Census 2021 outputs: content design and release phase proposals

Closes 5 Oct 2021

Section 8: Next steps

You can see Census 2021 milestone dates related to this consultation, and progress against them, on the ONS website. This consultation contains the draft release schedule, and it will remain open for 12 weeks, from 13 July 2021 to 5 October 2021.

We will evaluate the information you provide in response to this consultation, alongside information collected during other stakeholder engagement activities, to inform decisions on the final design of Census 2021 outputs for England and Wales. When making these decisions, we will consider how the publication of data will serve the public good. We will also consider operational factors such as data quality and disclosure of personal information risk.

We will publish a response to the consultation within 12 weeks of the consultation closing. We aim to publish the final design of Census 2021 outputs, in the form of a Census 2021 Outputs Prospectus, by February 2022. This will include more detail on the planned release schedule.

We’re also conducting a series of user-research projects to improve how people will be able to find, access and use Census 2021 data products. The purpose of this research is to identify ways we can increase the accessibility and utility of census data. Our aim is for Census 2021 data to be used by a wider range of users and for a wider range of purposes in comparison to the 2011 Census data. If you’d like to participate in this user research, please email us at census.outputs@ons.gov.uk for more information.

Later this year, we will launch a further major phase of user engagement. During this phase, we will share with stakeholders the nature of the transformation we’re proposing. It will also provide an opportunity for us to share the framework of evidence that will inform the National Statistician’s recommendation on the future of the census and population and social statistics. This recommendation will be made by the end of 2023.

We know that this will be of interest to many of the same users and stakeholders. This engagement will continue during the next year to ensure that the recommendation on the future of the census is fully evidenced by stakeholder views.

We will publish the initial findings from Census 2021 in Spring 2022. We aim to have published all main census data outputs for England and Wales by March 2023.

Following this, we will continue to develop our data analysis products to further increase the utility of the Census 2021 data. We will also start to release UK data outputs, once data from Scotland’s census in 2022 are available.

At the end of 2023, the National Statistician will make a recommendation to government. This will outline what further change is needed to deliver a fully transformed population and social statistics system. This will include the role of any future census and, for example, necessary improvements in data collection or acquisition, methods and infrastructure.