Consultations, Research and Preparation

It is vital that a census asks questions which will help the government, local authorities and businesses to plan and provide a wide range of essential public services, including health, housing, transport and education. To confirm that aspects of the census - the questions, the arrangements for census day and its results - were fit for 2011, we consulted extensively prior to the 2011 Census. Here you can find links to further information on a range of consultations, research and preparation undertaken with external bodies, groups and organisations in preparing for the 2011 Census.

Formal Consultations

Consultations involved a written paper inviting answers to specific questions or more general views about material being presented.

Autumn 2004 Census Consultation
Formal census consultation began in 2004 by asking census data users on their views of the 2001 census and initial plans for 2011.

Spring 2007 Census Consultation
The 2007 formal consultation collected views on a number of key topics including questionnaire content, methodology and outputs.

Spring 2010 Census Consultation
The spring 2010 consultation invited users to help shape the main statistical outputs and specialist products produced from the 2011 Census.

February 2011 Census Outputs Consultation
The February 2011 outputs consultation invited data users to review and comment on draft outlines of proposals for pre-defined tables produced from the 2011 Census.


Many activities are undertaken to ensure census user's views are taken into account. Our formal consultations were supported by other research work including online questionnaires, road shows, focus groups and meetings with key data users.

Cognitive Testing Research (2009) - In order to finalise the question set and questionnaire for the 2011 census, we commissioned Ipsos MORI Scotland to carry out cognitive testing.

Question Development and UK harmonisation
New questions were thoroughly tested before being deemed suitable for a census. Further details about how questions are selected for the census can be found on the Why run a census? section.

Census Test and Census Rehearsal

A census is a big and complex task. We undertook an extensive programme to make sure that people understood the questions and that the questionnaire delivery and processing arrangements worked.

2006 Census Test
We tested our initial plans for the 2011 Census in the 2006 census test.

2009 Census Rehearsal
We rehearsed our approach to the 2011 Census by delivering questionnaires to around 50,000 households in west Edinburgh and Lewis and Harris in time for census rehearsal day, on Sunday 29 March 2009.

Outputs Roadshows

As part of the consultation on the 2011 Census outputs, a number of ‘roadshow’ events were held across the country to provide feedback to users on the preliminary consultation findings.

Events were held in:

Please click on the events above to view venue details in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). Maximum file size is 33 Kb.

The Agenda (PDF 27 Kb) for the events is also available for download.