Office for National Statistics and Council working together to deliver a successful Census 2021

The Census 2021 is being held on 21 March and residents are urged to get ready.

Published: Thursday, 25th February 2021

Census 2021 graphic with Office for National Statistics logo

The Office for National Statistics – which runs Census 2021 – is working with Swindon Borough Council and local organisations to deliver a successful census on 21 March 2021, helping local services to be able to meet future needs.  

The census takes place every 10 years and provides the most robust and up-to-date information about the population at local and national levels. Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to local organisations, such as councils, health authorities, businesses and charities, to plan and fund public services and facilities across England and Wales.

For instance, in North Swindon there has been a significant expansion of housing since the last census took place, and data from this year’s census will show how many households have children under the age of five who are going to need primary school places.  

The census will also shed light on the needs of different groups and communities and the inequalities people may be experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Phil Sooben, the ONS Census Engagement Manager for Swindon, said: “I am delighted and privileged to be involved in this year’s census and to be doing what I can to ensure as many people as possible are aware of what the census is about and why it is so important. I urge everyone to take part and ensure that they and their community are represented.”

Councillor Robert Jandy, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Organisational Excellence, said: “The census gives us key insights into our communities and helps us to make sure our services are planned and delivered in a way which most effectively meet our residents’ needs. I’d encourage everyone living in Swindon to look out for further information over the coming weeks and complete the census on 21 March. The more insight we have, the better we can plan and deliver our services for local residents.”

Households will begin receiving letters with online codes in early March explaining how they can complete their online census. Residents can also request a paper questionnaire if they’d prefer to complete the census that way. 

There will be plenty of support available to help residents to complete the census, with the option of completing the census over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS’ free phone contact centre available for those who need it.

Local support to complete the census will also be provided by Voluntary Action Swindon who are acting as the Census Support Centre. This support will be telephone based initially and appointments can be made with a trained advisor between 1 March and 4 May by calling 01793 466650 or emailing

The main census field operation will be undertaken by the ONS after Census Day (21 March) where contact will be made with those who have not responded. Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, wear PPE and work in line with all government guidance. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit.

As part of making the census relevant and more interesting for everyone, the ONS has also developed an education programme for use in primary and secondary schools which a number of schools in Swindon have already signed up to.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit

Swindon Borough Council news RSS feed