Na h-Eileanan an Iar is one of three areas in Scotland taking part in a ‘census rehearsal’ on the 13th October this year.
The Census is a unique and comprehensive count of Scotland’s people and the rehearsal is part of the preparations for Scotland’s Census in 2021.
The Scottish Government and other public bodies use census information to help make decisions including how money will be spent on the schools where our children are educated, the roads we drive on every day and the hospitals we all rely on – and the census rehearsal helps make sure the next census, planned for 21 March 2021, runs smoothly.
The National Records of Scotland (NRS) is aiming to make the 2021 Census more digital and accessible, available for completion online as well as on paper. The rehearsal is intended to test systems and processes and provide invaluable insights.
The areas taking part in the rehearsal are Glasgow City, Dumfries and Galloway and Na h-Eileanan an Iar.
Letters will be sent to those households being asked to take part. Unlike the census itself the rehearsal is not a legal requirement. 15,000 households in the Outer Hebrides will receive letters.
A spokesperson said: “We would urge everyone in the Outer Hebrides who receives a letter to take part in the census rehearsal. This is a major preparation for the next census in 2021 and it is important that as many people as possible take part in the rehearsal so that the actual census runs as smoothly as possible. All those taking part are making a valuable contribution to the future provision of services.”
Initial contact letters will be delivered to households in the rehearsal areas from 7 October 2019. This will be followed up by two reminder letters which will be issued around 23 October 2019 and 28 October 2019.
A helpline to assist those filling in their rehearsal return will open on 7 October 2019 and will close on 7 November 2019. The number is 0800 030 8333.
Scotland’s next Census, subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament, will be held on Sunday 21 March 2021, in line with other censuses taking part in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on this date too. This will be the 22nd census to take place since 1801, and the 17th to be managed independently in Scotland.