Estimating the number of rooms and bedrooms in the 2021 Census: An alternative approach using Valuation Office Agency (VOA) data

Closed 25 Sep 2017

Opened 28 Jun 2017

Feedback Updated 2 Oct 2018

We Asked

We asked for your views on our assessment of estimating the number of rooms and bedrooms in the 2021 Census using Valuation Office Agency (VOA) data.

We wanted to understand how changing to an administrative data source to estimate number of rooms and bedrooms would affect users of this data.

You Said

We received 34 complete responses to the consultation from a range of local authorities, government departments, academics and agencies.

The main feedback in relation to number of rooms was:

  • six respondents indicated that using VOA data would have a negative impact on their work
  • nine respondents indicated using VOA data would have a positive impact on their work
  • 12 respondents didn’t indicate an impact either way

The main feedback in relation to number of bedrooms was:

  • nine respondents indicated that using VOA data to estimate number of bedrooms would have a negative impact on their work
  • 10 respondents indicated using VOA data to estimate number of bedrooms would have a positive impact on their work
  • 16 respondents didn’t indicate an impact either way

Some users highlighted areas for further research. These included investigating:

  • the 34% increase in overcrowding (bedrooms) estimates from VOA data compared to using census data
  • how frequently the VOA dataset is updated 

We Did

We have looked at:

  • the differences between VOA and 2011 Census for occupancy rating (bedrooms) at local authority level and found the difference varies across the country 

Results Updated 2 Oct 2018

Files:

Overview

This consultation gives you the opportunity to respond to the 'Estimating the number of rooms and bedrooms in the 2021 Census: An alternative approach using Valuation Office Agency data' publication. 

This followed a commitment made in the 2021 Census topic consultation, where it was decided it was not appropriate to continue to ask two questions designed to meet a single information need. In response, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is exploring the use of administrative data from Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to produce estimates for number of rooms and number of bedrooms.

Based on the initial analysis in this report, it’s our view that – with some further development – the VOA data is of sufficient statistical quality to replace one or both of the questions on number of rooms and bedrooms in the 2021 Census.

We’d like to get your feedback on our view through this consultation. 

The consultation is open until midnight on 20 September 2017.

You can either respond to the consultation online or fill in the attachment in the related links section and email it to 2021census.consultation@ons.gov.uk. Please use the subject line “Estimating rooms and bedrooms consultation”.

You’ll find more information, including how your response will be evaluated, at: "Further information: Estimating rooms and bedrooms consultation".

Why We Are Consulting

We’re asking you to take part in the estimating rooms and bedrooms consultation so we can understand the impact this could have on your work. In the report there are summary tables and a local authority and output area analysis tool for you to explore and see what this means for you. By helping us to understand the impact on your work, you will further our ability to meet your need. 

Audiences

  • Government
  • Local government

Interests

  • Data