Make sure you complete your Census questionnaire on 27 March 2011
The 2011 Census is fast approaching and the Office for National Statistics has been working with a range of national disability organisations to ensure it’s the most accessible census yet.
Consultation has taken place with a range of organisations including the Royal Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Royal Institute for Deaf People (RNID) to make sure assistance is available so that people can fill in their census questionnaires independently.
RNIB’s Rob King said: “Working together for over 2 years has enabled us to ensure that all areas of accessibility could be considered and we are extremely grateful that the proactive approach of the Census team will make it much easier for people to complete the questionnaire.”
The census takes place every ten years and the next takes place on 27 March 2011. It is vital that the whole population is captured as accurate census estimates mean local authorities, not-for-profit organisations and charities are better equipped to understand the needs of local people and to plan the services needed.
A wide range of accessible tools to help disabled people complete their questionnaires independently will be available at www.census.gov.uk/2011accessibility from March 4. These tools include:
• British Sign Language (BSL) video clips on the website and a BSL DVD
• Large print questionnaires and information leaflets
• Braille guidance
• Easy Read guidance
• Audio CD, cassette tapes and audio clips.
It will also be possible to fill the census out online for the first time in 2011 at www.census.gov.uk the site has facilities to change the size of the text or the colour contrast.
ONS Census Director Glen Watson said: “We have worked with several organisations to ensure that the tools provided are fit for purpose and that they do the job they are intended for which is to help people take part in the census.
“Technology now makes it possible for us to reach large numbers of people who, while willing to complete their questionnaire, may otherwise find the task difficult. But even very simple things can make a big difference, such as offering British Sign Language clips for people with a hearing impairment and producing large print and audio guidance for the visually impaired.
“Question 18 on the census questionnaire asks: “What is your main language?” and there is a free text box which enables BSL speakers to write British Sign Language in the space.”