Census 2021: Overview of accessibility support options and materials

Here's an overview of all the accessibility support options and materials available, to make it as easy as possible for everyone to complete the census.

Census day is Sunday 21st March 2021

census website homepage. Date of census and picture of childrenPeople will receive a letter in the post with a unique access code in late February / early March and  can complete the online form as soon as it is received or from March 1st call the census contact centre to request a paper form.

Individuals who prefer to complete the individual questions on the census form in private, not via the head of household, will also be able to order their own unique access code and paper form via the same contact centre and return their form separately from the household to guarantee privacy.  

Census contact centre opens 1st March

The support lines will be open from 1st March and a wide range of accessibility support materials and help articles as well as videos on how to complete the questionnaire, including versions for British Sign Language, audio description & subtitles, will also be available from the census website to download from 23rd February.

There will be one central phone number with a simple 3 option menu to direct people to the right adviser or options (ie to order a paper questionnaire, or any of the support materials mentioned below), and the opportunity to book appointments with advisers as well as receive support straight away.

Support available includes 

- Paper census questionnaire (also available in Large Print)

- Easy-Read booklet to explain how to fill in the questionnaire

- Braille booklet with information on each question on the form to help with completion

- Advice and interpretation services in 49 languages

- Translation booklets in 49 languages with question by question guidance on how to fill in the census questionnaire

- Phone or text completion through advisers at the contact centre

- Text relay and automated ("IVR") completion service

- Extensive compatible online resources and web chat option

- Guidance for those filling in the questionnaire digitally with help options / explanations at each step in the filling-in process, and the option to save their progress at various stages along the questionnaire, to pick up at a later date

- Guidance for those filling in the questionnaire as proxies / on behalf of someone else who is not in a position to do so themselves (eg due to medical conditions)

- Subject to Covid regulations at the time of the census (which ONS are monitoring constantly in order to be able to react flexibly to any changes in circumstances on a local level), there will also be Census Support Centres (operating within government guidance on distancing, cleaning, and personal protective equipment, of course) people can book an appointment to get in person help with filling in their census questionnaire if they prefer.

All accessibility products and support routes have been developed and user-tested extensively with the help of the Digital Accessibility Centre and in close liaison with a range of national organisations and charities. Materials and support options have been developed to also take into account physical or mental health conditions or neuro-cognitive impairments such as dementia.

Census website: https://census.gov.uk/