During August 2015 the Statistics Office ran a public consultation to gather views and suggestions on topics for the 2016 Census Questionnaire. This consultation included newspaper articles, radio phone-ins, constituency meetings and poster campaigns – to engage the St Helena and overseas communities and encourage them to have their say.

The Statistics Office is pleased to report that during the four weeks of consultation a variety of helpful and productive comments were received from Saints both here and overseas. These comments highlighted points that needed clarifying, identified questions which people would like to see incorporated, as well as questions that were felt to be no longer relevant or useful.

One concern arising from this consultation centered on confidentiality and data security. The Statistics Office takes confidentiality and data protection very seriously and can assure the public that throughout the data handling process every possible measure will be taken to safeguard all data collected.

There was also a perception that some of the questions are quite ‘nosy’. But all questions that are asked on the Census form are asked for a reason – it is important information which cannot be reliably gathered from any other source. The Census will collect essential information which will inform planning and effective decision making on St Helena for many years to come, and it is vital that you take part. No-one will ever be able to pick out sensitive information about you or your household from the data published.

The next steps will be to look at the comments collected, taking into account UN principles and relevance to the St Helena community. After this, a draft of the proposed 2016 Census Questionnaire will be ready for piloting in November, when the Statistics Office will be asking a number of people to try out the questionnaire to make sure it ‘works’. We need to ensure that the questions are worded correctly, that they make sense and that people are happy to provide the information that is asked for. This is an important stage of the Census process and it is hoped that those who are invited to participate in the pilot give their full support.

The Statistics team would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed and shared their views during the consultation period.

Although the formal consultation has ended, the Statistics team is still interested in any further comments people might have. You can get in touch via email statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh, tel: 22138 or just pop into the Castle for an informal chat.

Remember  – We count because YOU count!

SHG

8 September 2015

 

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