about the size of the population, nationally and for local authorities. A census using existing data and surveys would provide more statistics about the characteristics of the population every year. An online census would provide more detailed statistics once a decade.
The consultation document
describes these approaches, their strengths and weaknesses and the different types of information they could provide.
No decision has yet been made, and ONS welcomes your views. Please respond using the online questionnaire
Data firms could be in line for a raft of lucrative Government contracts after a leading think tank recommended Whitehall should seek out private sector companies who can utilise 'big data' to make public sector savings. Read the news piece here:
During the course of this year, the Census Offices are releasing a vast quantity of detailed results from the 2011 Census. By attending this event you will learn how others are making use of the latest Census and other open data, and so will help you to benefit from these sources within your organisation.
Benefit from a 20% discount if you book now. With an impressive line up of experts on the speaker panel this is one not to miss!
www.mrs.org.uk/tracking a decade
On 31 July 2013 ONS published the following statistical releases:
Local Characteristics - 19 tables for output areas in England and Wales - ethnicity, identity, language and religion available from the Nomis website: www.nomisweb.co.uk
United Kingdom censuses - UK population estimates by single year of age and sex for local authorities available from the UK page here: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/uk-census/index
A series of three programmes on BBC Radio 4. Steve Hewlett describes the extraordinary amount of information which can be gleaned from our online behaviour and smartphones. Is new technology, he asks, having a profound effect on our notions of privacy?
For more information on Privacy and Data Protection please visit the Real Time Geodemographics page
Following on from ONS' Beyond 2011 benefits realisation consultation process, they have put together the information they have received so far into a series of ‘User Statements’. They are requesting your help to make these as comprehensive as possible in order to build the case for the future of this type of statistics.
Visit the website for more information on how to provide comment on these user statements.
This paper by Peter Furness
provides an introduction to the subject of Real Time Geodemographics. New technologies such as GPS tracking and virtual worlds provide an opportunity to describe people in much greater detail in terms of space and time than has been possible in traditional geodemographics. The paper surveys the enabling technologies and illustrates what can be achieved with a series of case studies. It also examines the downside risks, especially the data protection and privacy issues that will impact public acceptance. Finally, it makes a few predictions for how real time geodemographics will develop over the next few years.Visit this page for more Real Time Geodemographics information.
The UK Data Service is a comprehensive resource funded by the ESRC to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data.
It is a single point of access to a wide range of secondary data including large-scale government surveys, international macrodata, business microdata, qualitative studies and census data from 1971 to 2011, all backed with extensive support and guidance. However, there may be some access restrictions.
Data sharing is promoted to encourage the reuse of data, and provide expertise in developing best practice for research data management. The UK Data Service provides a very full introduction to the Service.
What is the value and viability of the UK Census? What happens if there isn't a Census in 2021? On 26 June at the LGA the SRA's Summer event, 'The Census: Now and in the Future' will examine this issue from a variety of expert perspectives.
In a Report on Communicating Statistics released on Wednesday 29th May 2013, entitled “Not Just True, but Also Fair” the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) recommends that departmental press officers and government statistics staff should work together much more closely to ensure that press releases give an accurate and meaningful picture of the truth behind the figures.
Read the full report here:
The MRS Census and Geodemographics Group will be holding a seminar on Wednesday 6th November in London to explore how businesses are benefiting from early use of Census and other Open Data.
Topics to be covered will include:
- Illustrations of how areas have changed between 2001 and 2011 - how the Census can be used to track a decade of change.
- Benefits that commercial users are realising from the Census.
- Other open data sources that are freely accessible to users.
- How leading information providers are building their geodemographic discriminators.
To register your interest in this event email email@example.com
ONS have released the first 42 Detailed Characteristic tables as part of release 3. These tables are available via the NOMIS website
. The details of these 42 tables can be found on the ONS website
Following this release, publication will continue with Detailed Characteristics, which are planned to be completed during the summer. This will be followed by the release of Local Characteristics, planned to start in August 2013.
ONS Census Customer Services are now accepting requests for univariate commissioned tables and will start to take requests for multivariate tables from September 2013. Charges will be for this service will be agreed prior to work commencing, based on the published price list here
. Requests should be made through ONS Census Customer Services at: Census.CustomerServices@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Two new appointments have been made to the Board of the UK Statistics Authority - Carolyn Fairbairn and Professor David Hand.
