Millions of people across England have been asked to fill out the 2021 census form.
The nationwide questionnaire takes place every 10 years and allows people to participate in one of the biggest data collection surveys across the home nations.
Those answers to a variety of topics are collected and are used by authorities for numerous purposes, including the improvement of local communities and services.
Here’s when the deadline is - and what the fine is if you don’t fill it in…
When does the census have to be completed?
Households across England and Wales were asked to complete the census before Sunday 21 March.
In England the information helps the government and the relative authorities to plan services such as transport, education and healthcare for the future.
Can you fill out the census form late?
Yet, if you haven’t filled out the form either online or in the post, you may still have the chance to do so as the letter states it should be completed as soon as possible.
“All households should complete the census on Sunday 21 March or as soon as possible after,” the letter addressed to the householder states.
The census can be completed online via www.census.gov.uk and takes around 10 minutes.
What is the fine for late census forms?
If the census form is filled in too late, or not at all, then the householder(s) risk being fined.
It is a legal requirement to fill out the census and is clearly stated as such in the letter sent to each household, in which it underlines its importance.
“You must complete the census by law or you could be fined up to £1,000,” the letter reads.
Further literature states, “organisations such as local authorities and charities use census information to understand the services we all need, including transport, education and healthcare. You must complete the census by law. If you do not, or if you supply false information, you could be fined up to £1,000. Some questions are clearly labelled as being voluntary. It is not an offence if you do not answer these.”
What will happen if I don’t fill out a census form?
Anyone who doesn’t complete a census form will receive correspondence from a census officer over compliance, according to www.census.gov.uk.
Arrangements will be made for the census to be filled in. If this is not done then further follow up contact will be made through the non-compliance team.
This could mean a court hearing for those who don’t fill out a census form, with the risk of a £1,000 fine and any associated court costs.
What will happen to my census information?
Though the census asks for names, ages, occupations and the like, none of the information it collects will be used to identify anyone when the statistics are published.
“We keep the personal information you give us in the census safe and confidential by law for 100 years,” a census guide states.
“When we publish statistics from the census, we do not publish information that will enable you to be identified.”