Cumbria Crack

Children at Inglewood School help launch the census rehearsal

Deputy National Statistician Iain Bell at Inglewood Infants School

People across Carlisle are being encouraged to fill in their census rehearsal questionnaires.

The rehearsal will enable the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to test some of the systems and processes it has put in place ahead of the digital-first 2021 Census.

The more people who respond now in Carlisle, the more accurate information the ONS will have to plan for the success of the national event which helps inform vital public services such as the number of children’s school places, hospital and GP services and social care provision.

This week households in Carlisle will have received letters in the post with details for how to fill in their census online about those living in their household on 13 October.

Deputy National Statistician Iain Bell with headteacher Deborah Boekestein and Mayor Marilyn Bowman

Deputy National Statistician Iain Bell said: “Everyone benefits from the census. It informs decisions nationally and locally on vital services and issues like diversity.

“And it is a massive undertaking. In 2021 we’ll be contacting nearly 30 million households and we’re holding a rehearsal in your area now, to make sure everything is working as it should.

“Now you’ve got your letters, please go online and complete your questionnaires.”

The rehearsal questionnaire is the proposed questionnaire for the 2021 Census, with a new question to record armed forces veterans, to support those who have served their country.

There are also new voluntary questions for people aged 16 and over on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Last weekend, Iain cycled between all the rehearsal areas, a 500-mile journey across England and Wales, from Carlisle, via Ceredigion, to Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

He met local people, raising money for the respective communities and highlighting the importance of the census.

“It’s been great to meet so many people – from local school children and community groups to local council leaders – who are passionate about the census,” Iain said. “The ride has raised money for some good causes and hopefully given something back to the areas we’re asking to support us with this rehearsal.”

For more information about the census, visit or follow us on Twitter and Facebook @census2021.

There is still time to sponsor Iain, visit