The Census of the Population remains a key element of the quantitative research undertaken by the social science community in the UK. It provides an essential snapshot of socio-economic circumstances in the UK and is fundamental to research in many disciplines since it allows for certain types of investigation on issues (e.g. small areas and particular demographic subgroups) that are not possible with other data sources. Therefore a thorough review of the Census Programme is essential in order to assess the extent to which Census data are being used and whether improvements can be made to the way in which Census data are provided in the future.
A range of evidence was reviewed in order to evaluate the four main areas of the Census Programme: the Census units, the usage of datasets, Programme co-ordination and the future development of the Programme. The evidence to be reviewed included the annual reports of the co-ordinator; unit documentation and reports; programme documentation; experiences of users and stakeholder interviews.