You may have already received a Census 2011 questionnaire through your letterbox today, as the distinctive purple and white envelopes begin to be distributed across the country.
Around 26 million households will receive the forms by census day on March 27th, in one of the biggest single mailouts the Royal mail has ever handled. Everything is ready to go - forms are printed, public awareness has increased by the prominent advertising campaign, field staff are waiting, the helpline has been set up, the data processing centre is raring to go and for the first time ever there is an online facility available.
2011 Census Director Glen Watson said: “People should look out for the purple and white envelope landing on their doormat in the next two weeks. Now that the forms are being mailed out we’re in great shape for the 2011 Census. Once people get their form they can, if they prefer, fill it in online by going to www.census.gov.uk
“This will be quicker and it’s better for us because we won’t need to scan the forms and decipher all that handwriting. Of course if people want, they can still do it by hand. Completing the census form promptly and sending it back to us means no one will have to knock on your door to remind you.
“Census statistics enable the authorities in England and Wales to plan properly for the future for school places, housing, roads, emergency services and a host of other local services.
Royal Mail’s Director of Field Operations, Paul Tolhurst said: “This is one of the single biggest postings Royal Mail will have dealt with and we are confident we can rise to the challenges it presents. Our people will be working hard over the coming weeks to deliver the 26 million census forms.
“Royal Mail is delighted that the Office for National Statistics has trusted us with this vital task. It demonstrates how our unique network touches all UK addresses and puts us in a great position to deliver for our customers."