Census - ‘most important form you will fill in’

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IT’S one of the most important forms you will ever fill in - that’s the message from West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources as the 2011 Census approaches.

Michael Brown said the county council is working with the Office for National Statistics (OSN) to make people more aware of how their information will help shape key front-line services in the future.

The census on March 27 will provide a unique snapshot of the UK as well as West Sussex.

The benefits of the 10-year survey are far reaching.

Mr Brown said: “For example, the findings will help central government decide on what level of grants West Sussex should get to help pay for services needed by our most vulnerable residents, young and old.

“It will also help identify and plan future needs for everything from roads and public transport to health services, providing for people with disabilities, school places, and housing.”

Mr Brown said making sure there is the best possible response is ‘crucial’.

He added: “It really is in everyone’s interest to complete the questionnaire because the services we all rely on do depend on the information.”

For most people, the census will be easier than ever because for the first time it can also be completed online.

The 2011 Census has already helped create around 1,000 part-time jobs in West Sussex ranging from census collectors, some of whom can provide advice and support on the doorstep, and others who will be responsible for communal buildings such as care homes.

In addition, there will be lots of information available to help those who need it, including large-print booklets, guides in over 50 languages, online help and a telephone helpline.

All the households - and people - in the UK must complete the census, but any personal information is kept confidential for 100 years and all the data collected is securely protected.

Mr Brown said: “Residents should watch out for their census form which will have a distinctive purple logo. They will start dropping through letterboxes in early March.”

You can also find out more now at http://www.census.gov.uk/