TRAINED advisers will be able to help Dorset residents who cannot get online to complete their 2021 census.
All households will receive a letter in early March with a code enabling them to complete their form online.
In areas where fewer people have access to the internet, households will receive a paper copy. If anyone else prefers a paper copy they can telephone a free national helpline to request one, with details on how to do this in the letter.
Households can also access local support to complete their questionnaire online.
How Dorset libraries can help
Support advisers at Dorset Council’s libraries will be able to help people complete their census form over the telephone during lockdown, with face to face appointments available if and when COVID-19 rules allow.
The team can provide as little or as much support as required, from guiding the caller through completion of their form, to asking the caller the questions and completing the form on their behalf.
Appointments will be available from Monday, March 1. Appointments need to be booked in advance by calling 01305 221028 (local call charges apply) from February 22.
At the allotted appointment time, a trained adviser will call the customer. Appointments will be available Monday to Saturday morning (not including Bank Holidays) – visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/libraries for more details.
Councillor Spencer Flower, leader of Dorset Council, said: “Everyone should have access to the support they need to fill in the census. If you, or anyone you know, needs help, please be assured there’s a wide range of support available.
“By taking part in the 2021 census, you will be helping inform decisions on services that shape your community, such as healthcare, education and transport.
“It’s important that you fill in your questionnaire. Without the information you share, it would be more difficult to understand your community’s needs and to plan and fund public services.”
When the library buildings reopen, face-to-face appointments will be held at Dorchester, Ferndown, Gillingham and Weymouth. However, people can continue to have telephone appointments if they cannot get to one of these libraries.
When Dorset’s libraries re-open, customers will also be able to access the internet to complete the form using the library computers. Computer sessions must be booked in advance.
About the census
The information the census collects helps plan and fund local services. This could include transport, education and healthcare.
It is a legal requirement to complete the census. Households that do not complete the census could be fined up to £1,000.
After census day on March 21, a census field team will follow up households which have not completed their questionnaire.
The field team will not need to enter homes. All contact with the public will be socially distanced and census staff will be equipped with PPE.
Find out more at census.gov.uk