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Letter: Help Is Available to Complete the Census

Published on: 11 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 11 Mar, 2021

From: Dave Middleton

In response to: Comment from Susan Fox on The 2021 Census Is Coming

Susan Fox must have received a different census 2021 letter to the one I received.

Nowhere on the letter I received, is there a large print warning regards the legal requirement to complete the census. The only warning on my letter is in the same size print as the rest of the letter. The same applies with regard to the information leaflet enclosed with it.

The warning letter regarding the impending census stating the legal requirement to complete it.

The back page of that leaflet, also details where additional help can be found for those with all manner of particular needs, from a free foreign language helpline, to Braille versions, a free general enquiries line and even places to go, to gain help in filling out a paper version of the form.

Back page of the accompanying leaflet listing help available.

Yes, the letter and leaflet are written in English. But that of course, is the national language of the UK.

As for Ms Fox’s assertion, that those who are illiterate or have little or no English language, will not be able to deal with the census, she seems to think that people in those categories are incapable of seeking help. All but a very few will have literate English speaking family members, friends, workmates, neighbours or acquaintances, who will, I imagine, be more than happy to assist them.

Incidentally, should that person or friend access the census website, no less than 50 foreign language translations are available.

Just because a person is illiterate (language or computer), or has a first language that is not English, that does not mean that they are stupid or incapable.

Finally, if all else fails, census officers are employed to visit households that have not completed the census, to assist them where required.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Help Is Available to Complete the Census

  1. Susan Fox Reply

    March 11, 2021 at 11:46 am

    At no point did I suggest that anyone was stupid, merely that in a multi-cultural society I expect better of the census collectors.

    As a senior manager in London, I was/am acutely aware of the necessity to assist people to be able to understand the requirements of society in their own interests. Mr Middleton does not seem to understand we live in a diverse world now.

  2. Dave Middleton Reply

    March 11, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Firstly, I am very aware and indeed very pleased, that we live in a multi-cultural and diverse society.

    As for the Office for National Statistics doing more to help, perhaps Ms Fox feels that they should be sending out a multilingual clerk to each and every household, to complete the census for them?

    Contrary to what appears to be her opinion, I do not believe that people need to be spoon-fed.

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