Carolyn Fairbairn and Professor David Hand have been appointed as Non-Executive Directors of the UK Statistics Authority for three years from 1st April 2013. See the full press release:
The census currently provides the basis for population and socio-demographic statistics in Scotland, but it is becoming increasingly challenging and expensive to conduct. The National Records of Scotland is trying to better understand user needs for population and socio-demographic information and how these future needs might be met. Users are kindly requested to complete an online survey.
Please visit the website below for access to the survey. The consultation closes on 9th June 2013
In a recent report, the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) concluded, despite the positive steps implemented by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, there remain issues and concerns about the way government statistics are produced and disseminated which remain a genuine risk to public confidence in the statistical system and must be addressed. Visit the website below for access to the article and supporting reports:
ONS have released a series of papers by the Beyond 2011 Programme on the research work undertaken over the past 6 months. These are intended to provide much more about the approach they are taking to evaluate the options and what the next steps are. Further papers are to be released in May and July 2013. Visit the link below for access to these papers:
As part of Beyond 2011's external quality assurance process, ONS will be holding a research conference in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the British Society for Population Studies (BSPS). This will take place on Tuesday 30th April and Wednesday 1st May at the University of Southampton.
Booking for this event is now open - places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To reserve your place, please go to the following link:
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) would like to evaluate the benefits to the commercial sector gained from census data and develop the case for continued production of the small area data.
They are keen to hear from anybody working in the commercial sector about their use of census data.
The survey is available for completion online www.surveymonkey.com/s/DJ5RBGB
or alternatively you can complete it via a Word document, available from the benefits realisation team.
If you have any comments on the survey or if you would like to tell ONS about your use of census data in an alternative way, please get in touch with the 2011 Census benefits realisation team at:
If you or your company has derived benefit from analysing census data, then please ensure you complete the survey or contact the benefits realisation team.
Ensure that your organisation's views and needs are heard.
The Beyond 2011 (B2011) programme was initiated by the National Records of Scotland in 2011 to propose viable alternative options to the traditional census. The census has long been the benchmark for capturing a comprehensive, consolidated and accurate snapshot of the population. However, various sources indicate that the current system of providing population and key socio-demographic statistics is no longer meeting all user needs.
The B2011 programme will produce an options paper for ministers, describing the work that has been completed in the research phase and detailing the options for the next phases. As part of this research phase, they need to determine what the user requirements are for producing small area population and socio-demographic statistics and they are planning a series of workshops in Edinburgh on the 19th and 21st Feb. For more information please visit: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/beyond-2011/consultations-events/events/index.html
During the workshops you will have the opportunity to express your views on the B2011 programme. If you wish to attend please send an email to Beyond2011@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk
, indicating the day you wish to attend and the session, as there are morning and afternoon sessions for both days.
In addition they are using a forum of discussion in the The Knowledge Hub (formerly known as Communities of Practice) to promote Beyond 2011 engagement activities as well as publication notifications. If you would like to sign-up to the Beyond 2011 portal then please follow the link below: https://knowledgehub.local.gov.uk/group/scottishbeyond2011programmebeyond2011scotland
This release follows on from that of the Key Statistics on 11 December 2012 and contains new detailed tables for some characteristics of the people living in England and Wales on 27 March 2011. Statistics available from this release include main language, method of travel to work and economic activity of students.
Interactive data visualisations are also available to aid interpretation and users can enter postcodes into the interactive maps to focus on specific areas.
ONS have produced a 2011 Census User Guide which brings together the information users need in order to understand and use statistics from the 2011 Census in England and Wales.
Newly available: information about variables and classifications, a comprehensive glossary, and a report about comparability over time. The guide also contains information about quality assurance, quality measures, comparability with other data sources, statistical disclosure control methods, coverage assessment and adjustment methods, and frequently asked questions.
It is reported that the guide will expand over time as the releases become more detailed.
The Key Statistics interface has now been updated (v2.5) and is available at the following link:
This tool enables comparisons between 2001 and 2011 Census population estimates of selected tables and is available in both Office 2003 and 2007 versions
A press release issued by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills on 12th December 2012 confirmed that more than £8 million of investment will help public bodies release data so that companies can develop new commercial opportunities. The funding runs to 2015 and was announced by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Business and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock.
