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27 March 2011, 06:00
After census forms were sent to 26 million homes across the country - today's the day we need to fill it in (27th March).
Over 360,000 people in England and Wales have already filled in theirs. It’s all being co-ordinated by the Office for National Statistics at Titchfield near Fareham.
Latest figures show the national Census Helpline on 0300 0201 101 has taken 342,971 calls since lines opened on March 4. Just over 20,000 people a day, that's 357,512 so far, are using the census website's online help facility at www.census.gov.uk to seek help getting started and completing the questionnaire.
Now that most of the census forms have been delivered to 26 million households, popular requests about the census from helpline callers and people enquiring online include:
·When can I fill in the form online?
·What should I do if I'm away from home or on holiday?
·What are the legal responsibilities for individuals filling in the form?
·Can I have a replacement questionnaire because I've spilled tea, coffee on it or my dog has chewed it?
2011 Census Director Glen Watson said: “I am pleased so many people are taking the time to ask questions about the census when they need help.
“I urge everyone to fill in their census questionnaires to ensure a better future for all. The census provides a richly detailed snapshot of society thathelps the right decisions to be made in future about services including housing, schools and health provision.”
Heart’s been told concerning the dog question - as with homework, “the dog ate it” doesn't excuse you filling it out. It has to be done or could be fined.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
When can people fill in their form online?
As soon as you receive your paper questionnaire, you will be able to complete and submit the online questionnaire. Your completed questionnaire should accurately describe your household and visitors on census night, Sunday 27 March.
The paper questionnaire has your personal internet access code printed on the front page. You will need it to open your online questionnaire.
Answers should reflect all those living or staying in your household (including any overnight visitors) on census day, Sunday 27 March.
What if I'm away on Census Day?
2011 Census requires everyone to be counted at the address where they usually live. Anyone away from home on census day, Sunday 27 March, must be included on the household questionnaire for their usual address.
If everyone in the household is away on census day, complete and return your questionnaire before you go or as soon as possible afterwards. Remember to make sure your answers are about your household on census day.
Your questionnaire needs to include all people who usually live at this address.
This means that you should include everyone for whom this is their permanent or family home, even if they are working or studying away from home.
If you are staying at another address in the United Kingdom on census night you should be included as a visitor on the questionnaire for that address.
What are the legal responsibilities?
The information you supply on your questionnaire is essential to produce accurate, high quality statistics.
The 2011 Census needs to include everyone. That's why every household in England and Wales must, by law, complete a census questionnaire. The householder must provide information about the accommodation and all the people who are living or staying there on 27 March 2011.
If you refuse to complete and return the questionnaire, or give false information, you may be liable for a fine. This liability does not apply to the completion of the religion question.
How do I request a replacement questionnaire?
If you have lost, damaged, or not received your household questionnaire, or if there is more than one household at your address, you can request a replacement form.
If there is not enough space for all your household members and visitors on your questionnaire, you can either complete online (where there is space for 30 members and nine visitors), or fill in both your paper household questionnaire and one or more continuation questionnaires.
If you don't want your information seen by other members of your household, you can complete an individual questionnaire. This can be completed online or on paper.