Digitally excluded people to be supported to access online census

10 May 2019

Good Things Foundation, one of the UK’s leading social change charities, has been appointed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to support the delivery of the next Census in England and Wales. In 2021 the Census will be ‘digital first’ and accessible through an online platform, and Good Things Foundation will provide support to ensure those without digital skills or digital access can participate.


Good Things Foundation supports people facing digital exclusion to thrive in an increasingly digital world, and since 2010 has helped 2.6 million people to lead better lives through digital technology.

Working with organisations in the national Online Centres Network, Good Things Foundation’s partnership with ONS means that people will be able to get support from trained staff in community locations to help complete the Census online.

ONS and Good Things Foundation will work with specially selected centres from the Online Centres Network to provide support targeted on areas of greatest need across England and Wales, where residents face a combination of digital exclusion and other barriers that may make it harder to participate in the Census. Led by ONS, a Census ‘rehearsal’ will take place later this year in four areas of England and Wales, before support is rolled out for the Census in 2021.

The Census is a key national exercise, and the data it produces underpins local and national decisions on the provision of education, housing and healthcare; as well as informing the fair distribution of Government funding to local areas and providing accurate national and local information on the diversity of the population, allowing public bodies to know whether they are meeting their duties.

As well as completion of the Census online, there will also be the option of completion by telephone, through a paper Census form, or at community events run by ONS field staff.

Helen Milner OBE, Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation, said:

“We’re delighted that ONS has recognised the importance of supporting those who lack digital skills or access to participate in the ‘digital first’ Census in 2021. It’s vital that everyone has a voice and is counted.

By working with community organisations in the Online Centres Network, we’ll be able to provide support that recognises the other barriers faced by those who are offline, including unemployment, low confidence and disability. We’ll also be able to create the opportunity for people to keep building their digital skills, through other programmes offered by Online Centres.”

For more information, please contact the Good Things Foundation press office at or on 07801 897737.

Census Assisted Digital Project Roles

To support this project, we are recruiting for a number of roles which will be central and critical to its success.