Responding to the ONS Beyond 2011 consultation on the future of the Census, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change has urged the Government not to scrap the decennial census.

But alongside support for a predominantly online Census, ILC-UK’s response supports a greater use of administrative data. ILC-UK also calls for a debate on how other “big data” can help us better understand our society.

ILC-UK have today published their response to the ONS Beyond 2011 consultation alongside a report of an event they hosted on the topic in November 2013.

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK said:

"Good quality, accurate and local information is vital if we are to understand the nature of our changing ageing society. We are however, concerned that abolition of the regular Census may make it more difficult to access some vitally important information about carers and caring and multigenerational households for example. We will lose access to very local data and are not convinced that the alternative option proposed is adequate.

"Government must open a national debate on how we can best understand our population. The potential of big data and crowdsourced collation of data is significant. Information already held in the private sector about individuals could help us better manage and support our ageing society. Amongst other things, the debate must consider privacy and issues around ownership of data.

"Over recent years Government and ONS has made more data available for the public to scrutinise. This is good news and a trend which must be continued.”

The Population Patterns Series

Over the next 12 months, ILC-UK, supported by the specialist insurance company, Partnership Assurance Group plc, plans to undertake a series of events to explore the impact of demographic change on public policy. Details of upcoming events are available here. In November 2013, ILC-UK organised its first #populationpatterns seminar which explored “The end of the census”. We attracted around 50 people to debate the findings.The event was supported by Partnership Assurance PLC. We are very grateful to Partnership for their support. A report of the event is available here.
ILC-UK’s response to “Beyond 2011: The Census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales. December 2013” is available here.


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