Cenus is so important to West Sussex

It’s one of the most important forms you will ever fill in - this is the message from West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources as the 2011 Census approaches.

Cllr Michael Brown said the authority was working with the Office for National Statistics (OSN) to make people more aware of how their information would help shape key front-line services in the future.

The Census, on March 27, would provide a unique snapshot of the UK as well as West Sussex, and the benefits were far-reaching.

Cllr Brown said: “For example, the findings will help central government decide on what level of grants West Sussex should get to help pay for services needed by our most vulnerable residents, young and old.

“It will also help identify and plan future needs for everything from roads and public transport to health services, providing for people with disabilities, school places, and housing.”

Making sure there was the best possible response was ‘crucial.’

He added: “It really is in everyone’s interest to complete the questionnaire because the services we all rely on do depend on the information.”

For most people, the Census would be easier than ever because for the first time it could also be completed online.

The 2011 Census had already helped create around 1,000 part-time jobs in West Sussex ranging from Census collectors, some of whom could provide advice and support on the doorstep, and others who would be responsible for communal buildings such as care homes.

In addition, there would be lots of information available to help those who needed it, including large-print booklets, guides in over 50 languages, online help and a telephone helpline.

All the households - and people - in the UK must complete the Census, but any personal information was kept confidential for 100 years and all the data collected was securely protected.

Cllr Brown said: “Residents should watch out for their Census form which will have a distinctive purple logo. They will start dropping through letterboxes in early March.”

More information is available at www.census.gov.uk