Wednesday, 18 June 2008

2011 Scottish Census

Next year, on March 29th 2009, 50,000 households in Lewis, Harris and West Edinburgh will be able to fill in a test census online in a trial run for the main event on March 27th 2011, as opposed to the traditional paper version. This follows the GROS award of an £18.5 million contract to CACI (UK) to handle the entire census process.

On the GROS website, Registrar General Duncan MacNiven has commented on the decision:

"The next census is the first to offer people the online questionnaire option. We studied other countries' approach to using the internet for census returns and concluded that it offers many benefits.

"Householders can choose the method that is most convenient to them: a paper or online questionnaire. The online option has the potential to improve the quality of results because we can help people navigate through the questionnaire and consider how to answer each question.

"Our dedicated web site will have robust security security measures in place to protect peoples confidential information.

"GROS continues to have responsibility for the design and delivery of Scotland's census. The contract announced today means we can also commission modern technology to enhance other areas of the census programme, such as high-speed scanners and software to read handwriting and tick boxes.

"Everyone's census record remains private for 100 years after the census. CACI (UK) and its team of supporting companies will abide by confidentiality guarantees, backed by census legislation and the Data Protection Act.

"2011 marks 150 years since GROS took responsibility for organising Scotland's census. Our task now is to work with our suppliers as one team to ensure the 2011 Census reflects the needs of Scotland's population as quickly and efficiently as possible."

In principal it is is a good idea on many fronts, and certainly more convenient. My only concern is that the digital data survives the hundred years before it is released to the genealogy enthusiasts of the future.

It will be interesting to see what the rehearsal throws up next year, but personally, I think I'll be filling out the form, and then photocopying it for the family files - though if I did it online, I suppose I could keep the original paper copy of the form and save myself 10p on the photocopier...!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

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