The law provides for a census to be taken not less than five years after the previous census. However, every census requires further legislation which details how a particular census is to be run. A census is taken in Scotland by the Registrar General for Scotland under the Census Act 1920.

The Act requires us to prepare a number of legislative instruments which provide the basis for census. These are the Census Order and Census Regulations. The Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2019 has now also become law.