Read the full press release here:
ONS have published Key Statistics for local authorities in England and Wales from the 2011 Census. This release marks the beginning of the release of detailed information about the characteristics of the people living in England and Wales on 27 March 2011.
The data can be accessed from here:
ONS have published population and household estimates at output area and ward level for England and Wales, (unrounded, five year age bands by sex). Previously, this information was published at local authority level. The publication of this data completes the first release of census information.
The release is available on the ONS website at:
With the release of the first 2011 Census results this week there has inevitably been plenty of surrounding press coverage. The Times published an article on 17th July titled “Population rises 4m in decade as immigration drives boom” which also discussed the Government’s review of the Census Beyond 2011 project.
Jane Frost, Chief Executive Officer, The Market Research Society wrote to the editor of The Times and her statement below was published in today’s article (18th July) “The Census in our increasingly crowded land”.
Sir, The release of the first set of Census data raised questions about its long-term future (“Population rises 4m in decade as immigration drives boom”, July 17). The Government’s review into the Census beyond 2011 should not result in the baby being thrown out with the bath water; it must continue in 2021 while a proven alternative is identified. Our Census is an authoritative and accurate source of data on which reliable decisions are made by both the private and public sector. It is these good, reliable decisions that will help organisations thrive and support economic growth and wellbeing in the current climate. Without a robust replacement we risk poor decisions and a society that is inadequately informed about excluded yet significant groups which don’t show up on the usual radar.
People across Great Britain are being given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data and the tools and techniques to use open datasets, through a series of free masterclasses hosted by Ordnance Survey.
For more information and dates please visit:
Finding new ways to use information held by the public sector will be examined in a new independent review jointly launched on 22.10.2012 by Ministers at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office.
The comprehensive review, which was announced in the Open Data White Paper, will improve access to data and help promote economic growth by examining the market for public sector information.
At the end of the review, recommendations will be made to Ministers on how to widen access and consider new and innovative opportunities for open data. In particular, the review will look at the following areas:
- the current use of public sector information within government, the private sector and by the general public;
- the opportunities for innovation and developing new data services with public sector information;
- the constraints on developing new services with public sector information and the role that current funding models play;
-the impact of competitiveness on existing and new businesses entering the market, as well as the way in which organisations secure access to data; and
- an audit of current and past studies, as well as taking stock of the current use and re-use of public sector information.
Stephan Shakespeare, Chair of the Data Strategy Board, has been appointed to lead the independent review. The review complements the work of the Data Strategy Board and will ensure that other projects are aligned to the review, avoiding unnecessary duplication of time and resource. Stephan will also work with the Open Data Institute, to build on their work into the economic benefits and business models for open data, and with other public and private sector advocates of open data.
Read the full press release here:
ONS have published the number of people with second addresses in local authorities in England and Wales from the 2011 Census. This release provides the number of usual residents in England and Wales who reported having a second address outside of the local authority in which they were usually resident.
The release includes two separate tables which provide, down to local authority level:
- the number of people who spend more than 30 days a year at a second address in a local authority where they do not usually live, and
- the number of people usually resident in each local authority who had a second address elsewhere.
Two further tables provide similar figures at regional level.
The data can be accessed from here:
Graphs and maps are a great way of making statistics memorable and meaningful, visit the ONS website for interactive mapping and data visualisation that allows you to engage with ONS data.
The Open Data User Group (ODUG) has called on developers and the open data community to submit requests for the release of data they believe will have commercial and social benefits and contribute to economic growth.
Anyone with an interest in accessing public sector information can submit a request to the ODUG using a new online form.
ONS published the first unrounded results from the 2011 Census of Population for England and Wales on 24th September. The release covers the population estimates first published 16 July in the '2011 Census: Population and household estimates for England and Wales' which were rounded to 100, but with the additional detail of single year of age by sex at local authority level.
The mid-2011 population estimates due to be published on 25 September are based on these unrounded 2011 Census estimates. A detailed examination of the differences between the census and mid-2011 population estimates will accompany the mid-year population estimates.
Further results from the 2011 Census will be released later in the year, information is available in the 2011 Census Output Prospectus.
The second release of the 2011 Census statistics will take place between November 2012 and February 2013. Final table layouts for Key Statistics and Quick Statistics are available to download from the ONS website.