This is a classic example of Government bureaucrats always wanting more data of an ever more intrusive nature and on the population.
You can send in your objections until 5th August 2005, when, no doubt they will ignore you, and carry on regardless.
How can they justify asking about:
- Category 1: Those topics to be included in the 2011 UK Census (based mostly on the last Census held in 2001)
- Category 2: Those topics where "further work will be undertaken" before a decision is made whether to include them in the 2011 UK Census.
- Category 3: Those topics where there is "insufficient evidence of user demand" to justify inclusion in the 2011 UK Census.
Presumably the extremely controversial Category 3 topics like sexuality are merely designed to soak up the ire of opponents and to titillate the media, thereby letting the Category 1 and Category 2 topics sneak through.
Existing 2001 Category 1 topics:
- Usual residence (including term-time address)
- Visitor information
- Address of workplace
- Students in full-time education
- Date of birth
- Marital status
- Household and family relationships
- Household tenure (including type of landlord)
- Accommodation type (including whether or not a household’s accommodation is self-contained and number of rooms)
- Ethnicity and identity
- Welsh language proficiency (in Wales)
- Gaelic language proficiency (in Scotland)
- Irish language proficiency (in Northern Ireland)
- Economic activity status
- Self-employed or employee
- Address one year ago
- Transport used to travel to work
- Country of birth
- Name (operational requirement only)
Additional 2011 Category 1 topics:
Existing 2001 Category 2 topics:
- Number of vehicles
- Central heating access
- Lowest floor level
- Other housing quality measure
- Qualifications/training (necessary for occupation)
- Completed stages of education
- Health status (possibly covering disability, long-term illness and level of general health)
- Carer information
- Whether or not a supervisor
- Number of employees at the workplace (or employed if self-employed)
- Hours worked per week
- Name of employer (operational requirement only)
- Ever worked (operational requirement only)
Additional 2011 Category 2 topics:
- Second residences
- Address of study place
- Transport used to travel to study
- Year of respondents’ entry into the UK
- Telephone number (operational requirement only)
- email address (operational requirement only)
- Sources of income (operational requirement only)
Existing 2001 Category 3 topics:
- Bath/shower and toilet access
- Academic qualifications
Additional 2011 Category 3 topics:
- Accommodation on more than one floor
- Internet access
- Sexual orientation
- English language proficiency
- Other professional qualifications
- Nature/cause of disability/long-term illness
- Number of jobs
- Voluntary work
- Place of birth
- Country(ies) of parent’s birth
- Change of country of usual residence
- Country of previous usual residence
- National Insurance Number
The whole "consultation" seems to be aimed at the potential users and abusers of the census data, rather than the privacy rights and privileges of the general public.
There are plenty of mentions of "if there is sufficient User Demand for this data", and zero mentions of any Privacy issues. There are some indirect allusions to issues which might cause a possible reduction in the response rate to certain questions, which might invalidate the precious census data.
No Category 2 and especially no Category 3 questions should be asked. Even the existing Category 1 questions should be reduced to a bare minimum e.g. the Ethnic and Religious questions should be removed.
There is a case for abolishing the whole Census, especially, since they already plan to have access to alternative data sources:
- the Continuous Population Survey (CPS);
- Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – Benefits data covering
various population groups;
- Department for Education and Skills (DfES) - Data covering the school age population and qualifications data;
- Inland Revenue data - National Insurance data covering the working
population, self-assessment and PAYE tax returns;
- Local Authority maintained sources - electoral register and council tax data; and
- NHS National Program for Information Technology (NPfIT) - detailed information on health conditions and treatments.
Interestingly, the ONS do not list the National Identity Register as being available by 2011.