Furious Britons have blasted Census 2021 as ‘diabolical after workers were repeatedly knocking on the doors of people who had already returned their survey – while letters were threatening them with £1,000 fines.
In one case, a woman who died last October was still being chased to reply to the survey at the start of April.
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Despite a host of people complaining online, the Office for National Statistics has insisted ‘there is no IT issue’.
Completion of the nationwide survey, which helps inform the development of Britain’s infrastructure, including housing, transport and education, is mandatory.
The original day set aside to complete the survey was March 21, those who do not complete it could face a £1,000 fine.
But a delay in the service means even elderly Britons who completed the survey early are being hounded to give back their answer.
Workers have been sent to doorsteps asking for the form to be returned, and letters have been posted formally warning of the fixed penalty notices.
Census 2021 workers have been knocking on doors demanding people return surveys that they have already completed
Rachel, a distraught granddaughter, wrote: ‘Hello, my Nanna died in October 2020 and the house has been vacant and is now sold.
‘You have sent 3 forms to the house so far but no one is there to answer the questions.’
Michelle Gregg, from Manchester, wrote: ‘My 89 year old Mother has no online access so completed a form which I posted on 20/3.
‘Now received 2nd chase letter threatening £1k fine -she is very upset. How can I check whether you have it?’
Some elderly people have received letters threatening them with £1,000 fines, while in one case, letters have been repeatedly sent to a grandmother who died last October
Census 2021 timeline
Census Day was on March 21, meaning most Britons had returned their 10 year survey on that day or shortly beforehand.
Since March 21, Census 2021 workers have been knocking on doors and sending letters urging people to return the form – or risk a £1,000 fine.
They’re expected to continue chasing non-respondents until the end of April.
It’s not clear what the absolute deadline to return the survey is, but the census’ website says ‘it’s not too late to take part.’
Andrew Hargreaves said: ‘The operational delivery of the @Census2021 is diabolical. I’ve now done it twice.
‘Stop writing to me. Stop sending ppl to my door. I did it. I chased you for a code. I’ve done it & I’m not doing it again.’
Keeley O’Flaherty said: ‘My parents who are dealing with cancer! Filled in form sent it off to you.
‘You’ve now sent 2 people to her door to demand the form and now sent her an abusive letter saying you will find her £1000 this is not acceptable.’
Paul Brooks added: ‘Why during a pandemic you are sending someone to my 86-year-old mum’s to say she hasn’t completed the census.
‘She has told you twice on the phone she posted it prior to the deadline.’
An ONS spokesperson said: ‘There is no IT issue. We have made Census 2021 the easiest ever to complete and more than nine out of 10 households have already submitted their form to help shape services like school places and GP surgeries.
‘But we want to make sure everyone counts and we encourage everyone to respond as soon as possible.
‘This is a major operation across England and Wales and our census field officers will be knocking on doors where records show we have had no response.
‘We are aware of a small number of cases where people have been contacted after responding.
‘This could be because the questionnaire was not submitted correctly online or forms have only recently been posted back.
‘Anyone who has already completed, should tell a field officer who visits and ignore a reminder letter.’
- Have you been wrongly chased for a reply? Email [email protected]