The census rehearsal this week is a major milestone for the 2011 Census.
Months of preparation have gone into the drafting, printing and delivery of our census rehearsal questionnaires for around 50,000 households in west Edinburgh, Lewis and Harris.
Our regional managers for each rehearsal area have been busy recruiting and training around 100 enumerators (census takers) and our logistics team have been busy co-ordinating the delivery of the materials and equipment that they need to do the job.
The Royal Mail has delivered census information leaflets to households in the areas and our Helpline staff are already taking enquiries.
Our regional managers have been explaining to people in each area how census data is used to plan and provide public services – such as health, housing and transport. They have also been highlighting that it is vital that people take part in the rehearsal because it will help us to check the questions are understood and that our arrangements to deliver and process the questionnaires work.
I attended a census rehearsal information evening at Stornoway’s An Lanntair on Monday, organised by our rehearsal manager for the area Donald Martin. For me the event’s highlight was meeting census data users – including Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), Gaelic speakers and historic society representatives – and hearing about the particular ways they use census results. The 2011 Census results will matter to people locally and nationally so we hope that as many people in the rehearsal areas as possible will complete and return a questionnaire on, or as soon as possible after, March 29.