As we work towards the 2022 census, we will pass a number of important milestones.
The timeline on this page sets out the most important of these on our journey to 2022.
Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Act comes into force
The amended Act allows us to ask two new voluntary questions on:
- sexual orientation
- transgender status and history
Operational readiness rehearsal
We successfully tested our systems and processes to check they were ready for the census rehearsal.
October and November 2019
The rehearsal was live from 7 October to 7 November. We asked respondents to provide information as of 13 October.
We ran the rehearsal in 3 local authority areas, allowing us to test different parts of the census service.
Meeting of the Population and Migration Statistics Committee (Scotland)
The committee is made-up of local authorities and population and migration topic experts. They provide stakeholder feedback on aspects of our:
- statistical quality assurance plans
- National Statistics action plans
- census rehearsal updates
Find out more about the committee on the National Records of Scotland website.
National Statistics Accreditation action plan published for comment
We published a high level action plan for stakeholder feedback. The plan set out how we intended to address actions from the Office for Statistical Regulation’s assessment of the census.
Statistical quality assurance strategy published
We published our quality assurance strategy for stakeholder feedback.
Sex question testing report
We produced a report on our sex question testing.
You can download and read the report.
Formal census Order laid before parliament
The Order sets out the date for the census in law.
Census order comes into force and regulations laid
The Order received approval from the Scottish Parliament and came into force on 12 March. The regulations set out the specific arrangements for running the census.
Census outputs website - discovery phase complete
The discovery phase of the project involved user research with a range of groups. This helped us to understand what they need and want from a new outputs website.
Discovery is the first part of the Scottish Government's Digital First Service Standards.
Rehearsal evaluation complete
The evaluation provided us with useful lessons to take forward to the census in 2022.
May - October 2020
Data processing rehearsal
We ran an internal rehearsal to check our statistical processes.
We responded to Office for Statistical Regulation
The Office for Statistics Regulation is assessing the census programme. This is to make sure the statistics we produce are trustworthy and of a high quality. In June 2020, we responded to their phase 1 assessment.
Census regulations come into force
Census day moved to 2022
On 17 July, Scottish Ministers announced that Scotland’s Census would be moved to 2022, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The census was originally due to be held in March 2021.
Census outputs website - alpha phase complete
This is the second part of the Scottish Government's Digital First Service Standards.
August 2020 - December 2021
End-to-end system testing
We will test all census services to make sure they are fit for purpose.
Census (Scotland) Amendment Order laid before parliament
The draft Census (Scotland) Amendment Order will change the date of the next census to 20 March 2022.
Census outputs beta site launches
The launch of the beta website will be the third part of the Scottish Government's Digital First Service Standards.
The beta site will include a new structure, features and functionality. The current website will still be available during this period.
Amended Census (Scotland) Regulation 2020 come into force
The amended regulations will set-out arrangements for running the census with its new date of March 2022.
New census outputs website live
The new Scotland's Census outputs website will become available and completely replace the current website.
Census operationally ready
At this point, everything will be ready to start census collection.
Census packs issued to communal establishments.
The packs will provide instruction to communal establishment managers.
Census letters issued to all households
All household addresses in Scotland will receive a letter. It will tell them what they need to do to complete the census.
Field Force ready for deployment
A team of enumeration staff will be trained and ready to start the collect phase.
Census goes live
Our online collection instrument will go live from 1 March.
Outputs publishing timescales announced
We will publish a timetable showing when we will publish outputs.
National Statistics Accreditation - phase 2 report published
This report sets out how we are complying with the code of practice for statistics. This is part of the National Statistics Accreditation assessment.
Read the report here.